tagNon-EroticShallow Rock Ch. 04

Shallow Rock Ch. 04


"Hope you have got your things together, hope you are quite prepared to die..."

Mitch was sitting at the long table on the porch looking out at the lake drumming his fingers singing softly, barely audibly. It was dark, dark on the water, so dark you couldn't see the other shore. The trees hissed in the wind and here and there the screen was be speckled with rain. Then suddenly the nearly full moon broke through the clouds and cast a watery light, then the wind picked up, and the trees shook so loud that he couldn't hear a thing.

"Don't go round tonight for it's bound to take your life, there's a bad moon on the rise..."

His dad had gone back to town and Kelly was out in the outhouse. The plumbing wasn't working right. He had tried fixing it this afternoon, but once he got it apart he had trouble putting it back together again, so he had given up and gone to see Mrs Dee instead. He had been working really, he had been, but then while following a pipe under the bunkhouse he had smacked his head on one of the floor beams. Some bark came loose and something dropped on his chest. Rubbing his head he had worked his way out from under the building to see what it was.

It was a scribbler, a thin notebook the kind you see at general stores, almost square, four-by-seven with a shiny black cover. It looked clean and not very weathered or old. He thumbed through it, empty, the pages untouched. He flipped the pages and something dropped out onto the ground. Polaroid's also not looking worse for the wear, they were clear enough.

Seven dirty pictures starring the Ladies of the Lake - Mrs Dee, Mrs Cross, and Mrs McCall. In the first one they were all standing together topless, arm in arm, smiling at the camera. The next picture was of Mrs Cross completely naked, sitting on the arm of an Adirondack chair, with her legs spread wide open, showing off a very impressive beaver. Then there was a picture of Mrs Cross hugging Mrs Dee, playfully pinching one of her nipples, Mrs Dee definitely with the carpet to match the drapes, and naughty Mrs Cross as slick as a seal down there.

They got dirtier; a picture of Mrs Dee, looking more than a little wasted, sitting on the carpet naked while Mrs McCall, also naked, appeared to be trying to shove a champagne bottle up her twat. A picture of Mrs Dee and Mrs McCall both down on their knees looking at the camera with a cock in each hand and cum on their lips.

The last two were the worst of the lot. A picture of Mrs Dee own on her hands and knees like a dog with one guy fucking her from behind, and two others shoving cocks in her face. And the last one, again Mrs Dee alone in a doggy, but it looked like she was riding a guy while another one fucked her up the ass, while she sucked on another guy, and two other cocks were standing impatiently on the other side of her.

The women were clearly visible in all of the pictures, but none of the men's faces could be seen, only their round bellies, their cocks, and their hairy white asses. There weren't any of Mrs Cross having sex with a man which he thought was interesting. Seven dirty pictures. He looked at them carefully. Cottage pictures; not all taken at the same place, but by the look of the women's faces and hair, all taken probably the same summer; this summer.

And then there were seven more pictures which seemed completely unrelated, and were much more disturbing. Pictures of darkness and harsh light. Tree trunks and branches jumped out where the flash hit them leaving deep darkness behind. Pictures that didn't make any sense, pictures of nothing at all, mistaken shots, rejects. He looked at them again. There seemed to be no subject, at least not centred where it should be.

There was something though, usually at the edges and off in the middle distance - a blur, a face maybe, a bit of a body. You could see what you wanted to, but it looked like faces. One clearly looking back over its shoulder. Some looking at the camera, black ovals for eyes and just the faintest suggestion of long hair flying. Wendigo.

He put the pictures back in the book and put the book back where he had found it, and then had sat for a while thinking about actions and responsibilities. He was thinking about the Zen injunction never to start anything. He reminded himself that anything you do - everything you do, sends ripples not only throughout the world but off into the future, and those ripples all eventually come back to you with all the shit they've accumulated over the years, and you had to answer for all of it. You had to pay for all the evil consequences of your actions whether you intended them or not.

He didn't want to fuck with his karma any more than he already had in this lifetime. He made a half hearted search to see if there was anything else stashed around, but then stopped himself and thought some more. Then he went to pay Mrs Dee a visit and found her wired and offering sex the way you offered somebody a cup of coffee. That was before his dad and Kelly had dropped by. After they had left he had tried to get her to eat something without any luck and then put her to bed.

The screen door banged.

"You're story doesn't make any sense," Kelly said as she came out onto the porch.

"What story?"

"The Wendigo story. You're dad told me that Brian Parker didn't hang himself at their cottage; he died in Philadelphia." She didn't sit down just stood next to him arms folded.

"Maybe he took the madness with him."

She looked exasperated, but there was also sweat on her forehead. She was holding her folded arms tight and certainly a ghost had stolen in behind her stubborn eyes. She had been scared out there in the outhouse, more scared than she wanted to admit.

"It's not even a very scary story and it doesn't make sense. Planes crash, some people hang themselves, some drown, and some get blown away with shotguns. The Wendigo is after the descendants of these hunters, but she kills other people at random. There's no symmetry. Your story doesn't hang together Mitch."

"It's not my story, I didn't make it up."

"Then these freaked out fucking Margins don't have a very good story. It's incoherent."

"Maybe it's not all neat and symmetrical because it's true."

The moon passed back into cloud bringing on darkness as sudden as if someone had turned out a light. The wind caught hold of the screen door at the end of the cookhouse, opened it a foot and then slammed it shut. Mitch saw Kelly twitch, it wasn't much, but it was there. He had to admit that he jerked a little himself. She looked pissed off. He grinned. "Did I tell you who was on that bush plane that went down in the swamp?"


"Guy named Jim Pfferaw was a passenger, Ted Margin, brother of John was at the control. John Margin was supposed to be on it too, but they had some kind of argument and they left him behind. Ted Margin was killed. He didn't have any children."

"You're saying that the hunters who went crazy were Margins?"

"Didn't I mention that? Shit, that's an important part of the story. Ya, the one that got away was John Margin's father, Bobby's grandfather. I thought I mentioned that." He thought he had mentioned that. The problem was that there were holes in his brain that shit kept falling into and disappearing.

"You didn't mention that," she said turning away from him. She went to the screen and stared out across the lake. "But you said that the descendants of the hunters stayed away from here. Are you saying that they stayed away from their own place?"

"Apparently the Margin place, the old hunting cabin was abandoned for years until John Margin built the new place. My dad always said he was a gutsy bastard."

"You said that it was John Margin that told the Wendigo story so well."

"Sure and his son Angus."

"Well if John Margin made it up then he wouldn't be afraid, right?"

Mitch had a strange feeling that the room was getting crowded, that unseen things were piling up in there, brought in by the wind. There was a prickly feeling on his skin, fear reaction. He had felt it in 'Nam many times, a warning system, a survival mechanism. So why would it go off if there was nothing to fear? He bet Kelly felt it too, but she wouldn't admit it, maybe not even recognise it for what it was. "Why do people wear Halloween masks?"

"To scare off evil spirits," she replied.

"Same thing with stories."

"So it's all bullshit," she said.

"No, I'm just saying that just because the Margins tell the story doesn't mean they made it up."

"How much dope did you smoke today Mitch?"

"Not much, didn't even get a buzz," he replied. What the hell did that have to do with anything he wondered?

She took a deep breath. "It's hardly worth the effort, but if you look at it from a practical point of view, if you look for facts, what do you have? Some old stories that probably aren't even true like your suicide that didn't even happen. You have some doped up, fucked up party girl falling off a cliff, and I can tell you after seeing Mrs Dee, if it was one of her parties then I don't doubt it was just a stupid accident. No need for anything supernatural there."

Mitch wanted to leave it alone now, he had the feeling that too many people were listening, as well as all of the trees out there in the night. The whole god dammed night had gone hushed, waiting. It wanted something from him. Sometimes you just go on, keep picking at the scab even if you don't want to see what is underneath.

What little electricity there was, the light over the door of the cookhouse, the bulb over the sink went out. The old Admiral refrigerator made clunking noises and then went silent.

"What did you do now?" Kelly asked spinning around fast. She was a black shape behind the uncertain moonlight on the lake, but he could see her eyes shining. He wondered what he had done, had to think about it for a moment. Had he been working on the electrical today?

"I didn't do anything," he said at last, scrapping back his chair and grabbing the big flashlight that was at the corner of the window ledge. "I'll check the fuses, but I don't think it's us, think it's probably the whole lake. Can you see any lights out there?"

"Hard to tell," she said. She picked up the other flashlight from the table, the one she had used to go to the outhouse. It looked like she was coming with him, which was cool; he didn't want to have to ask her.

It wasn't really raining, just drops flying here and there flung at them by the agitated trees. Best part was the wind was keeping the mosquitoes down.

The fuses were fine, which meant that the wind had probably dropped a branch on the power line somewhere back along the road. Mitch was learning that this happened quite a lot, probably a lot more than his dad had mentioned to Kelly. Problem was that the single phone line was strung along the same poles, and they had probably gone dead too. No way to call Con Ed and let them know what had happened. Unless it was a really big outage that included some of the farms around Pollock, then someone from the lake would have to go into town to use a phone. Who would go? Mrs Ratsmueller wouldn't give a damn, neither would Mrs Parker, and Mrs Anderson no doubt was passed out by this time of the night. It was usually one of the new group, the Cross, McCall's or Dee's who couldn't stand to be without electricity, they would usually go, but there were no husbands up a the lake at the moment. Would one of the women make the drive, or maybe two of them go together?

"What now?" Kelly asked. She was standing quite close to him in the deep shadow beside the cottage, her flashlight pointed down.

"Well if you want to have power by morning we'll have to drive in to Pollock to the pay phone and call the Con Ed. You feel like going for a drive. I'll go with you, or I could take your car if you like?"

"No, we'll go together."

"Okay, but I want to stop and check on Mrs Dee when we swing around that way."

"Your dad said he was going to check on her when he left."

"That was a good three hours ago. I'd like to check on her, she was in pretty rough shape." Kelly didn't answer right away, he could see she was looking at him but in the dark he couldn't tell what kind of a look she was giving him.

"Okay, if you're that worried," she said

"Ya, I am a little," he replied.


The trees shivered and bowed down at them, sometimes scraping the roof of Kelly's Dodge Dart. He liked the way she drove, careful but not timid, not trying to show off either, prove she was as good as a man. Good as a man, what a thought. Mitch chuckled a little and kept his eyes on the thick verges of the road, looking for deer or moose or flying spirits. The headlights swung round and were thrown back at them by the big windows of the Dee cottage. They went to the back door to have a look. No lights showing from inside, no candles or lamps flickering. They had a doorbell just like a real house. He rang it, they could hear the chimes faintly.

No answer. He leaned on it but there was still no response. "Mrs Dee," he called out. "Mrs Dee, its Mitch Herkemer and deputy Mackinaw, are you okay?" No answer.

"Passed out good," Kelly said.

"Better check."

"Your dad would have locked up," Kelly said.

He tried the door and it came open. "What did you do?" she asked.

"Nothing, it was unlocked."

Mitch had a bad feeling. Their two flashlights played over the inside of the house like searchlights of rescue helicopters surveying earthquake rubble. He had left her in her bedroom laying on the big bed in the recovery position, he had taken her keys and locked up behind himself, intending to go back later, but his dad went instead. He went upstairs to the bedroom while Kelly slowly probed into the living room. He jumped and cursed at his own reflection in the mirrored doors of the closet, even though he knew they were there. He looked up at the ceiling to see his reflection there as well. She wasn't in the bed.

"Mitch." There was alarm and fear in Kelly's voice.

He bumped into the door on the way out, almost tripped coming down the tight spiral staircase, and then caught the kitchen counter on his elbow. Mrs Dee was lying face down near the patio door in the nightgown he had put her into.

"Did you try ...?"

"She's dead Mitch, dead, dead. Don't touch her."

He was down on his knees beside her, about to flip her over. He stopped, took her wrist and checked her pulse. It was a dead arm, dead skin, no pulse; he had a close look at the half of her face that was upturned against the floor. Dead face. "OD," he said.

"That's for the coroner to decide, get back Mitch, this could be a crime scene."

"A crime scene?"

"We don't know. She doesn't need medical attention so just leave everything the way it is. Come on, we'll go in to town and report it."

"I shouldn't have left her."

"Her husband shouldn't have left her. What are you, her husband; her lover? There's only so much you can do for some people, Mitch. Besides, your dad checked on her too, and he thought she was okay. You did all you could."

Her husband probably shouldn't have passed her around like a joint at a party either, he thought. "Shit," he said and pressed his palms to his eyes. What did this have to do with the Wendigo?

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by Anonymous

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by Anonymous02/26/17

This series

is creepy as hell. Great writing, btw.

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