They came from the lake.
They called it to join them in the lake.
It was a Wednesday and the sky was low and purple, constricting in on the town.
Bradenville’s a strange place where people keep to themselves and memories quickly fall to vague. See, it’s almost as if the town itself benefits from the forgetting, and so causes it. By now most of the people here have forgot the night that the sky was curving the wrong direction; curving inwards towards us. The night the sky cracked open and the thing came forth from it. They’ve forgotten it and it’s only been a week.
The forgetting that happens here doesn’t happen to everyone in all cases. Some people remember quite a bit that probably they should have forgotten. There’s a number of us, myself included, who remember all of the bits and pieces. In Bradenville, if you’re not amongst the forgetful, you’re certainly amongst the strange. I guess that places me amongst the strange and what I saw last Wednesday night was not even the strangest thing, but it was certainly up there.
Abundant lightning painted the sky in hues of blue and violet and white. It was far off in the distance and something about it didn’t seem right…there was not a sound to be heard. No thunder. No wind. No rain. Just a strange quiet light show in the sky. I climbed up to the roof from the attic window, my telescope and stand slung over my shoulder from its strap. I needed a better look, and the best place to find it was at the peak of the tresses, from my home’s highest gable nearly 30 feet up from the ground.
I pointed my telescope in the direction of the disturbance. A dozen cloaked figures were slowly emerging from the depths of the lake. Most of them were draped generously in kelp and weeds that grew on the bottom. As they emerged in the sands of the shores, they raised their dripping faces and waterlogged hands to the heavens. Thankfully I was not close enough to hear the words of their unified chanting; I fear that any who may have heard would have become enthralled and compelled to join, even without knowing the correct words, and not of their own accord.
As they chanted and raised their hands higher, their feet were lifted from the ground and their dangling robes blew against them violently, though on that night there was no wind to be felt.
As they were lifted, the sky above them pulled downward with some unseen, impossible weight towards the dark water of the lake. A convex anomaly, perfectly round like the lens of a giant eye.
Lightning continued to finger its way slower than it should have moved above them. My home is not far off from the lake. Were there thunder, I should have heard, yet the night was eerily silent, lacking even the sounds of the frogs and crickets.
With a sudden tremor that rumbled in silence through the town, there was a great blinding light from this strange bubble appearing from space over the waters. It shone like a spotlight through the sky, through a hole, newly pierced, as though from the other side of the lens. Initially it focused it’s aperture on the center, the piercing hole creating a perfect round shaft of light reaching down. Along that pierce the fault began to slowly crack, inching its way as it progressed along the curvature of the atmosphere before finally cracking in two. Like a great, quiet egg. The sky surrounding the bulge was black. The bulge itself was black; these lines that severed the crack through reality to another place we’re blinding white.
The tentacles appeared one at a time. First one, then two… a dozen… a hundred… a thousand. They reached through from the white space on the opposite side, gripping the sides of the black lens of the sky on this, on our side, pulling itself forward and through, until the whole of it emerged on our plane. From that reality to ours.
Once the beast was wholly through the crack it propelled itself down into the water, forcefully diving through the surface, creating not so much as a splash; nothing more than a small ripple.
The white crack in the sky then closed up on itself. The convex intrusion bended back and the sky returned to the typicy of its ordinary nighttime routine and the cultists, in their robes and drapings of lake weeds, walked slowly back into the water and buried themselves in the silt at the bottom from whence they came.
People talked about that night for a day. Some for two. Now I’m the only witness that remembers and nobody imagines they see the appearance of a tentacle here and again breaching the surface of the waters like a wild hallucination.
Even I’ve began to wonder what it was I did see. Did I imagine it all?
That’s why I walked past the water yesterday and peered down into the black. I normally avoid this path, everyone knows that the cultists are down there, and when you stare, they’re staring back. They were there in their usual manner except now I know the multi-legged peculiarity was confirmed to me to not simply be my imagination. Clutched in each of their hands were the thick tendrils of tentacles and they who are endless, they who never die, stared back at me from beneath the water, awash with contented smiles.
Yesterday as I walked past I heard them as they called. A vague whisper through the sloshing water on the shore; urging me down to join them. I remember seeing their mouths moving through the ripples and bubbles spinning up from them–towards me where I stood at the surface.
I think I’ll avoid the lake from here on out.
They come from the lake.
They called it to join them in the lake.
They called me to join it and them in the lake.
They come from the lake but they came from the town first, and it appears they might be recruiting new citizens to their ranks.
Before last Wednesday each shared a countenance that was unremarkable, commonplace; yet, yesterday as I gazed into the black, I could swear I recognized a face or two that was looking back.
I remember seeing a neighbor that I just passed that morning. She was on her way home from the grocers. She would have had to pass the lake. Now she was down in it; her mouth moving through ripples and bubbles spinning…
…Maybe this town is finally making me forgetful too because I can’t quite remember what it was that they were all saying but I remember a feeling of euphoria as I inched closer to hear the words spelled in the ripples and the spinning bubbles. I’m just glad I came to my senses and backed away while it was still just my socks and shoes that had gotten damp.