Lake Fear

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A trip to the lake turns in to disaster for a young couple

Submitted: April 20, 2015

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Submitted: April 20, 2015

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It was beginning to get dark and Luke was feeling a little tired. He’d been driving for hours and it was too hot in the car. Emma had already started to fall asleep in the seat beside him, so when he saw a turn off to the left and a sign for a lake, he decided to pull the car over.

“Let’s find a place to camp down here” he said, as the road turned back on itself and on to a narrow dirt track with trees on either side.

“OK” Emma yawned, stretching out her arms and looking around. “Where are we?”

“I’m not sure” he said, driving carefully down the rocky track. It was difficult to see anything because of the forest, but after a couple of minutes the track opened out in to a clearing and the car’s headlights reflected off the still water. “Ah, maybe this is Loch Awe? Or Loch Fyne?”

“You’re useless” she said, as the car came to a stop under a giant oak tree. They both got out and stretched their legs, and Luke took off his t-shirt to cool down. He threw it over the car at Emma, and she caught it and threw it back at him. He walked behind the car and hugged her, kissing her on the top of the head.

“I don’t remember Scotland ever being this hot” he said, opening the boot and feeling a wave of heat rise up from inside. “Let’s get the tent up first and then we can have a quick swim”.

As he took the tent out and started to assemble it on a flat patch of grass, he wondered if he’d be actually able to convince Emma to go in the lake. She didn’t like water, and had only learnt to swim when she was 16. Still, ten years of swimming, he thought. Maybe she will be up for it.

The tent didn’t take long and once they’d thrown their sleeping bags inside they went off in search of some wood for a fire. The sun had disappeared behind a mountain, but there was just enough of a glow in the sky to see where they were going.

“Is this one any good?” asked Emma, picking up a thick, dead branch from the grass.

“Is it dry?” asked Luke without looking up, himself picking up several dry branches from the ground.

“Hmm, sort of…”

“That means no. We need dry stuff, I told you, just grab some small pieces to get it going”.

Once they had enough wood, Luke got the fire started while Emma fetched a bag of food out of the car. They’d survived for the past four days on a diet of sausages, burgers and bread and she was starting to crave something a bit healthier. She looked in the bag, hoping to find a vegetable but she knew there wasn’t a chance. “Sausages tonight Emma?” she said to herself, sarcastically.

The fire roared to life, and she sat down beside it, taking a pen out of her handbag. In the firelight, she began to write a postcard to her mother. She hadn’t had a chance to call before they’d left Glasgow, and Emma thought she might appreciate a little memento from the Highlands. A photo of an orange highland cow on the front, not the most original. At least she knows I’m thinking about her, she thought.

As she wrote, Luke took his shoes off a few metres away, and walked a few short paces barefoot to where the water was lapping at the shore.

“The water’s quite warm” he said as he stepped in to the shallows, but he shivered as he tip-toed forward and the water covered his ankles, and up to his knees. “Ooh maybe not!”

Emma looked up from her writing and smiled as she watched him wince when the cold water reached his waist. He shuddered, splashed around with his hands for a moment to ready himself, and then dived forward to submerge himself in the water. He re-appeared, shaking the water from his hair like he was in a shampoo advert. Emma laughed.

“You coming in?” he shouted to her on the shore, but she wasn’t convinced.

“No, you just said it’s cold.”

“It’s fine once you’re in, come on!”

“No, I have to write this before it gets too dark. And we have to eat, I’m hungry.”

“OK” he shrugged, before diving back under the water.

She finished the postcard and stood to go and put it in the car, but beyond the light of the fire it was too difficult to see where she was going. She carefully stepped over the fire and unzipped the tent door, placing the postcard on top of her sleeping bag and grabbing a towel from her bag. She could still hear Luke splashing around in the lake as she zipped the tent back up, and she knew he wouldn’t have thought to take a towel with him.

She sat back down by the fire, facing the lake and watching him. He was enjoying himself, diving in and re-emerging every few seconds. He was like a child when he was like this, and she loved it. After everything that had happened over the last few months, it was just so great to be there, spending time together. Just the two of them.

“How long do you think I can hold my breath for?” he shouted to her, interrupting her thoughts.

“I’m starving Luke” she said, ignoring the question.

“How long? Time me!” he repeated.

Sighing, she took out her phone and set the stopwatch. “OK. But after this we’re having dinner.”

Luke took a few deep breaths, in and out, and then gave her the thumbs up to start the timer before ducking under the water and out of sight. She started the stopwatch and placed it on the ground beside her feet. She picked up a pan, set up the tripod over the fire and picked up the pack of sausages. She glanced down at the timer and shouted out “30 seconds”, even though he had only been under for 20. She looked out at the lake to see a few ripples remaining from where he’d dived under, and as she did she dropped the pack of sausages. As she reached down to pick them up, she knocked in to the tripod and tipped it over, sending the pan flying out to the side.

“Bloody thing” she said as she quickly fished it out of the fire, placing the pan back on top. She grabbed the sausages and looked back at the stopwatch, which was just reaching 60 seconds.

“That’s over a minute now, Luke, come on let’s have dinner” she said, tearing open the pack.

No response.

She looked back up at the lake. It was now as calm and still as when they arrived, no ripples. And no bubbles either. The stopwatch ticked on past a minute. She hesitated.

“Come on Luke, come back now. That’s enough.”

Still nothing.

She looked around to the trees, half expecting him to jump out from behind her. He liked to play tricks like that. But it was dark now, and he knew she would be scared.

“Luke, stop it. I’m serious” she said, her voice a little louder and shakier than before. She checked the stopwatch again. One minute thirty seconds.

She dropped the pack and rushed forward to the water’s edge. Her shoes filled up with water as she shouted: “LUKE! I mean it Luke, COME UP NOW. LUKE!!”

No response.

She turned and ran to the tent, scrambling at the zipper and diving inside her bag to find the torch. “LUKE!” she shouted as she ran back from the tent with the torch in her hands. “LUKE, ANSWER ME!!”

Fumbling to switch it on and running back to the water, she dodged the fire but tripped on a rock and fell headfirst, the torch tumbling out of her hands. She lay still in absolute silence for a moment. Then, after a few seconds, she lifted her head up to see the torch lying on the ground just in front of her. It was just out of her reach, but switched on and pointing out across the lake.

Her gaze followed the beam of light out across the deathly still water, over to the other side of the loch just a hundred metres away. She slowly got to her feet, her eyes adjusting to the light. She could see something. There was something on the other side of the loch.

Her body froze when she realised what it was.

A man, standing perfectly still and staring back at her across the water. To Emma’s horror, she realised it was not Luke. She scrambled on the ground for the torch, pointing it back to the same spot. But the man was gone.

And so was Luke.


© Copyright 2018 Roni Archer. All rights reserved.

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