The Sound of Silence

Adrian stood at the end of the dock, listening for the inevitable sounds of the lake- birds, frogs, the lapping water, something.

Instead, nothing came to him. It felt as if the fog swallowed up the sounds before they could reach his straining ears. It was eerie. His grandmother would have called it uncanny.

Grandma Jones would have said it was the lake monster preparing to strike. She would have said she herself was eaten by the lake monster.

She wasn’t.

She went swimming alone and had a heart attack in the water; she drowned.

No lake monster, no nothing. It was simply bad timing. If she had waited just half an hour longer, she would have had the heart attack on dry land, where help could easily get to her. Or, maybe it wouldn’t have happened at all.

The fog was getting thicker, Adrian could no longer see the outline of the trees across the lake. He should turn back and go inside; there was a lot of work to do there. Instead, he stayed, rooted to the edge of the dock.

Splash.

Adrian jumped at the sound. The sudden noise caught him off guard. Was the fog breaking? No, there was still no other sound.

Splash, splash.

The sound was soft, like a leather glove across velvet.

The hairs along the back of his neck stood on end. In an instant, he knew.

He wasn’t alone.

Adrian turned to leave, except he didn’t. His body wouldn’t move. No part of him would respond to his mental commands to leave. Sweat trickled down his skin despite the cold of the morning.

Splash.

Then, it reared up. The lake monster looked like a cross between a shark and a crocodile. It seemed to smile as it looked at him. I opened up its maw to swallow him whole.

All at once, his body finally listened to his mind. He turned and ran for land. He didn’t look behind him as he ran, not until he was halfway back up the grass to the house.

Nothing was there, no monster, no fog. It was a clear day.

The sounds of the birds and the frogs and the water enveloped him. As he gasped for breath he felt a pain building in his chest. He patted his hip, trying to find his phone.

“911, what is the address of your emergency?” said the voice on the other side of the line when he finally managed to dial.

Adrian gave the address and confirmed it for the dispatcher.

“Okay, tell me exactly what happened.”

Adrian paused, would they even believe him?

Mother Warned Me About You

My mother warned me about you. She told me you were dangerous. She told me you would hurt me.

When I met you the first time, it was in a dream. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I felt like I’d met you before. I don’t know why, but you felt like home.

I tried my best to put you out of my mind. I told myself you were dangerous. I told myself you would hurt me.

The second time I met you, it was a fleeting glimpse in a shop window as I passed by in the pouring rain. I didn’t get a good look at you, but I knew you in an instant.

You were all the things I was warned about. You were dangerous. You would hurt me.

The third time I met you, you were following me on the sidewalk on a sunny day. My breath caught in my throat as I glimpsed you; the monster just behind me.

I heard my mother’s voice in my mind. You are dangerous. You will hurt me.

Today, I see you in my mirror. I knew it was you; I knew it was me. I’ve known all along, I just didn’t want to know.

I am the creature in the night. I am the shadow that follows you on a sunny day. I am the monster half-glimpsed in the rain. But my mother was only half right.

I am dangerous, don’t make me hurt you.