Friday, May 29, 2009

A Venture

The mist lay heavily upon the lake.  John’s eyes struggled to see the shore as he steadily dipped his paddle into the water, rowing the canoe closer and closer to what had to be the dock.  Hadn’t he turned a light on before he left?  He shook his head, his eyes squinting in the darkness.  Suddenly, there was a bump on the bottom of the canoe.  The motion of the paddle ceased as John’s muscles tensed in preparation of the sudden jolt as the canoe beached itself, but it never came.  The canoe continued to glide along the smooth, black water, completely silent except for the occasional chirp of a cricket.  Then, even that ceased.

The darkness that had been nearly absolute began to fade.  John looked up, expecting to see the moon peaking from behind a cloud, but the sky was just as blank as it had been before.  He looked back down and saw that the light seemed to be coming from the water itself.  The black ripples shimmered as though exposed to some light, but there was nothing that could be causing the reflection.  The canoe continued to glide forward through the still water, as if some unseen force was pulling it through the still water.  In this strange light, John once again looked forward, searching in vain for the shore, and seeing nothing.  It seemed as though the light emanating from the water was only in the area right around the canoe, and farther off faded out again to an inky blackness.

John felt a tightness in his throat as his hands grasped the paddle convulsively.  His breath caught in his chest as he fought to control his fear.

It’s just some trick of the light, he thought, or some kind of glowing algae.

He vaguely remembered having learned in school about a luminescent bacteria that collected in the wake of ships, causing the water to glow as the ship passed through it.  He grimly hoped that that was all it was as he clenched his jaw and began to once again dip his paddle into the water, determined to clear himself of this strange glowing bacteria or whatever it was.


As soon as the paddle hit the water, the light went out, leaving John again in nothing but absolute darkness.  A gasp escaped his lips.  Slowly, his breath coming in thin streams through his unnaturally tight throat, he edged his gaze over the side of the boat.  There was nothing but blackness.  But wait, there! Somewhere deep beneath the water, he saw the faintest of lights.  He bit his lip and stared as hard as he could, rubbing his eyes with one hand, trying to dislodge the illusion, but it remained.  In fact, it seemed to be growing brighter.  And bigger.  He shook his head and looked again, but there it was, and it was definitely getting larger.  It was now at least the size of the boat, and getting bigger every second.

Panic seized John’s muscles and he dropped his oar.  Without even a splash, it sunk down into the murky depths.  He barely noticed.  His eyes were still fixed on whatever it was coming up underneath the canoe.  It was impossibly large now, stretching from horizon to horizon in every direction.  With a shock, John realized this could not possibly be the same lake he set out on.  It simply was not this big.  His mind raced, trying to think of possible explanations, but he came up empty.  It didn’t matter.  At this rate, he was bound to find out in a matter of seconds.  He looked around, searching desperately for some means of escape, but he was alone on an infinity of water, under which an infinitely large something was rising faster and faster.

In the distance, John saw something break through the water and rise into the air, higher and higher.  It was jagged and huge.  With a start, he realized it was a mountain, and it was glowing. 

It can’t be, he thought to himself, and yet what else could it be?

The mountain rose higher and higher into the sky, until it seemed like it would pierce the clouds.  Suddenly, there was a massive jolt and he was thrown from the canoe, catapulting forward into the air, his limbs searching desperately for purchase as he plummeted.  He seemed to fall for a long time.  He hit his head, and there was darkness.

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