20 Nov Elegy for Devil’s Lake
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"Elegy for Devil's Lake"Written by
Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
Sit tight, my friends, as I weave a tale of magic and night. Let the fire burn low and let the wind howl through the ridges of this lake as the muses sign unto me, and the night speaks with my voice…
There was once a young man, who lived, worked, slept, and ate along the ridge of a great, dark lake; Devil’s Lake, in which he fished and drank. He was a wild man, in harmony with nature, loving all things in nature, alive or otherwise. But nature was not in harmony with him.
The man lived in peace with the world for many years, each day and night the same as the last. But one night was different. The day was normal for the man, and the sun set, just as it had for millennia before. The night settled in, and the wind whispered through the trees. All was at peace, for a time. And the moon rose, a bright eye high above the earth. But the moon, this night, was different. It glowed orange. The young man sat high on the cliff above Devil’s Lake, and watched with trepidation as this new moon rose.
He knew the orange moon was a natural occurrence, but this was not a natural day. This day was Hallow’s Eve, when the veil between this world and the next was thinnest. The ominous moon bearing down on him did not ease his fear. The moon appeared to have as face, and it watched, and waited.
The tall ridge of stone over the lake seemed to glow with the light of the moon, sparkling like a sheet of frosted glass. The ground below the man trembled slightly. Something was coming, he knew. But he did not know what. And for the first time in his life, he was truly afraid of the dark.
The lake below shimmered, still as the sky above, and placidly reflected the trees around it. But there was a ripple in still water, and something below the lake moved. The reflections of the trees and the moon far overhead broke into shards of glass, and the wind stopped humming. Everything was silent as the water broke.
Impossibly slowly, something appeared to be rising out of the water. The lake rippled as this new apparition, slow as ice, stretched its way higher and higher into this world.
What undulated out of the water was, at first, nothing but a single tentacle, sharpened into a spear at its tip. It was red like fire, and spotted with dark blotches of night. It wiggled slowly, quietly, almost unnoticeably as it slid between worlds. It shimmered in the moonlight. But there was some unmistakably off-set quality about it, something not of this world. And it most certainly wasn’t.
The man quaked, watching this monstrosity carefully. He had never seen anything like this before, but this was Hallow’s Eve. He prepared himself for what else might appear above the water, fastening himself in a protective leather suit and wielding a heavy stone axe. But even with his weapon, a feeling of deep dread settled in the pit of his stomach, and he waited…
Eventually, after what felt like weeks, the young man saw something more substantial than a tentacle float out of the water. It was, at first, nothing more than a red lump, as it was the base of the tentacle. The base, too, was covered in patches of nothing. Then the mass grew, and space itself seemed to spread apart to create a void for the beast to pass through. The young man saw that creature rising out of the water had ten thousand eyes.
The eyes were intelligent, large, and a deep yellow. They had slits like those of cats, but these slits were deeper, and showed a way into unimaginable horror. They darted around, watching everything, especially the young man. The ten thousand eyes circled the monster’s great head, and observed all, learning best how it could be destroyed.
Then came the smell, a scent like rotting fruit and decaying flesh that reached down into his throat, causing him to gag and taste something awful, something sulfuric and evil. The appearance of the devilish creature stopped the man cold in his tracks. He could feel a very real pressure in the air, like something building and growing…
And suddenly, there was a cacophony like metal scraping on metal poured from the spot broken in space within the lake, a sound like one hundred billion screams of torment and anguish. It was if Hell itself outpoured the very noise within it.
The beast climbed higher and higher into the air underneath the light of the orange moon, hauling more of its horrendous body out of that other world and into this plane, and now the man could see all of it, not just a tentacle. The rest of its body appeared to be decaying, and rotted flesh fell off its bones, if they could even be called that. But what was on the skin was worse still.
The man thought he could see faces, human faces, shift and form on the beast’s skin, and then disappear into nothing. What appeared to be mouths, mouths ringed with sharp, poisonous teeth, also moved freely on the abomination’s skin. The man also thought he could see other, more horrible things, but he was not sure. The man felt a crushing fear in his chest, the kind of terror that only comes with a brush with death.
Finally, after what the young man felt must have been years, the fiend reached the apex of its flight, and shuddered, and the air, the very fabric of reality seemed to shudder with it. The moon was at the very tip of its climb as well, and now began to descend. And the monster lowered with it, as if tied to the celestial body. The young man watched, and breathed a sigh of relief, seeing that he was not in any danger now. The worst was over, he thought.
The single tentacle of the brute, the one that had first broken the surface like shattered a mirror, felt the man’s change of heart. Taking this last opportunity, for the split second the man let his guard down, the creature struck. It lashed out like a whip, stabbing the man through the chest with the expertise of a master marksman.
The young man choked on blood as his eyes grew wide with horror, looking down to see a lava red tentacle impaled through his chest. The man’s blood splashed carelessly onto the rock cliff, poisoned by the creature’s filthy skin. The tentacle relaxed, and pulled out of the man’s body.
The young man fell to his knees as his life seeped away slowly, saturating the stones he sat upon. His gasped through the blood in his throat, and his eyes watched the demonic atrocity as it slid, silent now, beneath the still waves of the lake. One of its great eyes flicked around one last time, terrible fury reflected within, but also a great mirth. It did not have the opportunity to get fully into this world, but it was able to send… something else in. The man died quietly, his last breaths gurgling in his own blood.
Quietly, quieter than the grave, the beast sunk back into its lair. But, in its last moments in the world above, it watched its handiwork come to life. And it laughed a deep, evil laugh. The blood of its victim slowly began to gather in one spot, like a ghastly bubble. The gory mass of poisoned blood grew and swelled until it finally burst with a single, definitive blast. The forceful pop released hundreds, perhaps thousands, of small droplets of tainted blood into the night.
A droplet landed near the man’s glazed eyes, and began to change. It was no longer blood, but now the same color as the leviathan that had birthed it. It swirled and spun on its axis, until it became solid, and opened, revealing a single, yellow eye. And this happened over and over again, each and every droplet forming an eye.
As the man’s body finally ran cold, drained of blood, the droplets blinked as one, and slunk off into the darkness to find their next prey, and to wait. And nature watched, impassively, as the man’s body slowly decomposed over many days, and the rocks and trees grew around him. He became part of the earth that he loved. But the same cannot be said about his blood. That is a different story.
It is said that, sometimes, on some nights when the moon is full, if one stands in just the right spot on the cliff at Devil’s Lake, one can see a ripple when no wind has blown. The lake quivers, as if something massive beneath its surface is waiting, watching, for an opportunity to surface. And on some Hollow’s Eves, when the orange moon coincides with that dreaded night, it is spoken that one can see a red tentacle rise from the water to this very day, patiently awaiting a new chance to stretch into this world. The times haven’t been right yet. But someday they will. It’s only a matter of waiting.
And it is always a matter of waiting. The blood and the beast are patient. The eyes are growing in number as they find more sources of nourishment. Just how many there are today is impossible to tell. And they’re too small to ever be noticed; the size of a drop of blood, but more dangerous than any weapon. They may be in your house and you will never even know. They are out there, in the darkness.
The young man died alone on the ridge, and the earth reclaimed his body as its own. No one has spoken of him since, but all this has been recorded faithfully by the omnipresent night, the watchers in the darkness. And all this I can tell you, but let it be a warning; the night does you no harm. Do not be afraid of the dark. Be afraid of what lurks within it.
Credit To – Andrew Sova
This story is a Crappypasta Success Story – it was generally well-liked over at Crappypasta, and I feel that the author used the feedback that he received there to successfully rewrite the pasta. You may read the original Crappypasta post and comments here. Congratulations to the author!