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The lake
by Katerina Charisi
2016-04-10 10:06:14
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emily01_400I was left alone in the kitchen when Frances went to see Sam. Marianne was upstairs, Brad and Michael in the back repairing cars, and I... Well, for a moment I decided to go and see Cornelia. I felt really weird when I was standing outside of her room and I thought I heard her talking to someone...? Then I changed my mind. Everything was so new to me to add any extra weight of thoughts. I was so used to live more quietly and freer to these days with all these people around me in a new house; too much already. I needed some time by myself.

I went out and the day was so beautiful, so I walked to the gate and opened it. I looked around and saw the lake shining, the cypresses embracing it with their long roots sinking in the water close to the shore and I knew I wanted to go closer and see. I closed the gate behind me and started walking, lost in my own sphere of thoughts, and soon I found myself whistling happily.


Oh, Emily. It was you, all the time. The lake was your home. The manor was your home. The Myers had their secrets, all buried in the past, wearing the mask of innocence, planned everything from the very beginning.


It took me less than I thought to get to the lake. I turned and looked back at the manor. It was standing imposingly at the top of the hill, with its bald side of the land with the dark soil and the other side with the small sheds and the oleanders, the crofts, and I could even see a part of Bradford’s makeshift garage, where the sun reflected on the cars parts. The house looked... sad. Yes, that was the feeling I got by looking at it. Sadness, loss, bitterness, unfulfilled wills. There was something about it, something that I couldn’t define, but it was there, it was all over the place, it felt that something was gone and gone forever, while the Myers were struggling to bring it back to life. I didn’t know. How could I?

I was surprised by how chillier it felt down here. The cypress forest was gone now, what remained was a denuded wetland marsh, as over a century ago the forest was strip-logged for its valuable cypress, used to build the houses in New Orleans as expanded and grew. Michael had told me that the manor he was born and lived all of his life was built of cypress removed from this very swamp. But its beauty was astonishing.

Old cypresses, elms, oaks, a still shining water and a silence that made my ears buzz. I walked carefully closer to the water and felt the soft and alive earth under my feet, having and urge feeling to walk barefoot, like wanting to become part of its own history. Maybe it was just my own need to be part of something solid and united, part of something I never had. I sat on a fallen dry log and sank in my thoughts.

emily02_400From somewhere in distance I heard a car passing by. My thoughts interrupted by occasional noises in the lake; a little splash in the water, a rustling of leaves, a creak in the woods. It was like every sound was a note in a melody with a special rhythm. Every sound felt lulling, like the place was alive, trying to seduce a live soul, to invite it to its depths, like an ancient calling.

I resisted with some effort to close my eyes and let myself go into that weird feeling of the calling. I don’t know why, but I felt that I shouldn’t let myself go yet; After all, it was an unknown place to me, I didn’t feel so sure to let my defenses loose. Not that I felt any danger though. I think that it had to do with the fact I was all by myself since a very young age. I was used to be always alarmed and cautious. Living alone wasn’t that easy, in fact at times, was harder than someone could think.

I remembered when I first moved to my small apartment in New Orleans, I slept with a kitchen knife under my pillow every night. It was funny now that I was thinking about it, but so true. It was a new place, I knew no one, I loved the place, I liked my life, but at nights everything turned to be different or more intense, loneliness was lonelier, anxiety was fear, insecurity felt stronger. I had a feeling that someone could break in my house and... Oh, how silly I was, wasn’t I? I mean, even if someone would break in, how could I possibly defend myself? Sleeping with a knife under my pillow made me feel safer, though. Of course, that didn’t last longer than few weeks. When I got attached to the place and got to know it better, every street, every corner, its days and nights, its people, I calmed down.

Something was caught in the corner of my eyes and turned my head. I blinked as I thought I didn’t see well, or maybe the sunlight reflecting on the water made my sight playing games. It wasn’t there. It was nothing. But I could swear I saw it. I saw her. For a single split second, I swear with my hand on my heart, I saw a woman in a white long dress at the other side of the lake. Like she was... No. That was absolutely impossible, she couldn’t actually be in the water. She must stood at the shore of the other side. But still, no one was there.



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