by Ariel Perez
The rain had been keeping me on my toes these days; I began peeking around corners before fully taking them and listening to every sound that found its way into my mind, expecting something to jump out at me at any given moment. I was always a walking paranoid mess when we came out here for the summers, out to our family lake house. It had belonged to my grandparents and now to my parents. For the past 15 summers since I had arrived in this dizzying world, we had come out to the lake house for three hot months out of the year. The house was old and needed repairs badly, at night it would creek and crack like an over talkative child, keeping me up at all hours of the night. And during the day the humidity and heat seeped in so much that it seemed like the house was trying to boil me alive. It was always non-stop. Outside my window was a lake, which looked like a dark abyss, begging for me to fall into it. I felt that it had murderous intentions. So I ended up avoiding the lake more than the noisy house. The woods surrounded our temporary home and the lake was like a protective wall, keeping out anyone wishing to gain access. It trapped me here for what seemed like forever. And the wind howled ferociously, taunting my lack of freedom. Nature was mocking me.
My mother would have made me a hot cup of coco right about now, with a bit of cinnamon, and always three marshmallows. She was a nice woman, always well-kept and reaching out to me, but Nature was my master now, I couldn’t turn away.
I sat by the window for hours, staring at the sky that was staring back at me. I loathed the way the moon watched me and my every move,it whispered menacing stories to me. It was always talking and trying to tell me what to do. I just wanted it all to stop, wanted Nature to just leave me alone now. I didn’t want to hide myself away anymore, I needed to be free. I looked out the window, I could see the shadows moving outside, plotting their devilish deed to trap my family and I here.
I did everything Nature told me to do, I followed every step it shouted at me, believing its whispered promises, and still, it would not go away. It was latched to my very soul and I could feel it, devouring and poisoning me. I did Nature’s reddish business, and here I sat, stained with guilt and sin. Trapped by my thoughts, I could not escape.
I wanted them back, I wanted my mother to stand up and breathe again. I wanted her to wash her velvet blood off me and tell me it’s going to be okay, but she just laid there. Her horror stricken eyes staring up at me, filled me with a guilt I had never experienced. I brushed her hair out of her face, and took a look at the last life line I had in this world. I hoped she knew I had to do this, I had no other choice.
I kissed her cheek, “I love you”, I whispered into her hair. She smelled of roses and rust.
I could hear the shadows coming for me, the wind was not far behind them, I could hear it angrily howl “YOUR MINE”. I just wanted all these voices, the whispers and the yelling to stop. Why wouldn’t they just leave me alone? I just want them to stop.
I grabbed my father’s hunting knife and ran out into the unknown darkness of nature. I had to leave them behind in the house; I hope they understand that this was the only way to save them. Nature can’t get them now.
A long raspy voice hissed through the air, “I’ll find you…I will always find you..”, it left a coldness in my soul that I knew would never thaw.
No matter where I was, where I managed to hide, Nature would find me. I ran towards the black lake, and it looked as though it had morphed into an oily sludge, bubbling and waiting. I paused very suddenly and looked up, the moon was full tonight and for once it had nothing to say, it lit up the grounds like a stage waiting on its late performers.
“YOU CAN’T ESCAPE ME!” the disembodied voice shrieked.
There was a way I could escape this world that no one else seemed to notice, it didn’t expect me to escape, it thinks I’m a coward. And I was, for the longest time, but I had to be brave now.
I walked out as far as I could into the lake without the water fully engulfing me, so it came just below my shoulders. I could see the shadows darting and moving in towards me. The moon watched, and waited for these shadow men to rip me apart. I let out a soft sob, I was scared-but I had to do this. I know that when this is all over I will have escaped the voices, and everything will be okay.
“YOUR MINE!!!”, It cried, sounding closer and closer-it was coming for me.
“You can’t have me!!” I shouted back in my small girlish voice.
I held up my father’s hunting knife and pushed it to my slender neck, my skin was almost translucent under the moon light. And I felt a single warm blood drop trickle down my neck and reach the water below. I looked up at the moon, to the wall of trees and to the shadow men around me. I said in a low voice “you can’t have me…”; I knew it could hear me. I dragged the over-sized hunting knife across my neck, deep and swift. I felt a sharp pinch at first, then a warm feeling came over me, and then there was nothing but relief.
Nature couldn’t get me now.