The water was cold, at first it was kind of pleasant, but now it was sapping the heat and energy from his body. He was getting tired, but it was almost over, the entire thing had only taken a few minutes. He could hear the birds calling to one another, the gentle lap of the water against the shore. It really was his favourite place to visit. He stopped holding her down, she had stopped struggling and there were no more bubbles. He lifted her head slightly above the water and counted to ten. There were no gasps for air, no movements at all. Perfect.
He made his way back to the shore, only a distance of ten feet or so. He shivered slightly in the cold breeze and quickly started to dry himself, once dry he changed into fresh, warm clothes. He watched her body bobbing along the surface of the lake, already it was being dragged further out by the gentle currents. It wouldn’t be long until they became stronger, they acted as a sort of lazy vortex, once something made it to the middle it wasn’t getting out again. The lake itself was off limits to most people. It had been closed down officially about thirty years before after a series of drownings due to the currents. The shore itself had warnings every few hundred feet, signs that had mostly faded away in the sun. He and his family had owned the lake for generations, he suspected that decades of secrets were held beneath its surface.
There was no need to try and block off access to the lake, it had a reputation and the locals all knew to stay away, not even drunken teens dared come here. Tom always found it peaceful, he knew the lake and the lake knew him. When he was a child he used to think something lived there, besides the usual assortment of fish. Something bigger, something darker, something that was intelligent. Hiding in the dark depths, waiting, feeding on those unwary enough to be caught.
He watched until the sun was setting and the body was long gone. He exhaled slowly, and inhaled the cool air deeply. He always felt so calm after his visits to the lake, so peaceful. It reminded him in a way of his visits as a child, how he used to find small animals and feed them to the lake. He had always been a lucky person and in a small way he attributed the luck to the lake itself.
He turned on his car and sat for a moment, watching the light glitter on the lakes surface. He always did hate leaving, though he knew he would be back soon. He visited the lake once a week, though special visits like this were only every few months. He gripped the steering wheel tightly, he could feel it again. The heat of her skin, how it yielded to his firm grip, how she struggled, how she finally went limp. He shuddered and released the steering wheel. He would be forever grateful to that woman, who ever she had been. She had given him something greater than she ever could have imagined.
Tom let himself into his house, “I’m home!”
“Hey, did you have a nice day out there?”
“Yeah, it was nice and relaxing.”
Alice gave him a hug and they kissed for a moment, lips parting, tongues dancing across each other. Alice pulled back and smiled at him, “Dinner will be ready soon, go take a shower and get yourself cleaned up.”
Tom nodded and gave her a quick kiss on the lips before they let go of each other. Alice had a thing about the lake, she didn’t mind him going to it, but she never liked it. Said she could never relax there, like the air was heavy and pushing her down. She always said he had a smell to him when he went swimming out there. Tom himself could never detect an odour, nor did anyone else, but Alice always knew. He loved her deeply for she was his anchor, she kept him centred and in control. He knew that he needed her in his life as soon as he took her out to the lake for the first time.
It had been a hot summer day, they drove up to the lake to have a picnic. He hadn’t planned on giving her to the lake, but once they were there he could feel the need, pushing up from inside him, demanding that he sacrifice her. He had tried to pull her into the water but she wouldn’t go, finally she agreed to paddle her feet a little, she stood in the cold water with him and smiling, she pulled him into a kiss. In that moment he felt the need melt away and he knew she was immune to what ever it was that controlled him. She protected him now just as she had managed to save herself that day, with just that one action. It was her first, and last time at the lake. He had invited her many times and she always refused, but she encouraged him to go, telling him they both needed their own, special places.
The heat of the shower drove out a chill he didn’t know was there. He stepped out feeling refreshed and invigorated, he could feel the strength running through his body. He dried off and dressed in a loose t-shirt and a pair of tracksuit bottoms. When he entered the kitchen Alice was adding the finishing touches to their dinners. He moved behind her and wrapped his arms around her, gently kissing her neck, she giggled and turned in his arms, meeting his mouth with hers.
Later he lay in bed, Alice sleeping gently beside him. He felt too energised to sleep, even after the release of sex. He slipped from the bed quietly, letting her continue her deep slumber. He went to his office, there he turned on his computer and got to work. There had been some big decisions coming up and he hadn’t been sure what he should do, but now he knew.
When he finally slipped into bed he was tired but happy, the lake had given him the boost he needed. He rolled over and gently pulled Alice closer to him and smiling, he fell asleep.