Last semester I did a writing creative nonfiction class in which one of the tasks was to write a small response to a different prompt each week. Seeing as the semester is over I can now post this piece from week two. We had to write a story about ourselves which wasn’t true as if it were true. This wasn’t what I’d originally planned to write, as well as this, it turned out that I pretty much missed the brief (it ended up a lot more fantasy than reality) but I’m happy with it all the same.
There’s a lake that hugs the outskirts of a forest which lies on the border of my friends’ property. I go to her cottage there once a year to write, get drunk, then write some more. This morning I woke surprisingly early; for once I’d had a dryer night the night before.
I took to the misty, dew covered morning, pulling on yellow gumboots, and my long woollen jumper over my pajamas. The crisp air nipped at my exposed ears and nose, while leaving the tips of my fingers to grow pinker by the second. The crunch of dead twigs caught underfoot was almost an intrusion on the tranquility of the still hour of the morning.
It was then that the most angelic voice broke through the blanket of hush. Even in my sleep muddled state I knew the beautifully enticing sound came from the point where the forest met the water of the lake.
It filled my chest with an overpowering longing which only grew stronger with every step. My feet moving without any prior instruction, they pulled me towards the water as opposed to my usual route along the forest line nearest the cottage. The voice guided me to the water’s edge before tugging me painfully to my knees on the gravelly earth.
I couldn’t move a muscle, yet I didn’t seem to want to.
The source of the voice raised its head above the surface or the water. The singing growing louder still as she – as I now knew her to be so – leant towards where I knelt. Tears brimmed and proceeded to roll down my cheeks as her voice reverberated through my shivering form. Her long, wet hair framed her pale features as she as gazed at me with unabashed curiosity. Her purple irises no more of a surprise than the gills which sat snugly beneath her small pointed ears. She reached out a hand to rest it on my knee. Though wet to touch, her skin was warm, leaving a trusting calm to settle in my stomach.
Then as suddenly as it had started, the singing stopped, leaving only the lull of early morning bird chatter. My breath caught in my throat, the warmth leaving my skin as quickly as it had come.
With a small smirk and a wink, she turned to dive back under the water. Her ebony tail leaving ripples in the glassy surface of the lake.