In the Gray Lake
by Karen Lynn
The Priestess waited.
There was nothing to do by the lake but wait. The nearest trace of civilization was more than a week away, and even then, the cookfires were far apart, and the best entertainment was the sound of snoring bedmates.
Nevertheless, the sacrifices had been made, and the bloodless bodies hung over the water, their arms dangling.
The water reflected nothing, but it had claimed the victims’ blood quickly. At first, she’d taken that as a good sign. An acceptable sacrifice. An eager deity. But the blood swirled in the waves, and disappeared, and the goddess had not arrived. The Priestess had no choice but to wait.
She hadn’t slept in days, and the scant stores of food she’d brought with her had dwindled, first to the point of rationing, and then to nothing. She got used to being hungry. She got used to being alone. She got used to the foggy, half-visions that came when sleep did not.
The wind blew harder, and the half-visions snarled around her long-numb feet.
She wondered how long she could last.
Lakewater and dried leaves kept her alive.
Ice appeared on the lake and thickened, and when the snow fell, she was no longer certain she could stand. Her disciples froze on their gallows; the wind dried the bodies, and the goddess did not come.
The ice thawed. The Priestess’ arms were as gaunt as the leafless trees in December, and her ribcage arched higher than her belly. She crept toward the ice on her bleeding hands, and kept going. She slipped, and did not have the strength to rise again. Nothing was certain, except for the fact that she would die. She would die, soon. She kept moving. Inch by inch. She pulled herself forward, toward thinner and thinner ice.
The ice groaned, and she moved forward.
It cracked, and she still moved forward.
And when the sun came out–when she could no longer move, at all–the ice split, and gave way.
She fell through it, into water that was so cold she could still feel it, even in her half-dead toes.
She could feel it, when she breathed it into her lungs.
When she sank.
And her dying brain saw grayness everywhere.
Be sure you visit some of the other stories in the blog hop!
You are Here—>In the Gray Lake, by Karen Lynn
The Right Honorable Brotherhood of Spirits, Poltergeists and Ghosts, by Vanessa Wells
Life of a Pumpkin, by Bill Bush
Why Should I?, by Gina Fabio
Reaper, by Juneta Key
Snow White Tabloid Style, by Fannie Suto
Starving Artist, by Samantha Bryant
The Halloween Dance, by Barbara Lund
The Ghost In My Yard, by Elizabeth McCleary
Her Majesty, by Katharina Gerlach
Chris Bridges Posting Storytime Blog Hop. Give her shout out and say Hello!
Black Moon, by Lauren M. Catherine
Poe’s Heart, by J. Q. Rose
Hanks A Lot, by Joe Bouchard