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In Too Deep

by Mikki Phillips 9 months ago in Short Story
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A group of friends on a lakeside camping trip, soon realise the horrors that lie beneath the surface.

”Here’s to the weekend ahead” I say raising my beer. “Shadow Lake here we come” says Ethan raising his bottle to clink the side of mine, Daisy and Luke join in too. “Yeah, yeah, I’ll play catch up when we get there” Mason says as he holds his water bottle up with one hand, and drives the van with the other.

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“Come on Maya, keep up the pace, we’ve got to set up camp before dark” says Ethan. “Dude, you try hiking a 7km trail in sandals” I snap back at him.

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Walking along the narrow trail down towards the lake, we each have a swag on our backs, a backpack on the front, and Luke and Mason are carrying the esky. We’ve got everything we need for a relaxing alcohol fueled weekend camped up against Shadow Lake. The five of us have been friends for years, travelling to random places together. Camping really is what we love to do. Luke is the handy one, I doubt there’s a knot he can’t tie. Mason is the responsible one, I suppose someone has to be. Daisy is the blonde one, constantly asking questions that leave everyone questioning her intelligence, though sometimes I think she’s just playing dumb for the attention. Ethan is the athletic one, he’s the reason we are currently hiking all the way down to the lake, instead of finding a path we could drive down. And I’m Maya, just your typical easy going, nature loving brunette with a bubbly personality and a happy view on life. And together, we make memories that’ll last a life time. “We made it” Daisy says, throwing both arms in the air. The narrow trail opens up to a small forest, we have to duck under tree branches as we walk deeper in towards the lake. It takes us maybe ten minutes of weaving through the forest to finally reach the lakeside, and boy is it beautiful. The boys are quick to get camp set up, Daisy and I roll out our swags, and in no time at all Luke has a small camp fire burning. This really is the life.

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“Go on, tell us your best scary story” Ethan says to Luke. “I’ve got one that you might like, but don’t be dragging your swag up against mine when your too scared to sleep” Luke jokes. “Did you hear about that family they found washed up in the lake, I don’t think it was far from here actually. Each one of them covered in stab wounds. It’s said that the family was on a camping trip, not unlike the one we’re on right now” “STOP” yells Daisy “I don’t want to have nightmares from your stupid story” she sobs. “Oh c’mon Dais, it’s just a made up story….. or is it” Mason winks. Daisy pales, “screw you guys, if I weren’t so scared right now I’d storm off” we all laugh. It’s always fun stirring her up.

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The campfire is so mesmerising. I could stare at the flames for hours. The alcohol sure has gone to my head. The sun has well and truly set, and the weather is perfect. Out the corner of my eye something pale catches my attention. “Jesus Ethan, your arse is so white it almost glows” I laugh, as he makes a run for the water, I guess that means we’re going swimming. Thankfully I decided to wear my bikini thismorning, and don’t need to strip down to nothing like the boys are all doing.

The water is incredible, it isn’t overly deep. I can feel the warmth on my arms and chest from the campfire still burning beside us as we splash around laughing together. “What the hell was that” Mason yells looking down, trying to see beneath the surface of the water around him in a panic. “What was what?” We all say in sync also trying to see if we could see anything in the water, which was almost impossible, it’s just too dark to see anything. Suddenly, something pulls Ethan under. Mason and Luke launch themselves in the direction that Ethan was pulled, searching and feeling for anything, hoping they could save him, but he’s gone. I’m trembling, looking across at Daisy who is holding her hands in her blonde hair, frozen in shock, I notice that the water from her hands running onto her hair is red. “Get out of the water” I say, “GET OUT OF THE WATER NOW” I yell making my way out. Once Daisy and I were closer to the fire, Luke and Mason see that we were stained with blood, and quickly tried to make their way out of the water too. Mason let’s out a scream, and then he is gone, pulled under, the water becoming even darker. “HURRY LUKE, GET OUT OF THE WATER” Daisy and I scream.

“What the hell was it” Luke pants, “did you see anything at all?” slowly catching his breath. “I don’t know, they were there, then they got pulled under, and then the water got darker, that’s all I saw” I say crying, tears running down my face. “We need to get back to the van, we need to call for help” Luke says, putting his pants on.

We decide to leave everything behind. We put our shoes and shirts on, grab the keys for the van and as we begin to make our way towards the forest, I see a figure emerging from the water. “Wait, stop” I say quietly to the others, turning to look towards the lake. The figure is dark, slim, and dirty. It has long messy black hair. It looks like a woman. The way she walks seems more creature than human, but the shape is definitely a woman. She moves like possessed people do in paranormal horror films.

Suddenly, her head tilts up, and all I can see is two piercing blue eyes staring at me, fixated on me. And then she smiles, the light from the fire shining upon her, her sharp teeth glowing, revealing her smile for what it is. Evil. Demonic. Murderous.

We run.

Ducking and weaving through the trees, trying to reach the narrow path. I can hear the grunts of the creatures breath as she chases closely behind us. I feel the ground beneath my feet slipping, one wrong step and we’re done. The grunts get heavier, then she lets out a squeal that is painful to hear, as she jumps, launching herself at Daisy, forcing her to the ground viciously, ripping chunks of her skin from her body with her sharp teeth. I try to turn around to help her, but Luke grabs hold of my arm, pulling me to keep running, there was nothing I could have done, I let out a silent cry, “I’m so sorry Daisy” I say under my breath as I keep running.

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“The van, I can see it” Luke pants, pulling the key from his pocket, pressing the button to unlock it.

I quickly climb into the passenger seat, Luke opens the drivers side door then suddenly gets pulled to the ground. I rummage through everything within reach, looking for something sharp, something metal, anything that I can use as a weapon. “Got it” I say, finding the hunting knife. Grasping it tightly in my hand, I jump out of the van and race around to the drivers side, where Luke is fighting off the creature, chunks of skin missing from his arms. “HEY” I yell, distracting her from Luke. She slowly stands up, blood covering her, dripping from her mouth. My friends blood. The people I love more than anything, this creature is covered in their blood. I feel something wash over me, a feeling I’ve never had before. Rage. I wasn’t afraid anymore.

She launches herself at me, as I pull the hunting knife out from behind me, raising it in front of my chest. I’m suddenly knocked to the ground, this thing is on top of me, but she’s not moving.

“Are you okay?” I hear Luke’s voice, as he rolls the creature off of me. “I, um, I think so” I say, feeling myself over. “Are you?” “I’ll be fine, thanks to you” Luke hugs me.

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The next few weeks are a blur. We’ve told our story a thousand times. But the story has no ending. We don’t know what the creature was that attacked us and murdered our friends. Scientists can’t determine anything about it. They don’t know if she was the only one of her kind, or if there are others, lurking beneath the surface, waiting to attack anyone who enters Shadow Lake… or any other lake.

Short Story

About the author

Mikki Phillips

It’s amazing how ones story can be so different to your own, but to read, allows you to feel like you’re walking a mile in a strangers shoes, experiencing a life outside of your own.

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