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"No Place for the Dead"

Author's note: This story is one installment in a five-part anthology series involving Kelser Moor. Please enjoy.

Gill stared at the blackness above him. Another painful creak sounded from outside, ripping through his skull like a child through a birthday present. He pressed the pillow against his ears once more in a vain effort to block out the noise. Still, it echoed into the cabin, only slightly muffled by the cotton beneath his head. Something else had to be done.

With fluttering eyelids, he peeled the blanket off his torso and shuffled to the edge of the bed, not daring to take a glance through the window. Grasping around in the darkness, he found the handle of his bedside table’s drawer and yanked it open, pulling out a matchbox from the clutter inside. Striking a match against the side of the box, he scooped up a lantern from the floor and stuck in the flame, casting a brilliant orange glow across the room. The walls shifted back and forth in his hazy vision as he leant over to put on his boots.

He stood up and rubbed his temple, taking slow, heavy steps to the door. A quick glance towards the mirror on the mantel showed Gill the scruffy, stubbled face he expected, coupled with a mop of shaggy hair. He wiped the crust from his eyes with his free hand as a crack of thunder whipped through the sky outside, a flash of lightning shining through the window against the pouring rain. The storm had been raging on for quite some time now.

He slipped on his coat and pulled out his keys. The wood was cold to the touch as he grabbed the doorknob firmly, bracing himself for the unpleasant conditions. Taking one last look at his warm, comfortable mattress, he drew in a deep breath and flung the door open.

The door slammed shut behind him in the howling wind. Immediately drenched, Gill held up his lantern and squinted through the rain across the river. A thick layer of fog was floating over the water, clouding the far-off mountains ahead. His fishing boat was rocking back and forth furiously, barely held in place through the fierce winds. Taking a few steps forwards, he could just make out the shape of his net sliding back and forth on its hook. Every time the wind blew, the hook would creak as the net swung just barely above the ground. But Gill could tell there was something wrong. The net sagged more than it usually did. There was something else caught in it, something much bigger than a fish. Keeping the lantern at the end of his outstretched arm, he furrowed his brow and approached the shape, fighting against the diagonal rain.

Soon, he could make out the pale silhouette of a hand shining against the soaked wall of the cabin, illuminated in the moonlight. With a dramatic boom of thunder, a strike of lightning lit up an icy pale body tangled in the netting.

"There you go, Sam!"

Gill's face lit up in the sunlight as the fishing rod bent slightly in Samuel's grip, the water rippling as something thrashed and wriggled beneath the surface. Grabbing the reel, Samuel huffed and puffed as he leaned backwards, trying to pull the fish up towards the boat.

Suddenly, the line went slack, and Samuel sighed dejectedly as the fish swam away, disappearing out of sight.

"Aw, it's ok, son. You're getting really good at this, you know. I bet you'll reel in the next one no problem," Gill said, ruffling Sam's hair.

Leaning over to one side, Gill fished through a small chest, picking through the various metal hooks and colourful baits.

Samuel frowned slightly as he noticed a dark and murky fluid floating beside the boat. A thick fog had swept across the lake without warning, blocking out the view of the cabin. The substance slipped effortlessly between Sam's fingers as he dunked his hand into the water. It was warm, and strangely syrupy, like a splash of treacle had spilled into the lake.

A quiet gasp escaped Samuel's mouth as he came to a horrible realisation: he couldn't free his hand from the water. The fluid had completely enveloped his fingers, wrapping tightly around his wrist. He tugged lightly at first, quickly becoming more frantic as the substance's grip became tighter and tighter still.

Hearing Sam’s struggling, Gill turned his head from the baits, raising an eyebrow at his son.

Before Samuel could get a word out, he was thrust violently into the water.

Yelling incoherently, Gill scrambled over the edge of the boat. Freezing cold water washed over his entire body in a second, and Samuel's muffled screams were barely audible as he swam deeper and deeper, swiping desperately at the water, but never meeting his son's hand. The water was a suffocating black, like an oil spill, clouding Gill's eyes. Air bubbles slipped from the corners of his lips as he grimaced, slowly losing hope. One last cry could be faintly heard beneath his feet before everything went silent.

Gasping for air, Gill pushed himself back to the surface, his tears of anger washed away in the bouncing tides of the lake.

The air was thin and misty as Gill strained the oars against the water, his fish bucket empty as it rocked against the side of the boat. It was a frosty day, and his hands were pale and numb as they held the fishing rod. Again, the water was strangely thick this morning, and the surface was cloudier than it had ever been. In a spot where on previous days there had been dozens of fish, today there were none. A creeping sense of dread swept through Gill's body, intensifying as he scanned the water once more, darting his pupils across its surface.

The mist parted slightly, revealing the familiar sight of Gill’s cabin sitting peacefully among the trees. He lay down on the boat, trying to distract himself from the chilling occurrence of the night before by gazing absently at the clouds above.

Taking another good look at the cabin, he suddenly felt something off. It wasn’t the cabin specifically, more another disturbing detail that seemed to give his mind the slip. It was like looking at a spot-the-difference puzzle, knowing there’s something wrong but being unable to see it. Gill shuffled apprehensively towards the front of the boat and leaned forward, trying to make out any significant difference. Was it the porch? The storage shed?

And then he saw it. Facing towards him, a body tangled in the fishing net. The same one he had encountered last night, with even paler skin and the deadest, most empty eyes he had ever seen.

Gill stared, completely still. The roar of a dying engine snapped him back into the present. Large puffs of greyish smoke were rising over the distant hills, moving closer to the cabin with each passing second.

With a burst of dreadful realisation, Gill picked up the oars and slammed them in and out of the water furiously, the boat slowly gaining speed. Just as it hit the mud at the front of his porch, a car rolled around the dirt road leading to the cabin. It was a bright red convertible, the sunshine bouncing proudly off its smooth surface. In its driver’s seat was a young man of around 20, with a much older woman beside him.

Gill rushed towards the net, almost slipping on the watery shore as he jumped out of the boat. It was in plain view of the dirt road ahead, and the car was closing the gap quickly. Finally, he reached it, panting like a dog. With a firm grip on the slimy body, he hoisted the net upwards off the hook.

The fish spilled outwards through the gaps in the netting, leaving a trail as he waddled as fast as he could back towards the river. Behind him, there was a soft splutter of something mechanical, and the audible click of a car door opening. Two pairs of wet footsteps were approaching him.

Inhaling sharply, he threw the net as far as he could out towards the river. A mighty splash soaked his coat with a thin layer of water as the body sank down under the weight of the net, its crooked face pointing down into the murky depths.

“Excuse me?”

A high-pitched voice sounded from behind him. Turning sharply, he was met with the sight of a freckled man with light hair and a nervous smile.

“Uh, hey. My name’s Joe. We were just passing by, but our car’s decided to have some engine problems, and we’ve got an under-inflated tyre. We don’t want to bother you, but do you have a pump we can use? I think I’ll be able to fix the engine, so that’s no problem.”

A grey-haired woman with a pearled necklace was stepping slowly across the mud behind Joe, trying to keep on the grassy patches of ground. She was small and thin, with dainty feet like a ballet dancer. She looked up at Gill and winced through the sunlight.

“Come now, Joe, we don’t want to bother the man. He’s probably very busy.”

“It’s fine,” Gill mumbled.

Producing a key out of his pocket, he placed it in Joe’s palm and gestured towards the storage shed.

“Thanks. I’ll be right back, Grandma!”

“Ok, honey,” the woman replied, as Joe set out across the mud.

A faraway bird cawed out into the air, amidst the quiet rustling of the nearby trees. More clouds were blowing over from the east, edging ominously closer through the sky. The movements of the water were slow and methodical, splashing against the shoreline rhythmically. Gill wiped away the small beads of sweat that had formed on his head and swallowed, relieved.

“Must be nice to live so far out here, away from all the hustle and bustle of a city,” the woman said to him.

Gill nodded slightly and shuffled a little closer to the water.

She sniffed and glanced around the shore. There was a grave just poking out from around the corner of the cabin, with a wooden cross sticking out from the dirt. She opened her mouth as if to say something, but after a moment of thought, shook her head and closed it again. Tucked under the porch was another fishing boat, lying upside down with cracks in the hull. Again, the woman took a sharp breath, about to begin a sentence, but caught herself.

“I’m Margaret, by the way, and Joe is my grandson. He’s a good kid. A little daft, but a hard worker, too. Do you have family near here?”

Margaret spoke with an easy-going tone that was soft and slow. Gill didn’t respond.

“Not much of a talker, eh? I suppose living in isolation can do that to you. No offense, of course. I’m sure you’ve seen a fair number of interesting things ‘round these parts. My grandma told me about the waters here once,”

She smiled in that classic old-woman smile; with a knowing air and a sense of warmth.

“You stay away from the waters down by the cabin, she would tell me,” Margaret continued.

“Those waters are something more. More than what we know and what we think we know. Those ain’t natural waters, Margaret. You stay away from those waters, you hear? That’s what she’d always say. She never told me what she meant by any of it, of course. Didn't made sense to me then and doesn’t make sense to me now. Suppose it was just the ramblings of an old-timer.”

But Gill wasn’t listening. He was paying closer attention to something rising up from the water, being swept closer to the shore by the ever-moving current. A single finger was bobbing up and down on the surface, slowly revolving around and around as Margaret’s eyes widened in horror.

A deformed head with dark, empty eye sockets slithered out from the soggy netting and flopped onto the shoreline. The body’s arms and legs followed, broken and burst, attached to a battered torso rolling onto the mud, its skin peeling away to reveal decaying bone and muscle. Gill stared sorrowfully, and Margaret gagged, raising her hands up to her mouth. The netting soon followed, piling on top of the heap of flesh, soaked red with watery blood.

The pair stood deadly still for a while, taking it all in. Margaret was frozen solid, her head tilted back slightly as if she were about to pass out. Eventually, Gill forced his hand into the confines of his coat and unsheathed a thin brass pole, one he had planned on using as a replacement for his worn fishing rod. Now it would serve a different purpose.

Joe pushed rusted equipment and broken tools out of his way, scanning the shed for any signs of a pump. The room was dank and musty, and the shack's many crevices were coated with cobwebs and grime. It was quite sad in a way, seeing all this useless junk rotting away in silence, never to be used again.

A monotone ringing slowly edged its way into Joe’s ear. He sighed and took out his hearing aid, blowing on it and wiping it on his sleeve repeatedly. Still, the sound was scratchy and quiet as he put it back in. Scratching his chin, he took a final look at the room. No pump here. Just half-rotted wood and bugs.

The door creaked as Joe pushed it open. The sky outside had become even brighter, and Joe shielded his eyes before looking back at where his grandma had been standing.

Margaret was sprawled out on the ground, her head split open and her face buried downwards in the mud. Gill stood solemnly over her corpse, holding out a red-tipped rod in front of him like a sword. Joe’s mouth dropped open, and in a moment of panic, he screamed, trying not to collapse in shock.

Within a few seconds, Gill was halfway across the mud to Joe, sprinting forwards and brandishing the rod with determination in his eyes. Forcing his legs into action, Joe turned on his heel and fled rapidly into the forest along the shore, screaming and crying. Gill followed closely behind at first but was gradually losing his edge.

Dodging trees and bushes, Joe wiped away the tears pouring down his face, the rustling of dead leaves behind him a constant reminder of Gill’s presence. Gill was hot on his tracks, but eventually lost him through the dense foliage. Soon, Joe was out of sight completely.

Out of stamina, Joe ducked behind a thick-trunked tree and tried to slow his breathing. He could just make out the distant noise of Gill’s footsteps on the soil.

There was a faint crackling in Joe’s ear, followed by another monotone ring. Before he could even reach his hand up to it, the hearing aid fell out, landing in a patch of mud. Joe scooped it up and tried to brush off the dirt, but it had already seeped inside the speaker.

His heartbeat quickening, he placed it back in his ear. Gill’s footsteps were much closer now and seemed to come from all directions at once. Trying to run, Joe’s legs felt like jelly, and his throat was raw and painful. Staggering around between the trees, he fruitlessly peered through the branches.

Everything suddenly went deadly silent. The hairs on Joe’s neck pricked up, not a sound in the air. Even the trees seemed to stop swaying in the miraculously absent breeze. Joe pressed himself up against another tree, trying to make his lean frame as small as possible.

In the void of sound, something caught his eye. Like a vision, concealed by the fog on the water, far away. A shadowy being, like something from a child's nightmare. It had no eyes, no tangible sense of a body, let alone a face. But Joe could see it was looking right at him.

The air was knocked dramatically out of his body as Gill smashed into him, thrusting him down onto the soil, his head becoming half-submerged in the lake. The rod flew out of Gill's hand as they landed with a thud on the dirt. He wrapped his hands around Joe’s neck, breathing raggedly through his nostrils. Joe wheezed and spluttered, struggling against his firm grip. Icy cold water flooded his nose and ears as Gill shoved his head fully into the lake, turning his skin a pale white. Joe reached for the rod, but it was mere inches from his grip. Water splashed onto Gill’s sweaty palms. He winced and turned his head away, staring aimlessly back into the forest. Joe kicked and pushed and strained as hard as he could, but Gill kept the upper hand. It wasn’t long before his limbs turned limp and his eyes creaked closed.

Gill sat up, wiping the sweat from his forehead. The sight of Joe’s twitching corpse was almost enough to make him throw up. He swayed unevenly as he stood, examining his work with morbid curiosity. The life had drained from Joe’s eyes, and his throat was red and patchy.

Leaning against a tree, Gill picked him up with shaky hands and tossed him into the lake.

"I'm leaving, Gill."

With teary eyes, Gill stared open-mouthed at his spouse, unable to speak.

"You've torn this family apart. I can't stay here any longer." Rose too, was crying, her once sparkly eyes now watery and broken, a scowl painted on her lips.

"Rose...Rose, Please!”

"He was our son, Gill. Our fucking son,” Rose shouted, a suitcase in her hand.

"I tried to save him, Rose! I swear I tried! It wasn't my fault, I...I..."

"Then whose fault was it, Gill? Hmmm? You were a literal inch away from him, and he just slips off the boat and fucking drowns?!"

"It wasn't like that! There was something else, Rose, something in the water! I saw it down there, pulling him under. It-"

"This again! You fucking imbecile. You’re delusional. We’ve lived here for years, Gill, and today, for no apparent reason, something just drags him into the lake?”

“I know! I know how it sounds, but-”

"Shut the fuck up! Shut up, shut up, shut up! This isn't.... I just can't stay here. Not after what you did. I don’t know what the fuck I’m going to do. I have to go."

Pushing past Gill, Rose stormed out of the cabin, her hurried footsteps getting fainter and fainter as Gill slumped down onto the floor, his face in his hands.

“Step aside, sir,” the officer repeated as Gill stood in front of the cabin door, arms by his sides.

“I assure you officer, there’s nothing in there to cause alarm. I’ve told you everything I know. What’s your name, anyway?”

The sun projected shadows along the man's uniform, casting him in darkness. His face was that of a no-nonsense man, with bushy eyebrows and a pair of dark sunglasses. A neatly-combed crew-cut sat atop his head, and a well-groomed moustache lay just above his upper lip.

“It’s Daniel Winters. And if there’s nothing incriminating in there, then I’m sure you won’t have any problem with me taking a look inside.”

“This is private property. Do you have a warrant to search my residence?”

Winters took a long inhale in through his nose and held it.

“There’s two ways we can go about this, sir. I can have you detained for failure to comply, or you can let me investigate your home. Which way is it going to be?"

Gill sighed deeply and looked at the floor. He stepped to the side as Winters pushed his way in, pulling out a notebook.

Upon first glance, the room did not appear to stand out in any particular way. There was a queen-sized bed sat at the very end of the cabin, with a wooden desk pushed up against the wall on the right. A small painting of a serene landscape was hung near a bulletin board with photographs pinned down with unused fishing hooks. The only slightly abnormal feature was an oddly absent space in the corner of the room, with no furniture.

“Tell me again how you saw the woman and the boy?” Winters asked, beginning to jot things down.

“It was mid-afternoon. I was hanging up a fresh net on the hook outside. They pulled over and asked me for a pump for one of their tyres, which I gave them. I helped the boy pump their tyre up and waved them away. That’s it,” Gill reluctantly shared once more.

"And did they take the pump with them?"

"No, it' the shed."

“Who’s this?” Winters questioned, jabbing an accusing finger at a small child in one of the pictures. The boy was sitting on a fishing boat with Gill, smiling warmly at the camera while Gill held up a sizeable fish in his arms.

“That’s…my son,” Gill replied, a little hesitant.

Winters scribbled down a quick note.

“And where is he now?”

Gill leaned back against the wall and gave Winters a blank look, one which seemed to mask a deep sadness.

“I see. Who took the picture?”

“My wife. She’s gone, too.”


Winters stepped over to the desk. Pencil drawings were littered everywhere, some spilling onto the floor. He sniffed and picked up a couple in his rough hands. One was a panoramic view of a peaceful lake, but with an odd scribble on the water in the distance. The other was seemingly a zoomed-in illustration of the scribble, which took form as a dark figure half-submerged in the lake, its body large and rugged.

With a worried glance at Gill, Winters put the pictures down.

“Well, I'll tell you the good news: there’s nothing here to suggest you committed any crime. I suppose I’ll be leaving, right after I take a look at that pump. Don’t give me a reason to come back here.”

Just as the officer started walking back to the door, a mighty splash rang out from outside. Gill tensed up as Winters froze, his hand on the pistol by his side.

“The fuck…?” he mumbled quietly.

Creaking open the front door, the officer peeked around the corner of the cabin.

Drenched in water, with patches of rust adorning its body, a bright red convertible had rolled onto the shoreline. Its tires were little more than wet scraps of rubber, and shards of broken glass were scattered along the water-logged seating. The front bumper was hanging off the hood, the hood broken and exposing an upturned engine lying inside.

There was a sharp thud as Gill brought down his lantern onto Winter’s skull.

An intense throbbing pain coursed through Winter’s head as he gradually faded back into consciousness. It was dark now, and the trees were shadowy and motionless in the lake’s reflection. Tilting his head down, he saw ropes tied around his body, pinning him to the edge of Gill’s porch. Gill was sat down a few metres away with the lantern by his sides, his head in his hands, a pistol on the ground next to him.

“M...motherfucker,” Winters spoke up.

Gill kept his eyes to the ground.

“Get it over with, you prick. Shoot me, already,”

He stayed completely still.

“What’s the matter with you, huh? Huh? Do it! Fucking shoot me!”

Winters thrashed around fiercely, veins bulging from his temples. Through gritted teeth, he flailed his bloodied head back and forth, trying to loosen himself from the ropes.

Removing his hands, Gill tried to force himself to look at Winters. His eyes were watery, his face numb with regret.

“Do you see it?” He finally spoke with a shaky voice. He pointed across the lake, gesturing to a cloud of fog looming in the distance, floating on the surface of the water.

“Over there. In the fog. You saw the drawings, didn’t you? That thing. It took my son, Daniel. It took my fucking son.”

Gill ran his hands through his hair, as beads of sweat began to drip down his forehead.

“We were out fishing and…and…it sucked him under the surface. Kept him there until he drowned. Rose blamed me. Said it was my fault.”

Winters sat still with his mouth hanging open slightly. He tried to formulate some kind of sentence but was too dumbfounded to think properly.

“I couldn’t save him. I tried. I swear I tried. She wouldn’t believe me. How…how could she think that? How could she think I would just let him die? It wasn’t my fault, Daniel. It wasn’t my fucking fault!”

Gill stood up, his fists clenched by his sides.

“The grave by the cabin…it’s…it’s fucking empty. I dug it for Sam. When I found him in the net. I thought…I thought it was giving him back to me. I thought it was letting him find peace. But no. It stole him from me again. Only to wash him back up, broken and...and...deformed, hanging upside-down in my own fucking fishing net. It made me a murderer, officer. A murderer.”

Gill’s breathing was rapid. He paced back and forth, the pistol hanging loosely in his palm.

“I have...I have to get away from this place. I have to find Rose. You…can’t know. I’m sorry.”

Gill raised the pistol, aiming it directly at Winter’s head.

“Could you…could you just…close your eyes for me…?” Gill spoke softly, a single tear rolling down his face.

Winters was speechless. He stared aimlessly at his restraints, then the water once again. Eventually, he rolled his eyes shut, flinching in anticipation.

Gill covered his face with his other hand as he fired the gun. Winter’s limp body flopped onto the mud, a bloody hole in his forehead.

There was a firm knocking at the door. Gill sat still, his back pressed against the cabin wall. He gazed aimlessly out of the window, not moving a muscle.

“Gill? Gill, it’s me. It’s Rose.”

Gill blinked slowly, caught in a daydream.

The door creaked open gradually as Rose stepped into the room. She glanced silently at the husk of what was once her lover, empty as he sat unmoving still, his eyes wandering across the wall.

Taking a few strides around the room, Rose felt her eyes welling up once more as she examined the damage. The floor was scattered with broken wood and torn paper. Gill’s hands were bloody and splintered, and as pale as the moonlight. The bed had been torn apart, with claw marks on the sheets like those left by hungry wolves. Ripped photographs and drawings caked Gill’s desk. Rose recognised a few as she tried to piece them together again.

“I’ve killed people, Rose.”

Turning to face him, Rose stuttered repeatedly, stiffened with sadness.

“I’ve killed a young man and his grandmother. I’ve killed a police officer.”

Rose crouched down next to him, placing her hands on his face. Still, he could not bare to look at her.

“This is my fault. You’re not well. You can’t be. I had no idea any of this would happen.”

“There’s something out there, Rose. It took our son, and now it’s controlling me. It’s making me do these things. I haven’t slept in days. All I see when I close my eyes is the smile of that poor kid, and the old lady’s face buried in the mud.”

“Come with me, Gill. We’ll fix things. We’ll make everything right again.”

“We can’t bring back Samuel.”

Rose stood up, turning away from him. She sobbed quietly, trying in vain to mask her tears.

“You have to leave, Rose. I’ve been having…visions. You have to leave and never come back. This place is cursed. I’m too far gone. You’ll die if you stay here.”

“I’m not gonna leave you here to just rot away, Gill. You’re going to come with me, and you’re going to get better.”

“Leave!” He yelled, shooting up from the bed.

The light from the window slowly faded away as Gill felt something wicked grip his soul. Rose’s body slipped into the darkness, leaving him alone once more. The walls stretched upwards infinitely, transforming into great sheets of black. He pushed himself into the bed, wanting to scream, yet not being able to push any noise out from his mouth. Joe’s drowning cries echoed in his head. A cloud of suffocating darkness bled through the floorboards, hovering above him like a gloomy raincloud. Gill smashed his head against his fist. Picking up his splintered bedpost, he swung franticly at the cloud, trying to ward it away. Joe’s dying screams began to blend into those of a more female host.

Without warning, it all cut away. Gill collapsed in exhaustion, feeling something wet on his face as he lay down on the floor. The darkness had vanished, and he slowly managed to regain control of his body as he pushed himself upwards, his eyes blurry and stinging. Wiping away the sweat from his brow, his legs wobbled. He wiped the liquid off his cheek and stared at its reddish hue.

Rose’s battered body was slumped against the wall, large dents in her skull. Her eyeball had popped out of its socket, it now lying on the other side of the room. The bedpost was caked in an excessive amount of red, sticking out of the shattered window. Broken glass littered the floor, slicing into Gill’s naked feet. Gill approached the carcass of his wife, caressing her bloodied cheeks as tears poured down his face.

Sitting up with a frightened gasp, Gill found himself once again in bed. Hadn’t he just been awake?

Did Winters exist? Did Margaret and Joe exist? Was it all a bad dream?

“What’s wrong, honey?” a silky-smooth voice suddenly spoke up from beside him. He reached for the lantern, only for it to flicker on all by itself, instantly illuminating the room.

Rose was laying by his side. Her long, flowing hair poured down her arms and shoulders sexily, a glint in her seductive, green eyes. With lips pointed upwards into a warm smile, her hand touched Gill’s shoulder. Gill instantly felt a thousand times lighter. Just staring at her smooth complexion made his heart flitter.

His smile began to fade as he realised Rose was crumbling into dust. Her skin was turning an ashy grey, and large chunks of what was once flesh were now collapsing and breaking apart. Weeping, Gill reached out to stroke her face, only for her head to drop onto the floor and shatter instantly.

Rose was gone, reduced to a pile of powder. Saddened, he threw away the covers and dropped to his knees onto the floor. A bright red light was suddenly cast through the blinds.

Peeking out through the window, Gill felt an overwhelming feeling of joy. The fog on the water had lifted, and he could finally see the sheer beauty of the creature in the distance.

And oh, was it beautiful. A sudden realisation washed over Gill; he didn’t need Rose. All he wanted, no, all he ever needed from now on was to be with the being, to be a part of it forever.

Gill suddenly found himself outside. His face was twisted into an expression of pure ecstasy. The sky was a piercing red, and he could feel himself being beckoned towards the lake. Staring into the water, his reflection spun and shimmered into three other faces: Margaret, Joe, and Winters. They too had bright, beaming smiles written across their faces, and one-by-one, whispers escaped their mouths, drawing Gill closer and closer with each passing moment.

“Dad?” a small voice perked up below him.

It was Sam. Gill’s eyes welled up with happiness as he embraced his child, inching deeper and deeper into the lake.

“Daddy’s here, Samuel. Daddy’s here.” he whispered softly, stroking Sam’s blonde hair.

The water passed over Gill’s head, submerging him entirely.

“Alright, let’s get to work,” said Alison as she shut the car door.

“I hope we don’t find anything too grisly,” Jack spoke as they walked to the cabin.

The lake was a beautiful sight in the early-morning sun. Orange waves of light were cast over it, with no fog or mist to obstruct the view.

“Don’t worry about it. We never usually find anything when looking for a missing officer.” Alison reassured sarcastically.

Jack scoffed.

“That’s not exactly comforting.”

Alison chuckled slightly as they approached the cabin. She went around the back, while Jack approached something on the porch.

“Nothing particularly interesting back here, Jack. You see anything?” She shouted around the front.

No answer.

“Jack?” Alison repeated, turning the corner.

Jack was wide-eyed, staring dead ahead. Moving in for a closer look, Alison gasped loudly.

Caught in the fishing net, with water still dripping solemnly from his soaked, lifeless body, was Gill.

Tales of Kelser Moor

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Written by Cornconic
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