01 Feb A Fog Descended On The Lake, And I Was Lost On An Alien Ocean
I write this with the fleeting hope that someone–somewhere– will be able to help me make sense of it all. All I want are answers, some understanding that would allow me to return to my previous undisturbed worldview. That lake sitting just beyond the edges of my yard had seemed an extension of the home to me. Now I feel as though it looms over me at night, threatening to let loose the unknowable horrors it holds.
Before I was lost in that place, I would take every opportunity to be down at the lake. The water was like a second home. Now it seems so alien and unfamiliar.
I will recount my experience to the best of my ability, and all I ask…all I hope is that someone can help me make sense of this. Please. I feel as though I can’t trust my own reality, and the nightmares that fill what little sleep I have gotten have left me exhausted.
My family had owned our home in the private community built around Lake Ganod in Massachusetts for longer than I’d been alive, and growing up I’d spent many summers there, under the watchful eye of my mother or aunt from the docks, my cousins and I would challenge each other to races out into the lake, always pushing the limits to see who would swim out the farthest. I would always win, the water had become a second home to me, somewhere I found comfort and familiarity, and years later, when my grandparents needed to move closer to my family, the house would come under my care.
I’d lived here for years without incident, and I had attended for this to be the house I raised a family in one day. I intend to move, now, as soon as I can manage. Every second spent here wears on my nerves, which are already shot to hell, and I can’t take it, the sight of the lake.
It was overcast the morning it happened. Fresh drops of dew clung to the grass, which seemed a more lively green than usual thanks to the weather. Spring was practically upon us, though Winter was not so far removed, and the stubborn chill that seemed to cling to the air reminded me as much.
I shivered involuntarily, pulling the collar of my windbreaker together with one hand, and shoved the other in a pocket as I moved through the backyard, towards the private path that leads to the lakeshore.
Except for the birds, chirping messages back and forth to each other, I was the only living thing out this early, which was just as I preferred it. I opened the fence that separated my backyard from the path down to the waterfront and made my way down the stone steps descending the little hill the house sat on, and onto the sandy shore.
The familiar sound of water meeting land greeted me, and I made my way over to a tarp on the beach, removing it to reveal a rather old–rather expensive– old, handcrafted canoe that had belonged to my grandfather before me. I sucked in air, bending my knees to pull, and began dragging the canoe towards the edge of the water, and into its shallows. The frigid water sent a shock up my legs and across my skin, raising gooseflesh in its wake. The wind had picked up a bit, enough, so that little waves were moving across the surface of the lake. I waited, standing there in the shallows holding the canoe steady as it bobbed on the surface until just the right little swell in the water, and I raised myself up and into the boat, in as fluid a motion as I could manage, pushing off and away from shore.
As if in response, a breeze rolled across the water, carrying the sweet smell of the morning air, bringing an unintentional smile to my face. I settled into the repetitive but relaxing act of rowing, alternating sides, and timing my breathing as I paddled forward.
Another sudden breeze rocked me, rendering me unsteady for a moment before centering myself again. I frowned slightly, wondering if perhaps I’d underestimated the weather for the morning. I had elected to wear my windbreaker but had little else on other than the swim trunks and sandals; I usually wore on the water, and I was beginning to believe that would not be sufficient.
As if in response to my worries, an unexpectedly strong gust of wind whipped from behind, throwing the thin hood of the windbreaker over my eyes, and pushing the canoe forward nearly twenty feet. I fought to balance myself against such sudden movement, almost losing my paddle before managing to regain some level of stability. I chuckled nervously to myself, imagining how foolish I must look to any neighbor who happened to be looking outside their window right now, watching me struggle against the air. It was an embarrassing thought and one that made me feel oddly…vulnerable alone on the lake. It was that feeling that made me cast a glance back to shore.
It was then that I saw the first sign that something was amiss. I’d been out on the lake for no longer than five minutes, and I was sure I’d seen the shore sooner than that. Still, in seemingly no time, a wall of fog that looked more like thick white smoke had descended over the neighborhood, creeping closer to the lake with every second, until obscuring my view of land entirely.
Perhaps the decrease in visibility triggered some animal fear in me, or something deep down inside of me understood the true nature of what was to come, but as the fog drew closer and an eerie stillness fell over the water, the seeds of panic began to take root in my mind. I quickly resolved to return to shore. Being on the water, even a lake as familiar as this, wouldn’t be safe with such a lack of visibility, as the fog crept ever closer, bringing with it an unnatural silence that caused the hairs on my back to raise. I reoriented, paddling until I’d turned the canoe around in the direction I had come. By now, my home stood only as a shadow in the mist, which had now almost engulfed the entirety of the lake. I watched as the last visible bit of the dock disappeared, the fog spilling over it in a way that almost felt..purposeful.
I shivered, not from the cold this time–though it felt like the temperature had dropped a few degrees– but rather from the growing sensation of wrongness with the entire situation. It was then–I think– when I first heard it. Had it not been so unnaturally quiet, I probably wouldn’t even have heard it over the sounds I made while rowing, but there… from somewhere in that alien fog, I could have sworn I had heard a distinct splash.
I paused, staying as still as I could manage, drifting silently on the water. There was nothing for a while, but the sound of the canoe floating on the water and my intentionally slowed breathing, as I waited for something to break the strange silence.
I waited there for what must have been minutes, met only with silence, before eventually giving up and continuing forward.
Almost as soon as my paddle touched the water, the noises returned, a series of repetitive sloshing sounds from somewhere behind me. Confusion quickly gave way to worried realization as the noise became more apparent, and less distant with each passing second, and I came to understand what I was hearing.
Someone, somewhere in the strange mist that had descended on the lake, was swimming.
A creeping sense of unease found itself firmly planted in my mind as I sat there for a few moments, listening to the unmistakable sound of something moving through the water. For a moment, I considered calling out, eager to know which of my neighbors could be out on the water in conditions such as the ones at hand, but the idea of calling into the phantom mists with no real concept of who…or what I may be calling out to quickly faded from my mind.
I instead returned to paddling, with much-added fervor, in the direction I had come, to what I was sure must be the shores leading to my backyard.
I don’t know exactly when, but at some point, I realized I had been rowing for far too long. I was as familiar with the lake as I was my own home and even plunged into the ghostly haze I knew I should have reached land in any direction, several minutes ago. I swallowed and tried to force down the great swell of fear rising within me. For every second I went with no sign of land, my movements grew more rigorous and primal, more desperate.
“Come on, come on..”, I pleaded with the nothingness, begging for it to part and reveal the familiar shorelines behind my home. An ancient cocktail of adrenaline and fear began searing its way through my veins, and within minutes I had started rowing with such an increased wildness that water drenched me as well as the inside of the boat.
Time stretched on for a while, as did the lengths of my desperation for every second I progressed without seeing land. At some point, an idea occurred to me– one that I tried to stifle at first, but that quickly grew into something close to the irrefutable fact that longer I spent on that godforsaken water.
Somehow I knew, even blinded by the fog, I knew that I had left the lake. That I was somewhere else. I didn’t want to accept it, I couldn’t make sense of it. My mind fought, struggled to reject what I knew to be the truth, terror gripping my every action-driving me forward with a wild fury.
I don’t know how long I continued on like that. Panic made the time seem to stretch and condense into something meaningless, and with no visual aid to mark my movements, it could have been a long time.
However long, it was enough time for the memory of whatever I had heard earlier to fade to the back of my mind, as hysteria took hold of me. It resurfaced, racing to the forefront of my worries when again I heard it. Someone–or as I would come to find– something, could be heard moving through the water again, faster this time. My head snapped around in the direction of the sounds, my ears perking involuntarily, as whatever was in the water approached, closing the distance.
I froze, terror robbing me of control over my body, as I sat, eyes locked on the mist waiting for something to break through at any moment. I had only just begun to consider that I was somewhere other than home– somewhere strange, and for some reason, the possibility of encountering something from wherever that was, filled me with a fear that made my stomach turn.
For several agonizing moments, the longest few of my life, fear, and ignorance made my mind illogical, and my thoughts began to swim with images of unseen horrors leaping out of the mist.
My chest began to burn, and I realized I had been holding my breath, I didn’t dare to stop, as the sound is closer now…so close I can feel the hair down my neck raising, and goosebumps forming along my skin.
Slowly a shadow revealed itself, a dark form emerging from the pure haze of nothingness. My heartfelt ready to leave my chest as my eyes strained to create something of the approaching darkness. The sound grew slower, the closer it drew, as the image in front of me grew clearer.
I let out a breath, relief flooding through me, extinguishing the blazing panic that had gripped me. From the fog, the outline of a person became apparent. I chuckled, an inadvertent smile coming to my face as the realization dawns on me that I must not have been the only person out for an early morning ride on the lake. Sure, it was odd given the time of day, and I couldn’t imagine how they could have gotten in without me seeing them, but…nothing else made sense. Someone else was stuck here…wherever here was, along with me. The thought gave me some semblance of comfort in a moment steeped in so much fear. It wouldn’t last.
The person in the mist approached slowly, their figure growing more defined by the second, and I cleared my throat to speak–hoping to dispel the last bit of fear clouding my mind.
My words seemed to hang there on the air, clinging to the phantom-like mist. Somehow, the silence that followed seemed denser and more suffocating than before, as my anticipation for a response quickly morphed into regret at my ever having spoken.
The figure in the mist continued their advance forward, silent if not for the gentle whisper of the water undertow, as they drew closer. I squinted, confusion growing as the dark form in the mist grew more evident, as strange details became more apparent.
As the figure closed the distance, question after question sprouted in my mind, each plunging me further into a state of confusion even more mystifying than the strange fog I found myself trapped in. Closer and closer it came, and as it drew nearer, unsettling details began to leap out at me, creating an uncanny image of something I couldn’t quite understand. Two, in specific, disturbed me more than the rest.
The first, and least striking of the details, was the strange way the figure waved at me. The motion was clunky as if made by someone unfamiliar with their appendages, still trying to master their use. It was odd..alien and uncomfortable, causing me to recoil away from the seemingly friendly gesture.
The second and most gut-wrenching of the things I noticed was the figures boat, or more accurately- lack thereof. It seemed to..glide through the water, attached to something just below the surface beyond my vision. The water…when had it gotten so dark? The lake, usually crystal clear and beautiful, was now an inky black that resembled oil more than water. I rubbed my eyes vigorously as if they were solely responsible for what I was seeing, my mind growing even more assured in my assertion that I was now somewhere else, somewhere far away.
It was close, how close it was impossible to know for sure, but close enough that it became more and more evident that I was looking at something absurd, something impossible. The figure came to a stop, unnaturally abrupt, just a few feet in front of me. The tension that followed was thicker than the surrounding mist, and held me more captive, as the phantom in the fog remained motionless, impossibly still on the surface of the obsidian water.
We remained like that for close to a minute, locked on each other, deadlocked, seemingly awaiting the other’s response. Something about its observation, about the feeling in the air around it, made my skin crawl uncontrollably.
Without warning, it jerked it’s arm forward, gripping for me hungrily. It was enough to stir me to action. I ducked away, just barely avoiding it’s grasping arm, which reached far longer than anything humanly possible. In one swift motion, I swung the paddle, batting the things arm away, before returning it to the water. I began to row away from the figure, carried forward by adrenaline and stomach-turning terror.
I must have been a few yards away when I chanced a glance behind me, and my blood froze. The fog had begun to lift, just enough for me to see the figure, which had appeared so human moments ago, do something impossible. It descended, slowly, purposefully, beneath the black surface of the water, and out of sight once more.
I don’t know what I had expected to see; somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I think I had already accepted that whatever it was, it wasn’t human. Still, at that moment, confronted with the reality of the situation so suddenly, all I could think of was an escape. Of escaping that thing, the fog, and the waking nightmare that the lake had become.
I don’t know how long I went on for after my brush with the thing in the mist. Maybe a few hours. Maybe longer. But I became extremely aware of just how tired, hungry, and cold I was. I’d been on the water for hours, much longer than I had anticipated that morning, and I had eaten a light breakfast, and not knowing when I would have access to food again, seemed to only make my stomach growl louder and more frequently, so I tried to avoid the thought entirely, though I was unsuccessful, and the idea of starving to death, slowly wasting away into an unrecognizable husk in this unforgiving…place clawed at the back of my mind, slowly eating away at my thoughts. Eating away at my sanity.
A familiar noise somewhere off to the front of me pulled me from the border of my breaking point. It was a noise I was used to hearing out on the lake all those times. The stressed creak of the wooden dock, shifting in the moving water. I sprang up, the canoe shifting violently under my weight, the familiar sound breathing new life into spaces previously occupied by hopelessness.
I hear it, closer now, the sound as familiar as ever close, but still just out of sight. I paddled desperately in the direction of the sound, in the direction of the dock that meant salvation. A return to the world I knew. I…I know this doesn’t make sense, but the lake knew what I was trying to do. And it wasn’t going to just let me. A current, some fit for a busy river, began seemingly out of nothing, and with every passing moment, the creaking of the dock grew quieter.
“NO! NO, you fucking DON’T!” I cried out at the lake, which I was now convinced somehow…understood what it was doing, and was doing it on purpose. It was toying with me, and I wouldn’t let it. I wasn’t thinking, consumed with rage and madness like nothing I had ever experienced, I lost control, call it insanity, desperation, in reality, it was likely both; driven by a singular thought and motivation, no matter how illogical. Reach the dock.
I don’t know what I was thinking, I doubt I was truly thinking at all. I suppose in my mind the dock, being connected to the land, represented salvation, a link between the water and the world, and the only hope in my heart that I would ever escape this place and see my home again. It was a flimsy belief at best, but I had devolved past the point of sanity and rational decision, and belief was all it took to act.
I dove from the canoe, which was immediately torn away by the strange current disappearing into the mist, as I plunged into the dark waters below.
The dark water was beyond freezing; it’s biting cold, stinging my skin to the touch, instantly making me regret my decision. It seemed the changes to the water were more than just aesthetic, and I was beginning to lose the feeling in my fingers and toes. The strange current that had taken the canoe seemed not to be affecting me, though, and with a final burst of frantic energy, I managed to swim until I reached the familiar wooden structure that meant safety.
As I pulled myself onto the dock, my heart sank through my chest, disappearing into the depths below. I crawled, every stir of the dock under my weight serving as a crushing confirmation of what I already knew.
A scream, guttural and infuriated tore through the air, echoing off the water and piercing the fog. It took a few seconds to realize it was coming from me. My throat was raw, and my skull pounded with pain, as I curled up in the center of the dock floating uselessly in the center of this unknowably expansive sea of darkness– now an impromptu raft, my head buried in my legs, hands tangled in my hair. I was alone. The thought rang out so loud in my head that I was certain it had been spoken allowed. I pulled myself tighter, hoping that in this illogical place, perhaps I could make myself disappear if I pulled myself close enough, my heart and mind emptying of hope.
It was almost expected when I heard the faint sounds of something in the distance, swimming closer…closer…I forced myself to sit up, staring forward into the mist, which seemed now to be clearing, as a familiar figure began to emerge. I sat up, backing slowly away toward the center of the dock-raft careful not to overturn it. I shivered, and I couldn’t tell if it was from the freezing water or the way the feeling in the air seemed to shift with that things approach.
The fog was fading, and some of the clarity seemed to be returning to the water, though in minimal amounts, revealing aspects of my surroundings to me. I quickly understood that the fog, the inky darkness of the water, was all protecting me — shielding me from the unimaginable reality of the situation. As the last of the mist dissipated, I felt the last bit of fight left in me drain from my body. I wasn’t on the lake anymore. I didn’t know if I was still on Earth anymore. The water stretched out in every direction, stopping only where it was met but the sky..oh, that sky. The sky was a deep purple like a bruise, dotted with stars and the three massive moons that hung overhead, jarring indicators to just how far I was from anything I had ever known.
If not for the situation, for my utter isolation on this alien ocean, it would have been beautiful. Instead, I felt only crushing horror as my mind struggled to process my impossible new reality. A fear that coursed through my veins, filling my body like poison as the figure from the mist was revealed.
It’s taken me a long time to find an adequate description of the thing I saw, the thing that had been stalking me through that mist. It’s taken me time combing through images of the many awful things the oceans and lakes of the world have to offer, to find something, anything, like the thing I encountered in that lake. The closest thing I can compare it to is the angler fish, the ugly thing with the jagged teeth and light on its forehead that it uses to attract prey, based on some of its main characteristics.
I immediately understood why the figure seemed to glide along the water without a boat and why it moved so strangely. What I had seen was only a portion of the entire thing..a large fleshy appendage, human in shape and size, rising upwards and out of the water from the body of something unrecognizable. Its fish-like eyes were large and dark, each the size of a dinner plate, staring into mine with an eerie intelligence I found almost as horrifying as the rest of its appearance. Other human-shaped appendages grew from all along the surface of the nightmare creature, adopting a ghostly quality in the way they move in the water, all reaching and grabbing and snatching for something. The realization dawns on me what it is they’re all reaching for. Me.
I can hardly focus on the ephemeral dance of the figures sprouting from the creature, and its face…dear god, it’s fucking face. I couldn’t look away. Its head was broad and fish-like, with rows of molar-like teeth open and waiting to devour. It was covered in a series of growths, these grey translucent appendages that appeared purposefully human-shaped. Thin bones ran through the things many ‘limbs,’ responsible for their ability to somewhat articulate. The appendage that had been extending above the water that had been made to resemble a person in the mist reached one of its ‘arms’ out at me, beckoning me forward. Somehow, the act dripped malice, and I realized it was mocking me. I stared down at the creature, the perverse horror floating just below, waiting to consume me. Its smile grew wider, and something flashed behind its glassy eyes.
Somewhere inside of me, in the darkest parts of my mind, something was compelled to dive in after it. My head swam as a throbbing pain spreading through my brain, threatening to render me unconscious. Its eyes reminded me of the ocean I was lost in, dark, with something threatening lurking beneath the surface. It was in my head, I could feel it, somehow that thing from the depths was in my mind, dragging me into the hell below mentally.
I struggled against the growing desire to let it take me, to be consumed by the beast, putting an end to it all. The thing brought its teeth together, glaring up at me with a stomach-turning smile that completely overtook the lower half of its face. The pain in my head intensified. As did the overwhelming desire to just fall in..end it. I moved forward, the dock beginning to run under my weight, threatening to flip entirely with my every movement.
What little sanity remained in me pleaded and screamed for me to stop, to throw myself as far away from the edge–from the abomination awaiting below. It was drowned out by the invading thoughts of the creature, pulling me closer. I inched closer, it’s smile widened. My fingers met the frigid water first, as I pulled myself forward. Closer. Closer.
Without warning, the dock twisted under my weight, plunging me into the water. I was jolted back to awareness by the sudden burst of adrenaline, fresh terror searing through my veins as the awful realization of what was about to happen overtook me. Panic puppeteered my every move as I thrashed forward, trying desperately to reach the dock, which had again come to represent salvation.
Behind me, something began to swim forward. I chanced a glance over my shoulder, and any hopes of survival were quickly quelled. The figure above the water was merely feet away, closing in rapidly. I clenched my teeth, stopping in the water, bracing myself. I was going to die on some alien ocean somewhere unthinkable. I would never know why or how I got there, and I was going to die there. The thing in the water seemed aware of my thoughts, and its smile grew even wider in response, as its mouth began to hang open as the distance between us began to disappear.
I closed my eyes and awaited the inevitable end. I felt the spray of water as it drew near, and sucked in a final breath.
The following seconds seemed to stretch on for an eternity. I waited for something, for some blinding pain, or some bright light as I entered the next life. There was nothing, just the sound of the lake, and my labored breathing. For several agonizing moments, I refused to open my eyes, unwilling to confront the sight of that thing again. Eventually, curiosity overcame fear, and I chanced a glance.
It was stopped, utterly motionless just feet in front of me, eerily still. I was frozen, terrified that any movement may send it back into frenzied pursuit and lead to my death. Something about the look in the eyes of the creature, something I couldn’t quite place, made me feel as though perhaps I could take the chance. Slowly, I began kicking my feet, moving back towards the dock, keeping my eyes locked on the thing.
I hit my back against the wood, sending a shock down my spine, that instantly gave way to relief upon the realization that I had reached the dock. I quickly pulled myself on top of it, my eyes never leaving the creature, which remained motionless under the water. The thing’s smile faded so suddenly it made my heart drop, and the corner of its mouth curled into a horrible pained grimace.
What it did next was the most surprising, and would come to be the most immediately foreboding. As quickly as it had appeared, the creature lowered itself into the depths and disappeared. The confusion came as suddenly as the fear had, as I watched that nightmare of a being, a predator of some alien world, disappear. I fell back, a wave of exhaustion taking the place of the adrenaline that had been keeping me going, and I began to turn and survey my surroundings. The fog had mostly cleared, something I had barely taken mental note of being occupied with the creature from before, and I had yet to actually look around me.
Had I looked earlier, I would’ve sooner noticed why the creature had fled. Land, the only for miles had appeared, only yards away from where I was floating now. Like so much about the situation, something felt wrong about this. For the second time on this lake, the horror quickly revealed itself to me. I thought it was my eyes at first. Maybe a trick of the light in the waning fog, but I had thought I’d seen motion. I blinked once, praying to whatever god was out there to listen, praying for this all to stop.
I think it answered, only it was the god of this place. And it was evil as everything else here. The island was covered with dark figures, thrashing and fighting and tearing at one another, in some sick frenzied ritual. All at once, the figures stopped, ceasing their vile performance, moving as if united by one mind. All at once, they gathered on the shores of this impossible island, and I could see what they truly were.
They were humanoid– bipedal, two-arms, all of that, but they were far from human. Their skin was a sickly gray color, with webbed hands and massive dark eyes like those on the creature from the depths. They chittered and clicked, flooding forward and off of the island in droves, a descending army of angry, hungry mouths. For a few seconds, before the fresh fear took hold, I wondered if these things were the results of what happened if you stayed here, lost in this place for too long. I imagined myself, a mindless animal gnashing and tearing at the others on the island, and shuddered. I preferred death. They spilled forward, and my heart quickened in preparation for the inevitable. I would be ripped apart by these creatures, the people of the lake, and the horror of that was one I was accustomed to.
But what followed, I was unprepared for. It began with the water, which vibrated at first, then started to quake, waves starting to form along its surface. I had hardly noticed at first, only realizing what was going on when the creatures in the water ceased their press forward, chittering and cackling with such intensity it filled me with a dread I hadn’t known I could experience as of yet.
Then it shifted. I..I can’t explain how I felt, what it was like watching it. The mass that had been home to the creatures, the island that had appeared so suddenly, shifted.
The fog had ceased its retreat, pooling around the mass in the water ominously. I glanced at the creatures in the water. They had stopped their pursuit entirely, instead collectively turning their attention towards the shifting mass, something resembling fear on their faces–faces which I know realized very much resembled the creature I had seen earlier.
Another shift, more significant than before, encouraged a series of excited shrieks and cries from the creatures, who began thrashing, hooting, and yelling in some jubilant celebration.
The island…begins to rise. The nightmarish cacophony from the creatures in the water rose to a fever pitch, as the shadow of a behemoth stretched from the water to the sky, all under cover of that fog. The dock was lifted and thrown by a sudden wave of displaced water, tossed into the air. For a few moments, time seemed to slow. I watched the strange alien ocean descend into discordant waves, as angry dark clouds poured out of the fog surrounding the colossal creature, threatening to unleash hell. I saw the legions of creatures, almost human but still something so different, as they watched it all unfold, unable to gauge their emotions now.
I don’t know how high I was thrown, but when I connected with the water, it felt like hitting pavement. A ringing sound filled my ears, which only took in a lungful of water by mistake. Disoriented, I struggled to find direction, my lungs burning as I tried to navigate my way to the surface. I managed to find my way up by some miracle, gasping for air, vision blurry. The scene that came into focus was the least explainable of all.
The creatures were…rising from the water. Or, being pulled is a more accurate description of what I saw. In a stream of bodies, thrashing and struggling against some invisible power tearing them from the lake. The behemoth had reached its full height, it’s hulking figure towering above the water and into the purple skies above, enveloped in that strange fog.
From the highest point of the beast, where a head should have been, a brilliant light began to beam, forcing me to avert my eyes for a moment. I squinted, watching as the smaller creatures began to disappear into the light. It’s hard to tell exactly, but I get the feeling their excitement was gone, replaced with fear and confusion no different than my own. They had seemed to worship the behemoth, to revere it, which left me to wonder if this thing shrouded in fog and clouds, was the awful god of…wherever I was.
The light began to intensify, emitting a palpable heat, and forcing me to look away. I didn’t want to see it, to feel it rummaging through my mind like the creature from before had. The water around me had become increasingly violent, and the weather followed suit, a lightening in an array of unusual hues coloring the sky in a spectacle that was as beautiful as it was horrifying. I was tossed around, unable to avert my gaze from the behemoth I found myself staring into the clouds above, into the light the monster emitted.
I guess it’s impossible to know for sure. Covered in the clouds like that, I couldn’t have seen what it was really doing. But I felt it. In my mind, I felt it. It turned and looked at me. I was covered in something like a massive spotlight blinding me, filling my mind with images of voyages taken on an alien sea. I saw crews throughout the ages, across time and space setting sail on oceans and lakes, taking swims in rivers and creeks, on Earth and worlds I didn’t recognize, all finding themselves in the same situation; lost in a storm, or a strange and sudden fog, soon to find themselves stranded on an alien ocean. All meeting the same fate. One by one, falling victim to unknown, impossible horrors, lost forever in this place.
I could feel my mind beginning to collapse under the sheer amount of information, and the images that followed fractured it completely. I couldn’t take anymore, I couldn’t take the overload of information, listen to the screams of former victims of this place. I would rather die. I pulled away from the light of the behemoth, pulling myself towards the dark depths of the ocean. I fought against the urge to turn back, to return to the surface, fighting off the images of monsters in the depths awaiting me. Anything, even the creature from earlier with its ominous smile, was better than another moment in the light of the behemoth. The water began to vibrate, and somehow I heard something. A sound, like a tremendous horn blowing, shaking the very fabric of the universe. I knew it was the colossal monster above, I knew what it wanted.
To pull me into its light. I didn’t know what would happen if it was successful, but I knew it was likely a fate worse than death. I felt it, pulling at me mentally and physically, trying to tear me back to the surface. My lungs felt as though they were on fire, but I used every bit of strength I had left to drag myself closer and closer to the depths. I could feel the water rising, being pulled into the air by the behemoth, the terror of which made me only swim faster.
My vision darkened with every second, as I continued my swim into oblivion. Another rumble through the water. I feel myself beginning to fade, as thoughts and memories of my family began to fill my mind. I was going to die, I had accepted this, but at least it would be on my own terms. I closed my eyes, feeling the last bit of my strength leaving me, as the instinct to take a breath took over.
Then I felt it. A pull from beneath. Familiar from before. A strange, inexplicable current like the one that had taken my canoe pulling me lower. I didn’t fight, and the riptide tore me down at incredible speeds, almost giving me whiplash. I was whipped around with blinding force, at the mercy of the strange sentience behind the current. It continued on like that until slowly, the world faded away, and I opened my mouth to take in a breath. The last thing I saw as I was turned around was a light beaming from the surface, staring down at me. Through me.
I expected darkness, and instead was greeted by nightmares. Tumultuous dreams of being torn apart by grinning beasts, and taken by ancient gods.
I woke up to bright light, and instantly turned to flee, before realizing something that made me cry tears of relief. I was on land. I sat up, my eyes adjusting to the sun. To the sun in the blue sky. Our sun. I leaped back, feeling the cold water of the lake on my foot. I crawled away, recoiling as if from a hungry beast, and in a way, I guess it was. I rose to my feet, stumbling at first as I regained balance, before turning and running around the shore, and back to the path. Back to my home. Even as I finish this, I’m at war with myself about posting it. About risking sounding…insane. I suppose it doesn’t matter if there’s any forum that should be receptive to my experience. I imagine it’s this one.
I don’t know what to think about my experience. I’m grateful I survived, though I’m left struggling with traumas I can’t possibly bring to a therapist. In the meantime, if there is anything to take from my experience, it’s that if there’s ever a fog in the air or a strange storm overhead, you should avoid the water.
If you don’t, you just might find yourself somewhere else.