Stacy looked out at the lake, it didn’t seem any different than it had before. It looked so calm, gently lapping against the rocky shore. No sign of the terrible things that had happened here. Of course she tried to tell people, but no one believed her. Why would they? She was just some poor woman who’d gone crazy with grief. It was clear what had happened, Brian had just swum out a little too far and a current had dragged him off. The lake was known for them, there were signs all along the shore, but that wasn’t what had happened. Stacy had watched as some thing grabbed him and pulled him under. She hadn’t been able to get a good look at it, all she could remember was Brian’s pale, terrified face as it dragged him deeper. It had toyed with her too, that was the worst of it all. It wasn’t just some animal hunting for food. It had allowed her to think she had a chance to save him. Her fingers scrabbling over slimy, wet skin as she tried to loosen its grip on his ankle. The fingers that had gripped him were long and thin, like the tentacles of an octopus. She hadn’t gotten a good look at its face. She had spent what felt like hours diving as deep as she could, trying to spot any sign of him. But he was gone.
Until his body was found a few days later. They wouldn’t let her see him, they said his body was bloated, that it was nothing like the man he had once been and that she shouldn’t have that be the last thing she saw of him. Secretly she thought anything would be better than his wide, terrified eyes. Stacy thought the police knew, they had to know. Something like that? Brian couldn’t have been the first victim of it and if there was one there were most likely more. How many of those things were out there? Spread across the world, dragging unsuspecting swimmers to their deaths. She didn’t know if it could go on land or not, but she felt safer on the shore, away from the cold water.
The sun was starting to set, it was still bright but the lake took on a kind of gloomy feel as the shadows lengthened. She could feel it now, a malevolent presence, lurking just below the water, watching, waiting. Down the lake shore she could see families packing up. How often did they come here? Every weekend? Surely they’d have to know it wasn’t safe by now. Someone should tell them. Someone, but not her. She couldn’t deal with those looks anymore. The looks of pity and concern that turned to wariness as they tried to back away from the conversation. No. They would find out for themselves sooner or later. She watched as they finished getting their things and left.
Stacy was the only person there, at least as far as she could see, the lake was big, bigger than one would think considering it wasn’t really known outside of the surrounding towns. She looked at the surface of the water, a part of her wanted to just poison the entire thing. Dump oil or something into it and let the damn things die, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. There were innocent things in that lake too, and the surrounding forests. She wasn’t like the thing in the lake, she was better than it. Stacy turned from the water and began to walk back to her car. She hadn’t seen it, though the last time she thought she saw something moving just below the water.
Stacy wiped her eyes and took a slow, deep breath. She had come here almost every day since he had died but still the grief felt as fresh as ever. Soon she would take action, but for now she had to wait. She didn’t open her glove compartment, though she usually did. She didn’t want to see it right now, most days the mix of poisons was comforting, but not today. The plan was simple, when she had finally decided enough was enough, she would take them all, they were plant based and she didn’t know what would or would not kill the damn thing. Most of the poisons were slow acting so she would have roughly half an hour to eat them, then get to the lake. She would go for a swim and, if she was right, that thing would grab her and bring her below, where it would feast on her tainted flesh and once that happened she would finally be at peace.