posted on Oct, 4 2017 @ 06:12 AM
(This is just a tribute to the current ATS short story contest theme, not an official entry.)
Alice lay alone and in silence, dreamily listening to the breeze drifting through the group of Tall Pines which bordered the far side of "Spooky"
In her mind, there was nothing "spooky" about this place at all. It was just beautiful, calm and serene.
It had earned it's unfortunate nickname when a variety of objects which had been lost in town had inexplicably started turning up on the shore there,
and folks do seem to enjoy a spooky story and rhyming Lake name!
Alice loved days like this... Her work was done for the day, and there were no kids around until after the local School came out, so she had put on
her favourite Yellow sweater, grabbed her cane, and wandered down to the lakeside shore to sit, listen to the wind and dream.
Her life wasn't too bad now, the car-crash had badly injured her right leg and taken most of her sight, but she actually felt quite lucky that it
hadn't blinded her completely.
Alice reached down, picked up her pink-jacketed phone and deliberately switched it to silent.
Disconnected from the cold stark digital world, she felt so much more "in tune" with the warm, soft analogue one all around her here.
Her mouth fell open as she sucked in a huge breath of the fresh mountain air, then slowly and purposefully let it slip slowly back out again... taking
her cares and worries with it.
It was then that she heard a strange gurgling sound.
Quiet at first, then louder... it sounded like someone choking?
She sat up, quickly scanning the water in front of her, but all she could make out was a blurry sky, trees, rocks and of course, the large lake.
The swirling breeze made it difficult to pinpoint the direction of the sounds, but it definitely sounded like someone choking, gasping for
She called out:
"Hello, Is anyone there??"
But there was no reply.
Again and louder this time:
And once again - Nothing.
Her phone gave a slight buzz in her hand as a "No Phone Signal" notification came in and it popped into her head that she could use her phone's
camera to better scan the scene...
So, she held up the bright-pink phone, set the camera zoom to max and started scanning across the lake.
It was only then that she saw something between the jagged rocks, away on the far side.
It looked like a young girl... Maybe a teenager? Lying there among the rocks.
Alice tried calling out again:
"Hello!! Are you OK??"
But the girl was motionless, lying on her back... one faint gurgle and then complete silence betrayed the fact that it was she who had been
making the choking sounds.
Alice FROZE... not knowing what to do, there was no way to safely reach the far side of the lake from here.
When she lowered her camera, she still couldn't really see the girl properly, so she raised it again and instinctively began taking photos.
There was still no phone signal to call for help... so she decided to go back up to town to raise the alarm.
"I'll go get help!!" she cried... but there was no response from the now-lifeless shape across the water.
Alice stumbled and ran like she'd never ran before, her heart pounding in her chest... what if that poor girl died??
She made her way up the dirt track, then onto the cement road and quickly came to the corner of the first buildings in town.
As she turned the corner to go up towards the Police station, she lost her footing slightly which made her stumble and drop her phone. It bounced
awkwardly and disappeared into a dark gap between the buildings there.
She automatically thrust her hand in after it... scrambling around... and her hand fell upon what she thought was the wrist-strap cord. Alice tugged
on the cord but it was wedged firm. In a panic... she pulled harder and harder and HARDER, but it just wouldn't budge - the phone must have been
So she finally let go of the cord and pushed her hand further in... hoping to free the phone itself...
It was then that she thought she heard a strangely familiar voice, calling out... "hello...." very faintly. It seemed so far away and yet was coming
from the gap that she was reaching into.
She froze for an instant, but then remembered the girl... and the lost phone... and so resumed her scrabbling search until at last her hand fell upon
the bright-pink phone in its hiding place. She grabbed it quickly and then stumbled on to the Police Station.
When the Desk Sergeant had listened to her story, he quickly sent out a call for a unit to visit the far-side of the lake, and then he took a closer
look at Alice's phone.
The first couple of pictures were too blurry to make out much, but the third one was better.
It showed a young girl, in a grey hoodie top and jeans, lying on her back on the rocks.
Her hands seemingly raised up to her chin or neck area?
There was no one else in sight.
The Sergeant zoomed further into the image, then gasped in horror as he saw what looked like Alice's own bright-Pink phone lying right next to a gap
in the rocks behind the girl, where a yellow sweater-clad arm was emerging... grasping and tightly pulling "harder and harder" on the neck-cord of
the girl's hoodie top... strangling her... to death...
It seemed that "Spooky" Padook Lake had been well named after all...