The Lake

Sam liked to fish. He loved it. He spent hours talking about it, days pouring over maps of where to fish, and weeks planning his fishing trips. This week he was excited, as he packed up his truck  “Old Blue”.

His canoe,tackle  and camping gear went into the back of the dinged up pickup.  His cooler was a close second, secured right up front on the bench seat, and filled to the very top with beer and ice.  Clothes, he didn’t consider too important, so they got bundled up into a tight wad and stuffed somewhere in the back seat.  Sam figured that they’d be okay back there if he felt the effort to change into something that didn’t smell like fish.

Several hours and a few dozen country songs later, Sam turned off onto the trunk road.  Slamming “Old Blue ” into four wheel drive, gears grinding painfully. Sam happily bounced along over ruts, rocks and a few small trees.  The winkle of deep blue appeared now and then between the trees as he approached “The Spot.” as he had privately dubbed it.   Sam had been looking at Google Earth at work one day, rather than working and had discovered that there was a small lake up this road.   Odd, since he’d grown up in the area and never remembered seeing or hearing about it before.

He had hunted up some  maps, asked the guys at fishing store, but no one seemed to know anything about the place.  In Sams mind that meant only one thing.  It was his.   All his, and there must be fish.

His heart beat faster as he slowed the truck to a crawl and realized that he could just manage to turn off the road and into a narrow overgrown lane that led right down to the waters edge.  He stopped the truck close to the steep edge, grabbed a beer from the cooler and stepped out to take a look.

The lake was small, maybe a mile and a half long.   The sun sparkled along its surface and the light breeze tossed the occasional wave up against the rocky shoreline just below him.  Cracking open his beer, a loon’s call echoed from across the lake as he looked around for a place to set up camp.   Leaning back against the front bumper of his truck, he looked around for a place to set up his camp for the weekend. As far as he could see, there was no other signs of life.   Just him, the lake and a whole forest around it.

Sam couldn’t believe it, he was still astonished that no one could recall this lake at all.  It was perfect.  Looking down at the pink shale that crunched underfoot, he walked further down towards the shore to investigate,  using the occasional shrub as a handhold to keep himself from sliding right into the lake below.   Reaching the water, he bent down to flip over rocks, searching for signs of life.   A crawdad or two would be good, perhaps some other hatches.

The steep incline was having another effect that Sam wasn’t aware of.   His old pickup truck had had a long and busy life.   With only first gear holding it in place, it popped out and the truck began to roll.  Picking up speed , it headed straight for the lake and for Sam.

Sam didn’t have a chance. By the time he turned at the noise, the truck was on top of him and carried him straight into the deep water, with a splash. Burbling a few times, it disappeared beneath the dark tannin waters.

No one ever knew there was a lake there.

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Filed under Short Stories by Claudia Lane

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