First Story of the Lake Spirit

When she was younger, her favorite moments were swimming toward the full moon on a dark summer night. She would follow the trail the moon reflected on the lake, revealing another small part of the golden path after each smooth, silent stroke. She focused on the light, keeping her head above the water and moved slowly, trying not to make ripples on the surface. At these moments she felt one with the lake.

Once, she imagined following the moon so far that she could not turn back, eventually becoming exhausted and dying in its golden light. She welcomed this as a happy death and moved further along the path, but the lake suddenly changed. Surrounded by cold, she no longer felt welcome. Her nakedness was uncomfortable. The shore beckoned; her romantic longing to swim to the moon replaced by a need for carnal comforts: a hot shower; soft, thick blankets; and something warm to drink. Turning, she saw she hadn’t gone as far as she had imagined. She swam as quickly as she could, no longer caring about the waves and the noise she made. It felt like something was chasing her and about to grab her feet. Her burning muscles and searing lungs did not slow her. She bolted up the ladder and across the yard to the house. As she started to slide back the door, she heard a splash on the lake like the sound of a large fish jumping, making her pause to look back at the dark surface where circles of ripples moved out from the base of her ladder. Eventually, she realized that was the first time she met the lake spirit.

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