Monday, 31 August 2009

MULTIPLY The Horror of it All Challenge #5: The Monster of the Lake

The clear full moon reflected on the house and the lake. The crickets were chirping in the long grass, but there was another noise. A dark figure moved from the house towards the Lake. It stepped into the lake making ripples in the water and seemed to be dragging something causing a squelching noise. The crickets were suddenly silent and all could be heard was the water lapping around the dark shape.


Lily Jenkins had a lot of patience and understanding for her offspring, but now the cup was full. She got used to her son Giles, aged 17, bringing home tadpoles to watch them develop into frogs. After all he was the clever one of the family and she knew he would go a long way. His school was pleased with him and they told Lily that he would definitely be successful in qualifying for the university. He was the born biology expert they said.

Lily was so proud, but she also had a daughter, Barbara, who had decided to change her name and told people to call her Blood. A strange name you might think, but Barbara, or Blood, had decided to become a Goth. You do not know what a Goth is. If you saw Blood you would know. Pierced ears were ok thought her mother. Lily had also had her ears pierced when she was a girl, but it stayed with her ears. Blood had her nose pierced, her eyebrow and the latest her lower lip. Now Lily was becoming quite disturbed. She was used to her daughter wearing black, as a young lady Lily always wore a black dress when she went to a dance, it looked smart and grown up. Blood even had black pyjamas, not really pyjamas, a long gown tied with a deep red curtain sash at the waist. During the day the venue was long black leather boots, a short silk black dress with chains hanging from the material and of course the make-up was also matched. Black painted finger nails and black lipstick. It was perhaps when Blood brought her boyfriend home that Lily’s last nerve was torn. Devil (actually his name was Donald) had a tattoo on the back of his hand. The letters were in black, of course, saying Hell’s Fire, and the background was red flames. Lily also did not like the two eyes tattooed on the back of his neck, they were red. So Lily decided a change of scenery would be the best for her family and it would be good for Giles who could do some learning for his university entrance examinations. The summer holidays were starting in a few weeks and Lily had managed to find a reasonable house to let, in the flat lands, many miles north of the town where she lived.

She was glad the price was reasonable. Although her divorced husband Charlie always paid regularly, Lily liked to be careful with the money. You never knew when Charlie’s new money grabbing wife might make off with his money and then she would have nothing. Blood, also known as Barbara, was not very happy about going away for the summer holidays. She would have preferred a camping holiday with Donald, but this time Lily was adamant.

“No, Barbara, we are going to the flat lands. We even have a boat in the house and it is near to a Lake.”

“But mum, that sucks. Isolated somewhere in the wilds, I bet there is not even a MacDonald’s near bye.”

“I think it’s a good idea mum” said Giles. “Think of the wild life that will be surrounding us. I am sure there will be a few species that I have never been able to observe on the Lake.”

And that was the reaction of the children. Eventually the day came and Blood said goodbye to Devil. They even bought a set of handcuffs and cut them in half. Devil keeping one half around his wrist and Blood the other. Although Lily thought this strange, she supposed it could even be a sort of affection the two had for each other. Blood did look a bit sad when they left and the tear drops even made her black make-up run on her cheeks. Giles was quite happy to go and made a perfect contrast to Blood with his neat white shirt and clean blue jeans.

After a six hour drive the family Jenkins arrived at their holiday home. Lily was thrilled, the house looked so neat and the Lake was just at the bottom of the garden. She had read in the description that there was even an old well down in the cellar and that the kitchen was fully equipped with the most modern gadgets. Lily turned the key in the door and entered.

“Nice place mum” said Giles, “plenty of space and very clean.”

Yes this was true, although Barbara/Blood found it was not her style.

“Hey mum, this place really sucks. Look at the curtains, all flowery and pink.”

Then suddenly Barbara stopped in her tracks.

“Now this looks great mum, real cool, just look. I think I am going to like this place after all.”

When Barbara liked something you could be sure that Lily would not and this was the case.

“What is it Barbara?”

“In the corner of the kitchen there is a trap door, probably leads to the cellar where the well is.”

“Yes, that’s true Barbara, so what is so cool as you say?”

“The trail from the trap door of course; sort of a green slimy path: at last a bit of life in the place.”

Lily looked closer and was not very pleased.

“No Barbara, that is not cool, just dirty. I will mop it up straight away. Go to the cupboard in the kitchen and bring me a mop and pail of water.”

“But mum, I might break my finger nails.”

“Don’t worry Babs,” said Giles, “I will get it for you mum.”

And Lily scrubbed the floor until the green stain disappeared. It was quite a large stain stretching from the trap door to the kitchen door that led into the garden. When she was finished, Lily decided to have a closer look at the well below the trap door in the cellar and the children went with her. They were confronted by an open well. Giles threw a stone into the well and it was some time until they heard a splash at the bottom.

“Hey mum, that is really deep, I wouldn’t like to fall in that one.”

“Barbara, Giles, I would just like to say that you keep away from that well. It really does not look so safe to me.” And so the family Jenkins unpacked their luggage and made themselves comfortable in the house.

After their long journey they were all feeling tired and so retired quite early to bed. The next morning there was a rude awakening when Lily dropped a plate on the stone floor of the kitchen. The children rushed down to the kitchen to see what had happened.

“Just look at that mum, real cool” said Barbara

and the long green slime trail stretched once again from the entrance to the well to the kitchen door.

“I wonder ... you know mum, I thought I heard some sort of dragging noise last night before I went off to sleep.”

“Come to think of it Giles, so did I” answered Barbara.

Lily cleaned away the slime trail once again, but the next morning it was there again, although not so much it seemed. The slime only reached the middle of the kitchen and then it stopped. There were just muddy footprints leading from the end of the slime to the kitchen door. This picture repeated itself for the first week, the slime trail getting smaller all the time, the footprints also slowly disappearing until it stopped completely at the end of the week.

Lily was just a little bit worried about this whole thing, but was sure there was an explanation somewhere. The house being built on damp ground it was probably sinking a bit and these things could happen.

Giles was sure there was a scientific explanation and Barbara/Blood was thrilled. At least there was a bit of excitement in the place. At the end of the week Lily had to go shopping in the near bye village and the children were alone at home.

“Giles, I heard that dragging noise again last night.”

“So did I Barbara, although it didn’t sound as squelchy as at the beginning.”

“I know what you mean Giles. You know what tonight I am going to creep down to the kitchen and see what it is.”

“I will come as well Barbara, you never know. What time shall we meet.”

“Giles, midnight of course. If anything is going to happen it will be midnight.”

And so the brother and sister met at midnight in the kitchen. It was then that they saw the trap door to the well lift slowly and a dark figure climbed out dragging something behind it. Giles was getting ready to run for it, but Barbara pulled him back.

“Oh no, brother heart, we are in this together. Now we will follow the figure.”

It was a full moonlit night and Giles and Barabara followed the dark figure out of the kitchen door into the garden. The figure plodded on and when it reached the lake it disappeared into the waters with a groan.

“What do we do now Barabara?” asked Giles.

“Nothing of course, unless you want to go for a swim. I would say we don’t tell mum anything but tomorrow evening, same place, and same time.”

“But what is it Barbara?”

“I don’t know you’re the brainy one in the family, but I am sure it would be a hit in our Goth club.”

The next evening they met again and the figure reappeared. Giles and Barbara followed it and just before it sank into the Lake it turned on them both and let out a cry. Not very loud, but it was more like a disappointed sob.

“I think it’s crying Giles” said Barbara.

“I am not sure Barbara, it hasn’t got any eyes, looks like a skull to me with a few remnants of flesh.”

“Hey monster, why are you so sad?” Barbara asked, without any fear. It seemed that after a time of being a Goth, I suppose you do get a little immune to shocking figures.

“I am the monster of the Lake and live in the well and I haunt this house. I scare people. I give them nightmares, and now, now ........ What have you done with my green slime trail, I have run out of slime. Even my feet are no longer making prints on the kitchen floor. Oh, woe is me. I have no purpose anymore in my existence. Other spirits are laughing at me.”

“But monsters do not exist” said Giles. “There must be a reason for your appearance every night.”

“Of course there is. I owned the ground on which this house was built. There was another house here many years ago and we got our water from the well. One evening I was returning from the inn, having drunk many measures of mead of course, and I fell in the well with my cat. We were never found and now it is my destiny to walk from the well to the lake every evening and scare all living humans. And what is that at your side. What sort of monster is accompanying you with holes in the ears, eyes and mouth and metal hanging down on the clothes, clanking with ghostly noises. ”

“Hello monster, I like to be called Blood, but my brother always calls me Barbara. I am a Goth. Hey I find you real cool, you would be a hit in our Goth club. What about joining Mr. Monster. What is that you drag with you when you take your evening walk? Looks like a bundle of fur.”

“Oh monster human, that is my cat Black Knight. He fell into the well with me and I am doomed to take him whereever I go.”

“That’s an interesting bone you have with you. Looks like a leg bone. Do you always carry that?”

“Human, on that memorable evening my last meal was roast beef, and this bone was the remainder of my meal.”

“So what are we going to do with you monster. You have no slime any more, and if I know our mum, she will not rest until everything here is spotlessly clean and she will probably decide to put a lid on the well. She is already complaining that it is unhygienic.”

“I am tired of walking from the well to the lake every evening and so is my cat. I have a wish. Let the well in the kitchen be cleaned and the remains of myself and my cat be found, to bury us on sacred ground. I am tired of walking every evening and it would be so good for me to at last lay at rest.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to come to our Goth club monster.”

“You know human child, being a monster is not always fun. It is tiring.”

So what did Giles and Barbara do? The well was cleaned and explored and yes, the bones of the “monster” and his cat were found and laid to rest at the local cemetery. Barbara was no longer Blood, but became Barbara again. She decided that being a Goth was not as interesting as she first thought. She discarded her piercings and dressed like any normal teenager. She even returned her half of the handcuffs to Devil. And Giles: he passed the entrance examination to university and eventually finished his studies, choosing the occupation of a pathologist.

Lily was proud to have two such good children, even if she did have her doubts. Oh and yes, she enjoyed the holiday so much that she decided to go back the following years. Barbara and Giles always stayed with her for a few days, not forgetting to bring some flowers to a certain grave at the cemetery.

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