The Lady of the Lake

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
After her grandfather's mysterious suicide, Bridget goes to Ireland for his funeral and meets Lily. Together they explore the Irish coast in memory of her grandfather's stories. One night, the two girls meet the subject of their favorite Irish tale: the Lady of the Lake.

Submitted: October 12, 2011

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Submitted: October 12, 2011

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Grandpa Conrad used to tell me stories; fantastic tales from Ireland, his homeland. There was one story in particular that I’ve asked him to tell almost a million times. “You never get tired o’ this one, do ya?” He would say in his thick accent, chuckling all the while. I don’t know what it is that I find so interesting about the Lady of the Lake, but she just seemed so real to me. The beautiful lady who ferried poor souls to the land of the dead. He used to tell me this story in a mysterious voice which only made me hunger for it more. But as Grandpa Conrad got older, though, his stories began to fade like old photographs. As I think about them now, I wonder if he wasn’t telling me something. If he wasn’t trying to give away some deep secret.

Or maybe he was just as crazy as my parents thought he was. After the call that fateful day, I’m sure they didn’t know what to think of him. Suicide. They never thought he could actually do such a thing, but I don’t blame him. Grandpa was sent back to Ireland, like an unwanted object. He lived in a world of his own and they ruined that for him. They ruined the best thing he ever had: his imagination.

I met Lily at his funeral. It was really an unusual meeting. I had asked her how she knew my grandfather and she said that he used to tell her stories. Ones about valiant kings, mighty battles, and the Lady of the Lake. Lily said that there was an old lighthouse at the beach that reminded her of the Lady. I immediately asked her to show me.

After that day we returned to the rocky beach and decrepit, old lighthouse nearly every day. Lily and I became fast friends. Why, I have no idea. We were opposites in about everything. From food tastes to the clothes we wore.

My parents let me stay in Ireland for a few weeks. I think they understood that I needed some time to process. I didn’t mind. I liked Ireland and I enjoyed spending time with Lily. That is, only when she doesn’t leave me outside in the cold.

“C’mon, I’m freezing out here!” I said as I pounded on her door for the umpteenth time. “Let’s go.

She stepped out into the chilly afternoon, pulling on her worn raincoat as she closed the door gently behind her. Lily’s red hair whipped out from under her hat, adding color to the gray, little town of Fanad. I took her by the arm and dragged her after me.

“Why are you in such a rush today, Bridget?” She asked, worry rising in her voice.

I ignored her question, and continued to the beach. When I felt the familiar rocky soil beneath my feet, I whipped off my jacket and waded into the water. Lily just stared after me, her eyes wide with shock. “Are you crazy?”

I shrugged, shivering slightly from the mist rising off the water. “Do something wild for once Lily. Life is just too short to care about stupid things, like getting a little wet.” I splashed her and she squealed, backing away. I rolled my eyes. “I have to show you something.”

That caught her attention. “Like what?”

I smirked. “I guess you’ll have to wait and see.”
She knew what that meant. “No way am I going in there!”

I kept swimming out and eventually she couldn’t help herself. She waded into the water, jacket and all, and followed me out. Suddenly, I could feel the smooth surface of the wood and I stood up. Here I was in the middle of the ocean, standing thigh high in water.

“How are you doing that?” Lily asked. I told her to stand up, too, and she was surprised to find herself able to stand. She glanced down at her feet and realized what she was standing on. “It’s a shipwreck,” She said, breathless with surprised. “I never knew it was out here. How did you find it?”

“Lily, has anyone ever told you that you ask a lot of questions?” I chuckled a bit. “I went swimming out here last night and found it. It’s not as mysterious in the daylight.” That gave me an idea. “We should come back again. Tonight.”

She wasn’t too crazy about that idea. “No. Bridget, that’s a terrible idea. We could get in so much trouble.” But as she looked down into its unknown depths, I could see her curiosity start to grow.

I grinned. “Meet me on the beach at 11.”

***

It was cold and the wind was something fierce. I knew that the water would be freezing, but I didn’t care. Something about that old shipwreck spoke to me. I had to know more.

As I approached the beach I saw a figure and could barely see her red hair through the dark. “Bridget, I don’t know about this,” Lily said, glancing uneasily over the water. “It doesn’t seem safe.”

She shouldn’t doubt herself so much. Without responding, I threw off my jacket and dived into the water. A million icy cold daggers immediately shot through every single part of my body. It was painful. I could hear Lily shouting from the coast, but eventually she jumped in after me. Her head bobbed to the surface. “I h-hate you-u,” she shuddered.

I grinned and let the night envelop me. I looked up at the cliffs and thought about what happened here. This is where he died. Where he flung himself off a cliff because life wasn’t good enough for him anymore. My heart tightened at the thought of Grandpa Conrad. I couldn’t make my lungs expand all the way and I was choking back tears. Lily noticed the change in me, and hugged me close to her.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. I just sort of nodded in acknowledgement.

Then I looked down at the shipwreck below our feet. Who else had died here? What were their stories? As I gazed into the midnight water, a faint green light shone up through the broken ship hull. Lily followed my vision. “What are you looking at?” She asked.

I gently backed away from her and dove under the surface. The silence and solitude were almost deafening. I felt like I was treading on some kind of sacred ground. I found the light again and swam down toward it. Lily was behind me, I could tell because I could feel the push of her swimming. I continued.

The light was blinding down here and the movement of the tide overhead made it seem like some kind of dream. I pinpointed the source of the light and was surprised by what I saw. A lantern, emitting a ghostly, green glow. The unusual part was the green light was fire, burning in the broken lamp. I was transfixed.

A face appeared, pale and haunting. The figure began to sing and I was frozen in place. The figure was a beautiful woman with flowing blonde hair, that rose like white smoke in the water. She took Lily. I could hear Lily screaming through the water and then everything went dark.

I awoke to the night sky overhead and a figure hunched over me. He pressed down on my chest and more water erupted from my cold lips. I sat up and coughed.

“For a moment there, I thought you were dead,” He said.

I pushed him off and looked around. “What did she do with Lily?!” I demanded.

He stared at me oddly. “I don’t know a Lily, but I was given a message to tell you.”

I nodded him on.

“Conrad didn’t jump. He was pushed.”


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