At the Lake

‘Do you know, it took me a long time to reconcile with this.’He looked back to the window, watching a deer grazing at the forest’s edge, panting and crying coming from behind him. The winter’s snow-covered the forest before him. A deer was lapping at a puddle by its hooves before a crack in the midst sent it bolting into the trees.

‘I don’t know…if this is right…if…if…but fuck, why did you have to do it?!’ He turned and flung the hunting knife he was holding into the knee of a man tied to a chair in the middle of the room. His scream rent the air, the windows of the room practically reverberating with his pain, as the knife was pulled out and the man stormed out of the room into the cold, wintry air.

Breathing hard and eager to distance himself from the yells behind him, he trudged through the snow, heading towards a jetty which sat snugly before a huge, frozen lake. His mind was racing, his thoughts a jumble and before he knew it, he was kneeling to sit at the water’s edge. The silence was deafening, the air freezing, the mist over the distant forests creating a cocoon from which his thoughts screamed and ripped at the edges.

Only 2 short years earlier, his life had been perfect. A happy marriage, decent job, baby on the way, and in one terrible evening, it changed forever. As he ruffled his hair, all he could think about was her; next minute, his imaginings, more terrible than the actual crime, came to the fore and he shook his head, as if trying to throw off an annoying fly, and looked out to the lake.

As he looked, it changed before him. The sky, misty white, changed to periwinkle blue and the newly arrived sun shone over a busy lake; lots of boaters, plenty of swimmers, and the sound of music, chatter, and splashing muffled from the distance. He watched as a rowing boat broke off from the clutter of boats on the far west side of the lake and moved towards a wooded section on the northeast side. He remembered that day all too well. This was where he’d asked his girlfriend to marry him. He had many happy memories at this lake and he’d inherited the lakeside lodge his parents had bought when he was still a child. It seemed the perfect spot to do it. She’d said yes, they made love in the boat and were married only a month later. 3 and a half months after that, she’d gone, taken by a drunk who walked on a technicality. It had taken a while to find him but find him he did, laughing at a comedy in his home, still drinking.

Getting him out was easy and transporting him to the cabin just as simple but now everything seemed muddled. After cutting this man, doing what he never (at one point) thought possible, his mind was once again racing. What am I doing? he asked himself on occasions when his wife slipped into view. This isn’t me. But even as he thought that, the images of his wife in pain erupted in his mind and the anger burst through again.

Before he knew it, he was crying into his hands, the tears falling into his blood-red hands. He lifted his head to look back at her one last time but the scene had disappeared. The wintry sky had appeared once more, the frozen lake was empty and his stuttered breath hovered before in the air.

He got to his feet and turned to make the short walk back to the lodge. In no time at all, he entered, the man tied to the chair looking at him. His face, bloodied from cuts to his head and face, was blotchy owing to large purple bumps appearing around the eyes, one completely blocking his left eye.

‘P…pl..ease…don’t do this.’

The man looked away as the tortured man continued. I’m so…so…sorry,’ he said under renewed sobs. ‘I never meant to…to hurt her…’

‘DON’T!!’ yelled the man and punched the man in the chair so hard that his chair fell back onto the floor with a crash, a picture from a nearby dresser falling to the floor with a smash. Rubbing his hand, the man moved back towards the window, breathing hard as the man in the chair moaned. Aside from the sound of breathing and sobbing, the lodge was quiet for a moment before the tortured man spoke again.

‘Does this make you feel better,’ asked the tortured man.

The man by the window looked from the bound man to his wounds, at the bloodied knife in his hands, to the picture of his wife on the floor. He looked around the lodge, memories swimming in and out of vision, and the anger slipped away, the loss heightened as he thought of his wife. Her face, her smile, her touch.

‘No,’ he replied and in one quick movement, he flung his legs either side of a shotgun leaning against a chair and pulled the trigger, sending his head flying in all directions.

Nightmarish Evil Ogre

(he who hides behind the innocuous NEO) should be afraid – very afraid – of what’s coming next.

We, the impish and malevolent, are planning a take-over of the Ogre’s den. Yes! WE are the ‘bumps in the night’ and we will make our presence known to all!

You can help to scare the mighty Ogre by writing a short horror story and submitting it to NEO. My heinous assistants will bind the Ogre with spells and publish your horrible horror tales right here, from the Ogre’s den!

The time is here! The time is now! Channel your inner Stephen King (left-leaning liberal that he is), your inner O. Henry, your inner Edgar Allen Poe (only I, the imp queen, am entitled to call him Eddie!) and scare the scales and warts off that Nightmarish Evil Ogre!

The gremlins and ‘ghosts within the machine’ have been trained and prepped to usurp the scheduling of Nightmarish Evil Ogre so your short horror stories will appear when he least expects it.

The sooner you get those horror stories to the gremlins, the better. After our glorious horrible Day of Demons (that humans call Halloween, foolish beings that they are), we may never again be able to bind the Nightmarish Evil Ogre.

Sharpen your quills, your talons, your jagged nails, and start writing!


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