Inspired by “The Dead Marshes” by Vindsvept

You paddle your boat across the dark, still water. You don’t know how you got here or why you have come to this place. The fog is slowly consuming your memories. It wasn’t always there. You had a home and a family once – before the fog stole them.

“Hello,” a calm voice says. You look up and see a young woman sitting opposite you in the boat. Her lace dress and knitted shawl are pale, just like her face. “You’re a Lost, aren’t you, drawn here by the fog? You must be since you’ve made it this far across the Lake Between Worlds.” She smiles. Her voice is soothing. “I’m a friend,” she says. “Here. Give me your hand.”

You can’t remember anyone showing you such kindness. You lay the paddle in your lap and hold out your hand.

The stranger takes an emerald green cloth and wraps it around your wrist. “It’s not a cure, but this will help.”

She ties a knot and a wave of cold races up your nerves, clearing your mind and your vision. Your hand is thin, bony, and ghostly white – like the hand of a corpse. The woman opposite you isn’t human but a porcelain doll with green marbles for eyes. She holds your hand in both of her own. They are smooth and unnaturally warm.

“I know of a refuge for Lost like you,” she says in the same calm, gentle voice as before. “A place where you can rest and find answers.” She points to a golden speck shining in the darkness. “It’s that way. Do you see the torches? Follow that light.”

You don’t know what to think. Doubt pours into your mind to fill the space that the fog left behind. Yet where else can you go? You dip your paddle into the lake once more, setting out toward the distant torch light.

©2019 Joyce Lewis. All rights reserved.