Estimated reading time — 8 minutes
There were no words to describe how excited I was when I was told that I could go live at my grandmother’s house while I finished the last couple years of high school. My father was strict and had mentally abused me since I was old enough to remember and now I had the opportunity to break free from his chains of oppression.
My grandmother lived right on the outskirts of the city on Lake Sinclair. Her house was a 1970s raised ranch-style house that was built on a hill facing the lake. The house contained many traditional features of a rancher including: lowered roof line, open floor plans, and a separate living area that was located on the foundation of the house. This is where I would be staying.
It was a fifteen minute drive from my house to my grandmother’s house. Even though I lived nearby, my mother didn’t let me come out here by myself too often and I never understood why. Just before I veered onto her road, I noticed a girl walking with a yellow summer dress. She appeared to have just taken a swim, seeing as she was wet from head to toe. As I passed her, I tried to get a good look at her face, perhaps recognizing her as there were a few girls in the area I was familiar with. I was unable to see any features of her face but her arms and legs seemed deteriorated, like she had a sickening flesh disease. I thought nothing more of it and continued down West Lakeview Lane.
“Daniel! I feel like I haven’t seen you in ages! It feels so good to see you.” I had not seen her this excited to see me in quite some time.
“It’s good to see you, too.”
I brought all of my belongings inside and headed downstairs to set them up in my room. The downstairs was a completely separate living area from the rest of the house. It had a refrigerator, a stove, a living room, a bathroom, and two bedrooms. There were pictures of my mother when she was young adorning the walls, as well as pictures of me. They were arranged side-by-side down the corridor leading to my room and the eyes seemed to pursue me as I made my way there.
My room was quite old, containing Victorian paintings and elaborate, hand-crafted furniture. There was a vanity mirror in front of the bed against the wall that hinted that the room was designed for a girl. The dresses in the closet seemed to confirm my suspicion. The windows were lined with ethereal white curtains that seemed to radiate in the early afternoon when the sun was at its strongest. The window panes started from the ground and extended to the ceiling. The bed frame was embellished with multiple hand-carved sections and had pillars reaching to the ceiling on each side of the frame.
I looked out the window and into the backyard and marveled at how beautiful it was. I decided to walk around back there since it had been quite some time since I had seen it last. There were dogwood trees and stone steps leading down towards the dock. There was a boathouse that extended off the right side of the dock. It was in quite a dilapidated state and in need of a roof repair but it seemed to be holding its own. The dock itself extended about 30 ft out to the water and had a small boat docked off to the side.
That night I decided to hit the sack early because I wanted to get a head start to the weekend and because I was exhausted from unpacking. I awoke a few hours later to a burst of luminescent light flowing into my room and rebounding off the walls, casting dancing shadows on my face. The window was open and the curtains were waving from brief gusts of wind entering through it. Before I could close the window, I noticed a silhouette standing at the edge of the dock. I stared at it for what seemed like an interminable amount of time. I was frozen, like I had looked into the eyes of a gorgon. Finally, the silhouette fell backwards into the water. Panicking, I quickly rushed out the back patio door, down the hill, and approached the dock. I looked over the edge where the figure had fallen in and was unable to notice any ripples or indications that something large had entered. Confused and unable to ascertain what happened, I decided to retreat back to bed, confused and mildy startled.
My grandma was up early as was I, since I didn’t sleep well after the “encounter.” I decided to tell her what happened.
“Grandma, something weird happened last night. There was a figure standing on the dock. I don’t know what it was doing but it gave me the creeps. Then it fell in the water. I raced down to the dock and didn’t find anything. Not even a ripple. I feel like I am losing my mind.”
“Are you sure it wasn’t the moonlight creating an illusion? The reflection it casts off the water sometimes plays tricks,” she replied, confidently. I still wasn’t sure what I saw, but what she said seemed to make sense so I passed it off as an illusion.
I decided to go swimming that afternoon in the lake since it was a warm, sunny day and I hadn’t been swimming at my grandmother’s house in years. The water was slightly murky, yet warm and inviting. I waded around near the seawall for a few minutes, thinking about the specter I thought I saw on the dock the previous night.
I swam over to the dock and dove down, swimming along the bottom and grabbing handfuls of sand. That’s when I encountered something that nothing in the future could ever rival in sheer terror. The girl I had seen prior to arriving was standing on the lake floor, staring away from me into the murky depth. Her yellow sundress was battered and much more weathered than I could recall earlier. Her skin still maintained that diseased look and I was about to find out why. Her head slowly turned towards me to reveal pure terror incarnate. The left side of her face was ultimately non-existent, the flesh rotting off, revealing a bony a jawline. Her left eye was missing. I watched in horror as maggots slowly poured out of the socket, writhing in agony as the water claimed them. Then, just as her mouth was starting to open, I turned around and swam as swiftly as my body would allow, choking on water with every thrust. I managed to swim back to the surface and get to the seawall before my strength gave out.
I needed to tell someone. I needed to tell my grandmother what I found beneath the lake, but I couldn’t. She wouldn’t believe me. I was petrified from fear but managed to drag myself back to my room. I curled up, hyperventilating for a minute before calming down and falling asleep.
I slept for hours, waking up before sunset. I raced out of bed and found my grandma in the kitchen. I had to tell her about the body, even if she wouldn’t believe me.
“G-grandma…,” I cried out, apprehensive about telling her. “There is a body in the lake. There is a GIRL’S BODY IN THE LAKE.” I started to panic again and became inconsolable. My grandmother jumped up, looking just as startled as I was.
“Oh my God! Show me, Daniel!”
I led her down to the dock and I, reluctantly, dove underwater to the spot where I found the girl.
I found nothing. There was nothing there.
Had imagined it again? Was I losing my mind? No, I saw a body down there. But the scariest part was that she was just standing on the lake floor, nothing holding her down.
“Uhh…grandma I can’t find it. But I swear to you there was a body here. This doesn’t make any sense,” I said to her, in disbelief.
My grandmother was wearing a skeptical look. “Honey, you can’t just fabricate stuff like this. A dead body? If there was really a body here it wouldn’t have just disappeared on its own. I blame your father for this; all those years of abuse are starting to take a toll on you.”
This is madness. There is no way that body was a figment of my imagination. No way.
I spent the rest of the day watching TV in my living room and trying to forget that frightening image of the girl’s mangled carcass, looking at me from the bottom of the dismal depth. Then I had an epiphany. The silhouette I saw that night on the dock. It fell into the water right where I saw that body. It couldn’t have been a coincidence, there was no way. That girl wanted me to find her that day, I was sure of it.
Sleep didn’t come easy that night. And when it did come, it didn’t last long. I awoke again to my curtains rustling in the wind. I got up and peered out the window. The moonlight was gorgeous that night and it caused light to ricochet across the water and light up the shore. That is when I suddenly noticed yet another figure in the moonlight. It was standing in the woods off to the right of the dock and appeared to be facing me, but I couldn’t tell.
I kept my eyes on the phantom, expecting it to do something like the previous one. Slowly, it extended its hand out and pointed to the ground in front of one of the dogwood trees. I grabbed a flashlight and darted outside to discover what it was pointing at.
When I arrived in front of the tree, I noticed there was a mound of dirt that appeared to have been recently unearthed. I went to the side of the house and grabbed a shovel out of the tool shack. Whoever concealed this hole didn’t dig deep because within fifteen minutes I had found something.
I sifted through the dirt and located multiple strands of hair. I followed the hairs down to find the skull of what seemed like a child. I fell backwards, violently shaking and wanting to run away. But something told me I needed to stay. I knew I wasn’t hallucinating. Now another question burned into my skull. This body was too small to belong to the girl I saw. This…was someone else.
“Ah, I see you found him.”
Flabbergasted, I turned around to see my grandmother walking towards me with a large chef’s knife in her hand.
“He was a bothersome child. I caught him and his sister trying to steal from me. NO ONE STEALS FROM ME!”She shrieked.
My grandmother was maniacal. I have known her my whole life and not one second did I think she was capable of this.
Like a fool, I allowed myself to get cornered in front of the seawall and the only direction I could go was the end of the dock. She continued to question me as I walked backwards.
“Now answer me this.” She was calm now, in a psychotic, twisted way.
“How did you know? How did you know there was a body here? ANSWER ME!” She bellowed with an unnatural ferocity.
“A girl did…it was a girl with a yellow sundress…” At this point, I was in tears. If she was capable of killing two children than even her grandson was fair game.
“You dare mock me? Who told you?!” Paralyzed in fear, I couldn’t answer.
“WHO WAS IT, GODDAMN IT!” The force at which she bellowed at me deafened my ears.
My heart was racing, I knew the silhouette was the girl but my grandma wasn’t going to believe that. She would have to see it for herself, which would not be at all impossible because the dreadful corpse of that girl began climbing up the seawall behind her. I pointed at her, causing my grandma to reverse.
The girl stood at the foot of the dock, standing motionless. Her dress gleamed in the moonlight, causing my grandmother to see the monstrosity she was responsible for.
“What the – what is this, Daniel? Is this one of your tricks?!”
I said nothing. I couldn’t take my eyes off the cadaver approaching us. The girl slowly began lifting her head, revealing a malicious grin on her face. Half of her smile was rotting flesh while the other side of her face was bone. My grandma was paralyzed. She just stood there with a look on her face like she was staring at Death himself.
“Wh-what do you want from me?” My grandmother managed to mumble out in between sobs.
The girl stopped smiling and struck an everlasting fear into my soul as she muttered to her.
The girl lunged at my grandmother, knocking them both into the lake. I peered over the edge of the dock and saw nothing. No sign of a struggle, no bubbles, and no ripples. Then an ear-piercing scream echoed out across the lake. I took off, running as fast as I could to my car and I left that place without looking back.
The police searched the lake for hours the next day. I told them about my grandmother trying to kill me and of the location of the child’s body but I knew I could not tell them what transpired with my grandma and the girl. I simply told them that I defended myself and pushed her in. However, I did tell them that my grandma confessed to murdering the girl.
Eventually, one of the divers signaled he had found something. They drove back to shore with the body of the girl.
“We found no trace of your grandmother. Are you sure she couldn’t have come back up?” The diver asked me.
The girl’s corpse maintained that petrifying grimace. This time, it was aimed for me.
I replied to the diver.
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