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The Fabled Ones

The glow that revealed our family secrets.

By Chris SmithPublished 2 years ago 9 min read
The Fabled Ones
Photo by Jonatan Pie on Unsplash

There isn’t much I can remember about my grandparents. My older brother Kent can recall the Christmas dinners that we used to have at their cabin. My younger sister Mary carries around a ratty old stuffed bunny that grandpa gave her as a baby. Other than that I don’t think she really remembers them all that much. But for me, there are two very distinct things that I remember about them.

I remember the pond outside beyond the trees at their cabin. It never seemed to thaw. Except for the one night that grandpa had gone missing. The water seemed to have thawed the same night that a green light emanated from within the deepest part of the pond. You couldn’t quite make out what was down there, even with the brightest green light. It was almost as if you dropped a few hundred glow sticks into the water to try and measure how deep it was. All of the light covered the bottom, but with the brightness, nothing had actually been visible.

Still, Grandpa felt he was the only person capable of getting down there to see what was happening. He radioed for help before going down and I think that was the last time anyone had ever heard from him.

He was a master diver even at that point in his life. Dad used to tell me stories of the countries they had visited when he was my age. Companies from all over the world would hire him to dive into areas that weren’t necessarily all that safe. These companies were the kind that kept a lot of their activities out of the press if you know what I mean.

Grandpa pulled up his wet suit on that night and hemmed and hawed through every part of it. I think in his mind he knew that he wouldn’t return. It was almost as if he knew what was down there. Before he walked into the water, Grandpa had turned to my dad and me and put his hand on my head. Looking at my dad, he said in a very dry tone, “Teach him.”

Those words were the last ones I had ever heard him speak. Once he turned away there was no turning back and he let the water consume him. Deeper into the darkness, he dove. Soon enough, we lost him in the water and all we could see was the glow of the green light that almost looked like the Northern Lights at this point. We don’t know for sure what happened to grandpa. He never came back up, and nobody had ever been able to search the pond. The very next morning the entire body of water had completely frozen. It wasn’t all that cold that night, which made the big freeze all the more confusion. It’s been 13 years since then, and my dad had not taught me anything that my grandfather had instructed him to.

It was almost the anniversary of grandpa’s disappearance. Dad and I were off on another adventure, this time we’d actually be driving through the old town where the cabin was. We had sold it a few years back after our family agreed that we’d never be able to go back. Rumor has it, the pond is still frozen, even through the summer. No environmentalist can solve it. They can only surmise that because so much of the pond had frozen that no temperature could thaw it. Which still makes me question how it thawed and re-froze so quickly. It was almost as if the pond itself was alive.

There was a stillness in the town even as we approached. There was maybe a handful of roads that were paved, and even less that had traditional street signs. We saw people out, but barely any cars. Dad thought this was a little bit weird and instead of just continuing to drive through he pulled over near an old store that we used to get supplies at. I remember this one because it had old wild west style doors versus the glass doors you’d see at any kind of store back in the city. Thirteen years later I still thought that was neat.

Dad told me to stay in the car but I couldn’t resist tagging along. I caught up to him, he was moving swiftly and walked right up to an older gentleman sitting in a chair inside the store. Walter was his name, I think. I stood a ways back, but close enough to hear what they were discussing.

The green light was back. This time in more areas than just grandpa’s old pond. It’s extended to the lake nearby and some people had sworn they saw it glowing from the sewers. I busted out from behind a closed rack just then and blurted out, “What about grandpa?! Has anybody seen him?”

Dad whipped his head around, “Go back to the truck!” His eyes were glaring and I’d never seen that kind of look on his face before. What wasn’t he telling me? I tried to speak one more time but before I could get a word out his raised his hand and pointed towards the door. Normally I’d try and rebel a little, I was old enough after all. But today, at this moment, I didn’t dare. I turned away and sauntered back to the truck with my head hung low.

Dad was in there for a while. I started rummaging through the truck for any kind of food that we had left. I was startled when I heard the door to the store fly open and hit the wall. My dad whipped out of there faster than I had ever seen him move. He opened the door, hopped in, started the car, and put it in gear all in what felt like one fluid motion. I watched him in slow motion. Stunned, I dared to ask, “what’s happening?”

“I’ll tell you in a minute,” he said in the same cold tone that grandpa had used when he told my dad that he needed to teach me something.

We sped off through the town that already felt so empty. As we drove further out of town I knew we were heading to the cabin. It was down an old road that didn’t have a sign. It barely had a clear path down, but dad sped through. He didn’t even need to watch where he was driving. I saw the clearing up ahead. The cabin started to come into view and the hair on the back of my neck started to stand up. He whipped the truck into the driveway and skidded to a halt.

“Get out,” he muttered as he climbed out of the truck.

He left the keys in the ignition and started to walk towards the cabin. I couldn’t see anyone here, so it must’ve been vacant.

Dad walked right in the front door before I could even leave the truck so I ran to catch up to him. I followed him into the house and it looked miraculous. It looked like it did thirteen years ago. Still decorated for Christmas. And it still had our family pictures all around. By the time I made it inside, dad was already out by the pond. I raced up behind him and as I approached he put his arm out to signal me to slow down.

“Hold out your hand,” he said. I obliged him and held out my right hand. It was a little shaky at this moment. The closer I walked to the pond, the shakier my arm was. It felt like a magnet pulling me closer. Dad grabbed my wrist and the shake stopped. He held out his other hand and turn his palm up. He looked at me in the eye and out of thin air a green flame sparked from his palm. It was a ball of fire spinning around in the palm of his hand.

I tried to pull away. What was happening?

“Calm down. CALM DOWN!” he yelled at me. “This is what your grandfather wanted me to teach you.

“Is this the same as the green light that is glowing down in the pond?” I asked.

“In a way,” he said bouncing his head around, “yes. But not entirely.”

Dad took the green flame and tossed it into the pond. Within a few moments, it thawed. Before both of our eyes, a shadowy figure appeared from the water. It slowly walked towards us, but it was strange. This person wasn’t even wet. Not a single droplet of water fell from him.

As he approached, I could see him more clearly.

“Grandpa!” I yelled! I tried to run to him but dad was still holding my wrist.

He turned to my dad, “You haven’t taught him a thing yet. Disappointing.”

“Dad, calm down. I tried to keep him away from all of this. You never gave me the choice.”

I looked at both my father and grandfather bicker with each other.

“What is all of this?” I shouted.

They turned to me. Chuckled. And with a literal snap of a finger, the pond froze.

“Come with my child,” my grandpa said, “let’s tell you about the fabled ones.”

Grandpa grabbed my wrist from my dad’s grasp and walked me inside the cabin. I looked back at the pond as we got closer to the back door and saw the green glow disappear.

I was stunned. But slowly the pieces started to come together. I had seen moments of these gifts, my dad’s speed and strength were a little obvious now. Not every accountant had his abilities. The fact that my grandfather was a master diver and then coming out of the water dry as a whistle made more sense than ever. Did I have any gifts? Am I a fabled one?

All of this was slowly hitting me as grandpa began to tell me all about our family history. This was something I would never forget.

Sci Fi

About the Creator

Chris Smith

Born in Northeastern Pennsylvania, now residing in Michigan with my girlfriend and two pups. Raised on a steady diet of science fiction, fantasy, and comedy with an affinity for any story that’ll allow my mind to wander.

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