In the Shadows on the Lake
by Jared Culpepper
The big man pressed on ahead, without giving notice to the shadows around us. I followed, watching the twin strips of bare earth revealed from years of curious souls on the same path.
My wingtips and suit were ruined, I saw in the lantern’s light. My companion looked as if he’d never been anything besides muddy, in his high-water boots and overalls.
“Gonna make it this time?” he snorted.
I looked at him curiously. He continued walking.
“I remember you,” he said, stepping out of my light.
I hurried to catch him. “I’ll be fine.”
“Like last time?” he sneered.
“I was very young then.” I first came after my grandfather’s funeral. We were very close, his death was difficult. He was the one who told me about this place, this man. But I was much younger, not hardened properly yet. “I’m ready for this now.”
He snorted. “Sure, fella.”
We stopped at the edge of the lake. Many years had passed, it was pitch dark around us and the foliage had grown thick. I still could’ve spotted the lake from a mile off.
He pointed at the water. More shadows. The boat was coming across, slow, unreal. Just like last time. That same damned cloaked figure in front, and in back… it was her.
“Can I talk to her?”
He gave me a dirty look.
I could just watch. I knew without asking. We’d been over it before. Now, all I could do was watch.