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Still Waters


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#1    theSOURCE

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 03:38 AM

Still Waters

The day had not been kind to the poor old fisherman. What had started out as a pleasant morning would soon change into a cold and rainy early afternoon. A strong wind began to blow, churning the otherwise still waters of the lake into rough waves that rocked and tossed his small boat as though it were but a fragment of driftwood.

Neither, it seemed, was the lake willing to give up a single inhabitant dwelling beneath it's surface. Without so much as a nibble on his line, the old fisherman had sustained himself throughout the day with a half loaf of bread and bits of hard, stale cheese.

As the afternoon wore on and the rough weather began to subside, the old fisherman grew hopeful that his luck would soon change and he would be able to catch enough fish to last him for at least one more day.

Eventually, the sky cleared and the waters were once again calm, and this caused the old man's mind to drift back to happier times.

He could see himself as a young man standing on the shore with his beloved wife Ines by his side. She would regale him with tales of legends and folklore that had surrounded the lake for generations. With almost childlike awe, she would describe beautiful spirits who watched over the waters and fearful monsters that lurked in the darkness below. In his mind, he would scoff at such silly superstitions, but because of the joy and wonder he saw in his young wife's eyes as she spoke, he did not have it in his heart to spoil her fanciful dreams and beliefs with harsh skepticism.

Back then, the world seemed to be much kinder to them and the village that had once stood beside the lake. Fish were always in abundance, and everyone was always willing to help one another with whatever problem would arise. As long as there was a way, no one would have to go without.

Inevitably, as had happened so many times before, the old fisherman's daydream wondered into the dark, painful corners of his mind; the place in his soul that had been cruelly ripped out by tragedy.

Though decades had passed, he could still picture that terrible night as clearly as though it had been etched into his eyes.

A bad storm had begun to approach from the south. Everyone was scrambling frantically through the village securing anything that might be damaged by strong winds. Nets and gear were locked into storage huts, and windows were sealed tightly shut.

Before long, the village was being pummeled mercilessly by strong gusts and a heavy downpour.

Inside their small, meager cottage, the fisherman comforted his wife as they warmed themselves by their wood burning stove. He held her tightly in his arms and reassured her that the storm would soon pass, and the following day would once again be calm and sunny.

Then would come that fateful knock that would change their lives forever.

The fisherman rushed to the front door and unbolted it; allowing his distraught neighbor to enter. His speech was nearly incoherent as he pleaded for help. Somehow, his young daughter had managed to unlock the door, gone out into the rain and gotten herself lost.

The fisherman quickly grabbed his coat and prepared to help his neighbor search for the lost child. As Ines reached for her own coat, he turned and told her to remain inside. She insisted that the more people who went looking for the child, the sooner she would be found. But the fisherman had remained adamant, until she grudgingly gave in to his wishes.

Outside, more than half of the village was out searching for the lost child in the frightful storm. The wind was thrashing the trees, hurtling broken branches at the harried searchers. Lightning bolts streaked from the sky, rattling the country side with terrifying explosions of thunder.

Then, to everyone's relief, a voice announced that the girl had been found, frightened but unharmed. Relieved, the fisherman quickly began to make his way back to his abode. It didn't matter if Ines was upset with him for making her remain behind, all he wanted to do was be with her again.

He was but a few steps away from the front door when a blinding lightning bolt struck the large tree next to the cottage. The tree toppled over, crushing the small wooden building beneath it's massive weight. In horror, the fisherman began to dig through the splintered debris that was once his home, searching for his beloved Ines.

His heart shattered into a million jagged pieces when he came across her broken, lifeless body.

The village was never the same after that night. Though the fisherman never really knew why, everyone slowly became cold and indifferent towards one another. The fish were no longer as plentiful as they'd once been, and eventually people started leaving the village in search of a new life elsewhere.

In time, the fisherman found himself all alone. Despite the ever increasing difficulty to survive, he could never bring himself to leave his once idyllic setting. Nor could he leave his wife's final resting place, where he would sit beside her grave and long to see the wonder in her eyes once more.

Returning from his painful reverie, the old fisherman leaned forward, and with a grunt, reached for his water pouch. No sooner had he done so, when he noticed a tug on the line. Quickly grabbing the pole, he began expertly working the reel, confident that he would later be enjoying a fine supper.

When it became apparent that his catch wasn't putting up much of a fight, he began to wonder if he would be eating any supper at all.

Unexpectedly, the line began to unspool wildly from the reel. The old fisherman struggle to maintain a solid grip, but despite his best efforts, the pole was violently yanked from his hands.

With sudden rage, he stood up in his small boat and began cursing the waters. He yelled out every profanity he could think of, and even blamed the lake for the loss of his wife and his village.

When he was finally spent from his outburst, the old man dropped to his knees inside the boat and bowed his head deeply. Though his heart was pounding in his chest, he could feel his will to live slowly ebbing from his very being. He had grown tired of living with nothing but memories to keep him company. Having long since accepted that he would never see his beloved wife again, he now began to wonder if he should simply lie down and let the darkness free him from his terrible loneliness.

Lost in his despair, he had not noticed the growing disturbance in the otherwise calm waters. It wasn't until the small boat began rocking side to side that he finally raised his head and looked about. Just over ten yards away on the port side, he saw the water beginning to bubble and churn, as though something large was headed towards the surface. Quietly he stared, wondering what sort of creature could be disturbing the water in such a manner.

Then, to his horror, an enormous, hideous head supported by a thick serpentine neck erupted from the depths in a spray of foaming water. The old fisherman held on tightly as his boat was thrashed about by the sudden wake; his gaze inexorably locked onto the terrifying beast.

After letting out a thunderous roar, the giant serpent then plunged back below the surface. The long scaly body trailing behind the head held the old fisherman transfix as it seemingly took forever before finally disappearing beneath the waves. Several moments passed by as he struggled to make sense of what he'd just witnessed. He had lived his entire life on the shores of the lake, and had rowed over it's surface since he was a young boy, yet he had never seen anything like the foul abomination that had just appeared before him.

Regaining his senses, he picked up an oar and quietly scanned the waters for any sign of disturbance. Before long, he spotted the water beginning to bubble as before, only this time just a few feet from the boat.

Once again, the huge serpent burst forth from the water, knocking the old fisherman on his side. This time, instead of diving back into the depths, the scaly beast began to approach the small boat. The old fisherman climbed back to his knees and bravely brandished the oar at reptilian horror. As though contemplating the small human before it, the serpent paused and slowly lowered it's huge head closer to the boat.

Then, with an deafening roar, it lunged.

Swinging the oar with all his strength, the old fisherman struck the beast squarely in the jaw, managing to break off two of it's long sharp teeth. With a piteous howl, the beast plunged back into the water.

Cautiously, the old fisherman searched the water for any sign of the monster. He knew that he had merely angered it, and that it would more than likely be returning soon. From the speed at which he had seen it depart he knew that he would never be able to row the distance to shore before it would overtake him. He reasoned that the best he could do would be to fight it off or become it's meal.

Patiently, he watched and waited. Though the waters remained still, he would observe the tiniest ripples for any indication that the beast was near.

Despite his careful vigilance, however, he was caught off guard as the huge serpent shot up directly beneath his boat. He was thrown into the water as the beast clamped it's frightening jaws around the small craft. Just as he resurfaced, he saw his precious boat being snapped in two by the monstrous creature.

Left with one final option, the old fisherman withdrew his knife and held it tightly as the serpent began to draw closer. When it was but a few feet away, the scaly beast raised it's huge head above the water and opened it's ungodly mouth widely, as though it intended to swallow it's prey with a single bite. As the old fisherman prepared himself to meet his horrific demise, he was surprised to hear a haunting sound suddenly coming from everywhere and no where at once.

At first, the sound was that of a lovely woman's voice singing some enchanting siren song. Struggling to keep his eyes focused on the scaly death hovering over head, the old fisherman could not help but be enchanted by the angelic voice. Though he could not understand the words, he was certain that he had heard them somewhere before - somewhere long ago.

Realizing he had been distracted, the old fisherman pointed his knife towards the beast once more. But after watching for several moments, he became aware that the huge serpent had somehow become frozen in place. It did not even bob in the water, but rather, look as though it was being held by some miraculous force.

Almost immediately, the voice began to grow louder. Soon, what was once a gentle song had now become an unbearable cacophony of sound. As though transformed into glass, the skin of the great serpent began to crack and fall away into the water. With one final ear shattering sound, the beast exploded, sending huge chunks of it's body in all directions.

One of the chunks struck the old fisherman on the head, and as he began to lose consciousness, his body slowly sank beneath waves. Looking upward as his eyesight dimmed, he caught a glimpse of a beautiful vision.

She was surrounded by a dazzling white light. Her long gown flowed gently in the breeze, and seemed to magically reflect all the colors of the sky and the green forest on the far side of the lake. The expression on her beautiful face was tranquil and she seemed to be smiling at him.

Then, at the last moment, just before the darkness enveloped him, he realized where he had heard her song before, and more importantly, he knew the meaning of the words.

The following day brought a bright and beautiful morning. The birds sang cheerfully in the trees and the forest somehow seemed to be more alive than it had been for many years.

Down by the lake, a lone figure stirred at the water's edge. After a few short moments, the old fisherman slowly opened his eyes and looked up at the clear skies above. With a slight struggle, he managed to climb to his feet, and as he did so, he felt a sharp pain in his forehead. He touched his scalp and noticed a patch of dried blood.

Glancing down the shoreline he quickly spotted his small boat sitting half way out of the water.

Though it was fortunate that his boat was still intact, the old fisherman felt a touch disheartened. Even though he had no recollection of returning to shore, it saddened him to think his valiant struggle with the monstrous serpent and the beautiful apparition who had come to his rescue had all just been a dream; probably brought on by a blow to the head as he stumbled in the dark.

With a sigh, he started towards his boat, while contemplating another long day of fishing on the lake.

To his amazement, he discovered his small boat was filled to the edges with large, fresh fish. He knew that he could never have hauled such a bountiful catch to shore by himself.

Then, something else caught his eye amongst all the fish. Reaching into the boat, he withdrew a large green scale, and immediately recognized it as belonging to the terrible serpent that had nearly taken his life.

As he stared in awe, the scale transformed into a colorful shell, and in the very center appeared the face of his beloved Ines; her beautiful eyes sparking with wonder like he'd always remembered them.

A single tear ran down his grizzled, weather worn face as he held the shell close to his heart. With a gentle smile, he then turned towards the lake and gave thanks to the beautiful still waters.



Copyright 2010 Victor Ward




#2    Still Waters

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 11:50 AM

Well the title sure caught my attention!  :D

This is a really good story, I enjoyed reading it very much. It's very touching in parts and I was hoping it would end well for the fisherman. I love the ending, nice one  :)

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#3    theSOURCE

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 06:39 PM

View PostStill Waters, on 26 April 2010 - 11:50 AM, said:

Well the title sure caught my attention!  Posted Image

This is a really good story, I enjoyed reading it very much. It's very touching in parts and I was hoping it would end well for the fisherman. I love the ending, nice one  Posted Image
Thanks SW. I thought you might find the title familiar. Posted Image  

I was hoping you'd like this one. It initially started out as a poem, but the more I wrote, the more I knew I'd have to make it into an actual story.

It was a little rushed and I can spot several clumsy sentences the need to be re-written.

Also, if there's any loose ends that you've noticed, let me know and I'll resolve them. Posted Image




#4    Still Waters

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 08:09 PM

View PostKroe, on 26 April 2010 - 06:39 PM, said:

Thanks SW. I thought you might find the title familiar. Posted Image  

I was hoping you'd like this one. It initially started out as a poem, but the more I wrote, the more I knew I'd have to make it into an actual story.

It was a little rushed and I can spot several clumsy sentences the need to be re-written.

Also, if there's any loose ends that you've noticed, let me know and I'll resolve them. Posted Image
I've just read your story through for the second time and enjoyed it just as much as I did when I read it this morning. In fact it was the first thing I noticed when I got here.....the title grabbed my attention somewhat  :lol:

Your poem turned into a very compelling story and looks absolutely fine to me  :tu:

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#5    Set the Fallen

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 02:42 AM

It reminds me somewhat of the way Lovecraft write, meaning I think it's good.  :yes:


#6    theSOURCE

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 02:44 PM

View PostSet the Fallen, on 27 April 2010 - 02:42 AM, said:

It reminds me somewhat of the way Lovecraft write, meaning I think it's good.  Posted Image
Thank you Set. Lovecraft is definitely one of my inspirations. Posted Image




#7    Voyager10

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:52 AM

I like the story Kroe, I didn't find the ending to be so sad, the visuals suggest maybe some more optimistic? Nice work  :yes:

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#8    theSOURCE

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 04:54 PM

View PostVoyager10, on 28 April 2010 - 02:52 AM, said:

I like the story Kroe, I didn't find the ending to be so sad, the visuals suggest maybe some more optimistic? Nice work  Posted Image
Thanks V10. Posted Image  

From the beginning I felt this story should have an upbeat ending.




#9    Ashotep

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 12:00 AM

Wonderful ending.


#10    MedicTJ

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:00 AM

View PostStill Waters, on 26 April 2010 - 11:50 AM, said:

Well the title sure caught my attention!  :D

This is a really good story, I enjoyed reading it very much. It's very touching in parts and I was hoping it would end well for the fisherman. I love the ending, nice one  :)

It was an awesome story.  Great read!  But it pulled me in right away because I initially thought....."Uh oh.....this is either gonna be something really cool.....or she's getting called out."  LOL!

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#11    onereaderone

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 11:50 AM

well  done ...  i  liked  it





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