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The Nykkjen

A preview for my ebook on amazon. A stranger in the cold of Scandinavia is caught in the throws of a creatures spell.

By Shelby R PerezPublished about a year ago 7 min read

All appears well on the lake. The sun is almost completely hidden by the mountains, leaving multitudes of green, pink, and gold lights close behind. Already, the stars appear in the dark blue and black canvas. As beautiful as the lake was in the day, and full of life and fun, all was magnificent with the night all around, croaking frogs on lily pads, fish swimming and resting peacefully, dragonflies and fireflies streaking through the dark, bringing more beauty to the scene, and other night creatures stopped by to drink from the cool water. But out of all the sights and sounds of the lake, the most beautiful, most painful, and the most unfathomable, was the echoing twine of a fiddle.

But Sand Pond is not all fresh air and cool green water. Oh, no... This is the home of the water horse. When the herd leaves the pond, they charge across the land, reveling in their wicked freedom, tossing their wet manes and neighing in the hopes to attract the attention of a lonely traveler. Shimmering coats of white, gray, and black, beckon the unsuspecting onto their backs. Now this is where all poor and curious fools realize too late, that they are doomed, for once you are astride the back of a nykur, you will never be able to release it's mane. They will carry you back to the pond, back to cold water, back to drown men, women, and children. But passed the terrible neighing is the baleful melody of the violin. Both music holds a dark and horrible purpose. “Com in! Come swim with us,” they seem to say. “Come in to our kingdom. Come to your watery grave. Come in to meet our master.”

For all the beauty and evil the nykur possesses, it is not the only thing that dwells within the deep dank. This is the king of the lake. This creature that dwells in miry waters is the one who plays the fiddle at night. It is his song that lures people to Sand Pond. The waterlilies flouting above the ponds surface is his precious garden. Besides his violin, these are his greatest treasure. To take even one would anger him beyond any forgiveness and you will find yourself entranced by his playing, sinking deeper and deeper until you can never return to the world of land and sky. This is the nykkjen- the siren of the north.

Tall and graceful limbs of a mossy green, man. Vein like lines cover his body like a leaf. Sharply pointed ears similar to that of an elf. His hair is a magnificent ebony, long and silken, adorned with the very flowers he loves so well. He clothes himself in the cloth of his victims; torn, tattered, and dripping with moss and fog. But despite his worn apparel and dwelling, his instrument is the most cared for of his possessions. Always carrying it. Always playing from dusk until dawn.

I saw him, on a slightly foggy night. I had visited Sand Pond to get away from the stress of life's work. I was almost asleep in my cabin when a sound that was so out of place here startled me. Eerie, and yet enchanting, I followed the music almost like a gentle hand were guiding me through the misty darkness. I wasn't afraid! I should have been! But something in me longed for more, long for the adventure and mystery, but most of all, I was curious to know who the great musician that played such entrancing music was. I followed the music until I came to the water's edge. Once I felt the freezing cold of the lake I was momentarily conscious of myself. Still, the violin played on. The mist was clearing but I saw no violinist. I looked around the shore in the hopes that I may spy him or her, but no sign. Only the instruments echo. It was too close to come from the other side of the lake. I thought, was this person in a boat? Then, the music stopped. Only for a second before a different melody, but in that second, I felt my soul leave from grief. It was clearly another song but the air of it was just as sad.

Once I heard it again, I followed the music into the dark lake. It's waters were thick and heavy with algae and lilies but I barely noticed them, or how cold it was to tread in it. All I sensed was the euphony and my urge to gaze upon it's maker. I was nearly knee deep in the lake and the music was getting louder. I was close. The fog was lifting at last and I could make out the form of a man, waist deep in the water. But something wasn't right. His clothes were totally ruined and wet, yet he kept a steady pose and never faltered in his music. As I processed these thoughts, the moon shined from behind the clouds down on the water. It's reflection rippled and danced and we were right inside it's circle. I felt a fullness as great as the moon's and my body swelled with life and power so great I believed that I might just burst into tiny sparks of light. That is when I saw him. In the reflection of the pool.

What I saw had shocked me out of my feeling of power and magic. Even though I was aware, I continued to move toward the creature. I couldn't stop! I had no control of my body! The sound tempted and moved me, like a puppet, deeper into the waves, until it ended. In the lakes mirror, I saw him lower his bow and stare at me with eyes as green as the lake. His features were so handsome yet so strange and gruesome I was terrified of him, like a dream turned nightmare. I knew, then, what he was and what I was doing there. I swallowed a lump in my throat that was far colder than the water I slowly sank into. I raised my gaze to meat his. I don't know where that courage had sprung from but I did not dare deny it's hold. He too seemed surprised. He was genuinely amazed that I would look at him, as though such a thing had never happened before!

Something happened on that night, in that lake. Something, that at the moment, I couldn't, for the life of me, understand. The nykkjen set his eyes on me and cried. Truthfully, painfully, tearfully cried. I did not believe what I was seeing. I did not count on a monster that was about to drown me, stop, and cry for me.

“Please,” a faint, whisper spoke from inside my head. “Please, try to understand, that I do not want this. I never wished for this to happen.”

I felt his voice, as well as heard it, in the air I breathed and in the water's ripples and bubbles and splashes. It was like nothing I had ever heard. Like the crash of waves on rock, the whinnies of a foal, the whispering echo of sea shells, drops of rain on water, and the single mournful high note of some instrument. And when I looked at his face, really looked at it, I saw a sadness in his eyes as deep as the very depths of the ocean.

“I am a creature of the deep. I am the brother of the steed that drowns people and I too have brought, even dragged, the innocent and the cruel alike to their deaths. But I did not mean for it to go on. I did not want to kill anyone, but the sound of my music is what brings them to me, even when I stand on the shore, they come into my lake to drown. I am cursed. I am condemned to stay near my lake. Never to leave, never to look upon another's face except in those last moments of their lives. The only things I have that can make me smile is my garden and milady.”

He regarded his violin, as smooth and brown as he was scarred and green. He placed the bow against the strings and then played a couple notes. Hearing the music again, I felt myself moving. He ceased his playing, and I was waist deep just like he was.

“Please,” my voice came out raspy and dry. I felt like I hadn't had a drink of water in days. Where the ability to speak, was another matter I wasn't focused on. The nykkjen never took his eyes off of me, nor I him. He saw that I was frightened. Indeed, I was so afraid I thought I would die from a heart attack before I drowned, but passed the fear he saw my curiosity, and my empathy. I tried to speak again, but all that came out was a choking cough. I pleaded with my eyes, begging him, to tell me more, to explain why he continued on this weary way. I wanted to know. I had to know! If he was going to drown me, he owed me, at least, that much.

He took a breath and looked out across his lake.


About the Creator

Shelby R Perez

I am a college student and lover/writer of fiction and poetry, especially Fairytails and mythology. I am working to become a published author, using my love for myths and legends to reintroduce gods, spirits, demons and heroes.

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