2008 Halloween Story Contest : Showcase : Fantôme
Halloween Creative Writing Story Showcase
By Chelsea Robinson
I'm not sure what exactly my reason is for wanting to go sit at Samanden lake every time I take a drive. I just know that when I do, I feel obliged to go there and take pictures. It's a dazzling lake, especially in the month of October when the leaves fall and the wind blows them across the water. Supposedly nobody visited often because it was haunted, but its charm never kept me away. Every weekend my boyfriend and I would walk down to the lake that was somewhat near my house, and take millions of pictures.
When my family bought our house, my realtor told me the legend of the lake. I commented on its beauty and she pulled me aside while my parents explored the house. I had wondered why the house had been on market so long when the surroundings and furnishings were so appealing. Apparently the architect who lived in our house twenty years ago with his wife, a brilliant designer, were found dead by the lake, wounded and hung with rope from a small throng of trees. It was said their spirits were irritated and stayed at the lake, waiting for their next victims to meander by. Though other individuals scampered away after claiming to smell the wife's strong paint or hear the banging of the architect's hammer, the smell and sounds is what I thought would draw me back every time.
What my realtor did not tell me is that this supposed incident happened on Halloween night, also my boyfriend's least favorite holiday. Halloween night snuck up on me this year. My boyfriend and I stayed in for about an hour handing out candy to small children and mothers with their infants. I suggested taking a walk just to see how much nightlife was lurking about, and suggested we go to the lake. We came to the bridge that led across the water as a soft wind blew over my skin. My boyfriend buttoned my sweater, tucked my scarf a bit tighter, and thanked me for getting him out of the house. The bridge was usually an amiable, cheery spot to walk, but on this particular night I felt perturbed, as if a foul presence was amid us that did not want us to visit.
"Let's go get some Starbucks," I said turning around, "We can take pictures there."
"But I'm happy to be out here, babe." my boyfriend smiled.
"Why are you looking troubled? This is your favorite spot to be. You tell me all the time."
He was right. It would be dumb to have walked half way across the bridge just to leave and head to Starbucks, which was probably closed anyway.
After crossing the bridge dead leaves crunched as I held my camera tightly. A chill went down my spine and I urged my boyfriend to head back. He gave me a sigh that basically said I had wasted his time, so to make him happy I told him to stand by the bridge and I would take one picture before we left.
A gust of wind caught me off guard and I dropped my camera. It hit the ground with a small thump and began to roll down the dirt toward the lake. My intuition told me they were here. Their presence pulsed through my mind and my skin got goose bumps. I couldn't go down there. I could get a new camera. It was most likely broken anyway.
My boyfriend turned around and called to me that he was ready for his picture to be taken, not realizing I had dropped the camera. My eyes jerked with adrenaline looking around. Then the night lit up once, twice; continuously. I realized my camera was corrupted, the flash flickering and clicking as pictures were taken while it sat half broken in the leaves.
I then heard a banging noise. The smell of paint and blood filled my nose. As I looked past my boyfriend, panic stared me right in the eyes. She was there, nailed to the tree. I sprinted down to my camera, grabbed it, and sprinted away. My boyfriend didn't come back to the house; I figured he became angry and walked home.
When I uploaded the pictures the next morning I hesitated to look at them. The camera could've just been broken after the fall, and took random pictures. I was curious. I looked at the first photo. Just my boyfriend and I. The next five pictures were zoomed-in random pictures of the ground. I giggled at my stupidity as I scrolled. The last picture was distorted with vague silhouettes. The relief I had drained into a bowl of suspense. I opened the picture with my photo editor and sharpened the image as much as I could. I pushed away from the computer in horror. The picture conveyed my boyfriend, behind him the wicked husband standing in malice with his bloody hammer, wife dangling from a tree. The phone rang.
"Come over right now," I said to my boyfriend on the phone, comforted he was okay.
When he arrived I refused to look at the pictures but told him to open the folder on my desktop.
"Babe, what pictures?" he asked.
They were gone.
I moved out of my house the next day and have never gone back to Samanden lake since, though the folder is still on the desktop of my parent's computer. •
© 2008 Chelsea Robinson