Monday, May 20, 2013

Writing Challenge With Author, Erren Grey Wolf!

"Challenge: In 2000 words or less, write about a woman who protects the secret of the mysterious lake in the forest."
 
The Result:
THE MAIDEN OF SYLVAN LAKE
By Erren Grey Wolf
 
 
Sylvan Lake was once an empty crater made by the strike of a meteor. It looked as if the hand of God had thrown a small grenade at the Earth. Over the ages, it had collected water until it became an isolated lake in the middle of the Mystic Forest. The lake was serene most of the time, except when a storm disturbed it. Fish swam within it only because some brave men had found it and put them there. Once found, however, they left in a hurry and never returned. Word travelled that the lake was haunted, but the daring few who journeyed there came screaming back with frightening tales of how some members in their party had died there.
 
Edgar, the football captain at Badgerhills College, heard the tales of this enigmatic lake and wanted a challenge. During summer break, he and four others set forth to visit Sylvan Lake to bring back a trout or two to brag to their peers. They sought not to eat the fish, but to mount it with pride on a wall with the words, “Rainbow Trout Caught In Sylvan Lake.” Edgar liked to boast and this would be a major addition to his wall of athletic trophies!
 
Edgar led the way as they entered the Mystic Forest. Two women followed him and two men were at the rear, sharing the burden of carrying a canoe. All wore backpacks full of gear.
 
“How far is it?” asked Amanda, a short young woman with Chinese features.
 
“A two-day hike,” said Edgar. “We’ll have to camp along the way. Having doubts?”
 
“No way!” she said proudly. “If you can do it, so can I!”
 
“Good going, sister!” praised Julia, the cheerleader, reaching forward to pat her friend on the shoulder.
 
“Yeah, we’ll see,” said James doubtfully from the back of the line. “We might have to leave the girlies behind!” 
 
“Why the hell would you want to do that?” asked Orlando, the fastest runner at the college. He looked at the woman right in front of him with her long blonde hair held back in a ponytail that seemed to dangle enticingly before his eyes. “I think Julia is hot!”
 
“Hey!” protested Amanda. “What about me?!”
 
“I think you’re hot!” said James, the head of the soccer team. “You wanna sleep in my tent, honey?”
 
“Ick! No!” she said distastefully. “I just wanted an ego boost, not an egotistical jerk!”
 
Edgar looked back briefly and intervened, “That’s enough, everyone! Remember, we’re a team! We must get along if we are to be successful!”
 
“Yes, sir!” obeyed James with a sneer behind Edgar’s back.
 
Julia said to Amanda a bit protectively, “You and I will stick together. Let the boys have their own tent!”
 
“Sounds good to me!” said Amanda cheerily.
 
When they arrived at Sylvan Lake, they set up camp between the forest and the pebbly shore. It was late, so they made a campfire and cooked dinner. As they sat around the fire, the full moon shone its reflected light upon them. They could see a million stars in the sky. The students seemed like good friends sharing tales around the fire, but something sinister lurked in the heart of one of them.
 
When Amanda went into the forest alone to tend to her business in private, she encountered James on her way back. “Out of my way, jerk!” she demanded as she tried to go around him.
 
He grabbed her by the arm, put a hand over her mouth, and pushed her to the ground in the pitch-black forest. She dropped her flashlight and tried to scream, but he was so strong. She lost her footing and fell on her back. She struggled against him, while he tore at her clothes like a wild animal.
 
No one ever heard the screams she cried within her mind.
 
When it was over, he threatened, “Don’t you dare tell anyone! They’ll be ashamed of you and you’ll never be able to face them again!”
 
He left her in the forest, infected with shame, and she cried in the darkness alone.
 
When she returned, she was not her cheery self. Julia asked, “Are you all right?”
 
Amanda merely said, “I’m just tired.” The two girls slept inside their exclusive tent and the boys slept in theirs. No one else knew of the dastardly deed that James had committed that night.
 
The next day, Amanda opted to go fishing last, so Julie, James, and Orlando used the canoe to fish first. Edgar stayed behind with a rifle to make sure no wild animals came to their camp. While he was guarding at the edge of the forest and the canoe was far in the centre of the lake, Amanda sadly walked to the shore and knelt down at the edge of the water. She didn’t care if her knees got wet; she just looked at her horrible reflection in the still water. She was the proud winner of the swim team and now she felt so ashamed. Her tears fell like raindrops onto the surface of the water, causing small ripples, as she cried quietly so no one would know her sorrow.
 
Someone heard her.
 
That night, when the group was sitting around the campfire, everyone was joking and smiling, except for one who forced a smile to hide her shame. Those not involved in the crime never knew anything was wrong. No one saw the ripple in the water in the moonlit night. 
 
No one saw it coming closer.
 
It looked like something was swimming just beneath the surface of the lake, creating a V-shaped ripple that looked like an arrowhead aimed at the camp, but something much larger than a trout made this disturbance.
 
When it neared the shore, something began to emerge. A woman’s head rose up slowly until her mysterious eyes were just above the water level. Those intense eyes never blinked. In the dark, you could not see her colouring. If you could, you would be shocked! Her hair was so dark a blue it was almost black. Her skin was light blue and her haunting eyes were the colour of cobalt. Those beautiful, mystical eyes stared with anger towards the camp.
 
She came closer.
 
When her feet touched the bottom, she walked towards the shore with purpose. She arose, the goddess of the lake; she emerged from the water so smoothly, so fluidly, as if she were part of the lake itself. Her hair was so long it dripped down to the small of her back. Her angry gaze never left the campfire; it never blinked as she moved closer.
 
She flowed across the shore like a ballerina, barely making a sound on the pebbles. An azure blue gown hung wetly to her knees. She had the perfect features of a Greek goddess, with haunting, focused eyes.
 
They saw her.
 
Edgar wondered, “Who the hell is that?”
 
In the dark lit only by the campfire, it was difficult to see her unusual complexion.
 
James grinned wickedly and stood up to say, “Well, hello, lady!”
 
Julia stood up and admonished, “Shut up, James!” She was able to see the woman was soaking wet and asked with concern, “Are you all right? Do you need a blanket?”
 
All this time, the water woman’s eyes fixed upon James. In truth, she had never taken her eyes off him. When she came within a couple of metres of him, she smiled with her unblinking eyes and reached out a hand to him, beckoning him closer like a siren.
 
James was not one to refuse an invitation from a pretty lady, and when there was none, he invited himself. He went to her and she put her cold, wet hands on the sides of his face and kissed him. He put his arms around her wet body to feel her cold skin through the thin, dripping gown. He didn’t notice anything unusual about her. He didn’t care that she was soaking wet and might be cold. He was a selfish man.
 
Orlando scolded, “James! For God’s sake, man!”
 
James ignored his friends and was lost in the kiss as he groped the unnamed woman.
 
Julia crossed her arms and said, “What an asshole!”
 
Amanda never said a word.
 
This situation changed for James. His eyes went wide and he tried to pull away, but the enigmatic beauty’s supernatural hold on him was too strong.
 
Edgar stood up, seeing James struggle, and said, “James, are you OK, man?”
 
The woman let James go with an eerie, satisfied smile. He backed away from her unsteadily, trying to breathe, and fell on his back. He struggled to his hands and knees as Edgar got out his rifle. Orlando and Julia came to his aid, looking worried, but Amanda stayed where she was, trying to look small and unnoticeable.
 
Orlando knelt beside James and said, “He’s choking!”
 
Julia looked at the mysterious woman, who exuded a power beyond all men, and demanded, “What did you do to him?!”
 
James choked, trying to get a breath, but water poured out of his mouth in great amounts. More water poured out than could possibly have been held in his lungs and stomach combined. It continued pouring out.
 
The maiden stood silently with the campfire reflecting demonically in her angry eyes as James drowned to death on land.
 
Orlando said in shock, “He’s dead! Where the hell is the water coming from?!”
 
The water was still pouring out the dead man’s mouth.
 
Edgar pointed the rifle at the woman and demanded, “What the hell did you do to him?”
 
She fixed her unblinking eyes on Edgar, in defiance of his weapon, and spoke with all the power of an enraged goddess, “How DARE you come here and commit crimes in MY realm!”
 
Terrified, Orlando stood up and hurried back towards Edgar, the only one with a weapon. Julia, eyes wide, moved back towards Amanda.
 
“What crimes?” asked Edgar. “We’ve committed no crimes here!”
 
The blue woman pointed towards the small, hunched figure and said, “Tell them!”
 
Amanda looked down and shook her head. Tears began to form in her eyes.
 
Julia looked away from the dangerous woman to put a hand on her friends shoulder and asked, “Amanda, what’s wrong?”
 
Amanda burst into tears and covered her face in her hands.
 
“TELL THEM!” ordered the maiden of the lake with a power beyond mere mortals.
 
Orlando asked, “Tell us what? What the hell is going on here?”
 
In a small voice, barely heard by the rest of her group, Amanda said, “He raped me.”
 
Julia gasped, “Oh my God!”
 
The two men were silent.
 
The maiden stretched her hand towards Amanda and beckoned her serenely, “Come, child, and I will take away your sorrow.” 
 
Amanda looked at the woman and stood up without a second thought.
 
“No, Amanda!” exclaimed Julia in horror.
 
Amanda moved towards the woman.
 
Julia grabbed her arm to stop her, warning, “Don’t do it! She already killed James!”
 
Through her tears, Amanda said angrily, “He deserved it! I don’t!” She shook her arm free and walked towards the woman. 
 
Edgar warned, “Don’t do it, Amanda!”
 
Orlando added, “Amanda! She’ll kill you!”
 
A wet, blue hand grasped Amanda’s and pulled her to stand beside her. The maiden then warned, “Get out of my realm or I will drown you ALL!”
 
Those words sent chills of terror throughout the group, except for Amanda. As for her, she continued holding the maiden’s hand as she led her to the shore.
 
Her friends shouted after her, but were too afraid to approach. They watched her slowly enter the water in horror until she and the maiden disappeared beneath its surface.
 
No one ever saw Amanda again, but the next time a party came to the lake seeking adventure, they saw a blue woman rise up from the still waters, this time with Chinese features.

 
For More On Erren Grey Wolf:

Author of Beneath the Surface: The Lost Boy
http://www.errengreywolf.ca/
http://www.twitter.com/errengreywolf
The Lost Boy: Sean Archer seeks redemption by hunting the haunted forest for the little brother he so carelessly abandoned out of grief for the loss of their mother.