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The Legend of Lake Erie

by Zachary Fry 2 months ago in Short Story

Foggy Waters Challenge

Photo by Rob Birchfield

“Pass me a worm, boy,” pawpaw Joey commanded.

Billy reached into the steel bucket filled with moist dirt and earthworms. He carefully felt around the bucket until his fingers touched a slimy worm. He pulled out a fat pink worm and passed it to his pawpaw.

“Yous a big ol’ boy ain’t ya? I bet them darn bass can’t resist,” pawpaw said, taking the worm and spearing it with a hook.

They’d been on the lake all day and had only caught Rainbow trout and carp. Pawpaw wanted bass for dinner. Dusk was fast approaching. Orange and pink rays reflected off the water’s surface. A plethora of insects buzzed near the banks. Billy could only see one other boat fishing in the distance.

Fishing with his pawpaw in the late summer months was Billy’s favorite hobby. His pawpaw would get drunk and tell crazy stories about Vietnam.

“Then they burst through the jungle and BAM, BAM, BAM! Half of our troops died right thur in Nam. Bless their hearts. Damn commie bastards.”

By dusk, pawpaw had killed a twelve-pack of miller lite and even let Billy sneak a few in.

“It’s getting late, pawpaw. We better head back and set up camp.”

“We leave when I say, boy.”

Billy sighed and looked out on the water. The calm ripples propagated through the liquid medium as mosquitoes landed on the surface. He heard a splash in the distance. The other boat was closer now and appeared to be heading in their direction.

A small lantern hung from a supporting pole near the bow. The yellowish light illuminated a large figure. It looked like a man. He wore a black jacket, black pants, and a black hat. Billy found the outfit odd because it was hot and humid out.

“Pass me another worm. Lil fucker took the bait and skedaddled,” pawpaw said.

Billy reached into the bucket again and handed his pawpaw another worm. The last light from the sun blinked out of existence. The night was dark except for lights coming off of lake houses and campfires. The low hum of the approaching boat grew louder.

“Pawpaw, I think that man is comin towards us,” Billy said nervously.

Pawpaw looked up at the approaching boat 20 yards away.

“Prolly needs some worms or somethin. Why’s he dressed like that?” pawpaw asked, perplexed. “It’s hot as hell out hur.”

As the man approached, Billy saw him more clearly. He had ghostly white skin, almost translucent. Blue and purple veins bulged out from the skin on his hands. His face was wrinkled, and one of his eyes was patched; the other was a disturbing reddish color. His lips were almost nonexistent, two thin slits of pink.

An overwhelming stench washed over them. Billy gagged.

“Jesus, what the hell is that smell?” pawpaw asked, not looking away from his fishing rod.

“Have you seen my son? My beautiful precious son?” the creepy old man asked in a singsong voice.

Pawpaw dropped his fishing rod in the water, surprised. The hair on the back of Billy’s neck stood up, and goosebumps prickled his arms.

Pawpaw grabbed his rod from the water, placed it gently on the bow, and turned sharply.

“What the hell is you talkin about?” papaw asked the creepy man fiercely.

“My son. He fell into the water. I need to find him.”

“Ain’t you too old to have a son? Your pecker prolly don’t even work no more. Besides, why the hell would you not holler for help when he fell in?”

The creepy old man stared at Billy. A chill ran down his spine.

“He looked like him. But he had long fingers and toes. And he was so tall. You haven’t seen my son have you?”

Fog began to close in around them. Billy had never seen fog this time of year on the lake. And it appeared suddenly. Thick whispy clouds surrounded them. The man disappeared from view.

Pawpaw gazed at the fog, confused. “Thirty years I ain’t never seen fog like this,” he muttered to himself. He walked to the stern and started the engine. The loud humming was comforting inside the eerie fog.

Zzzzppppp. Billy heard the fishing line reeling back. The noise made pawpaw jump to the bow.

“Maybe we’ll get one last chance at a bass, eh?” he said, pulling the rod with some effort.

“Damn fish must weigh 80 pounds!”

Billy momentarily forgot about the fog and the man as he looked down towards the water. As his father reeled in the catch, Billy could see an object glowing beneath the water.

“What the sam hell is that?” pawpaw exclaimed as the object neared the surface.

A green glowing spheroid hung from the fishing hook. Pawpaw pulled it out from the water and onto the boat. It made a squishing noise as it plopped onto the deck.

The surface was glowing bright green and looked slimy. Tiny ripples on the surface made it look alive.

“What is it, pawpaw?” Billy asked, frightened.

“I uh, don’t know Billy.”

“My son! Oh my precious boy, you found him!”

Billy spun around at the sound of the familiar voice. The creepy old man was only feet away from their boat. He had a crazy look in his good eye.

“Back the fuck up, you crazy ol’ bastard! I got a 12 gauge that’ll blow your head off in one shot!”

“Come here, Lucius. I’m so glad daddy found you.”

The glowing blob began vibrating violently. It shot out of the boat and collided with the man’s chest. Green goo splattered around his body and began to autonomously move towards his mouth. Within seconds the glowing blob was inside his stomach.

The man screamed and crouched on his boat. The skin underneath his clothes began shifting erratically. Billy heard the audible sound of bones breaking. Crunch, crack, snap.

His skin changed to a dark green color, and scales formed on the epidermis. Webbed hands and feet grew, ripping apart his shoes. The body stretched the clothes, tearing apart the black pants and jacket. Light green fins sprouted from his head down his spine.

The creature stood up; it was nearly nine feet tall. It looked like a cross between a fish, a reptile, and a human. Piercing red eyes stared at Billy.

“Thannkkk youuuu…” the creature gurgled. In a swift, athletic motion, it jumped into the lake, disappearing from sight.

Thus, the legend of Lake Erie was born.

Short Story

Zachary Fry

My name is Zack! I love to read and write. I am the author of the science fiction novel Roswell 1947. I enjoy writing fantasy and fiction, as well as poetry, so I look forward to posting many poems and short stories on this website!

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