Monday, July 21, 2014

Fossil Lake, Part One

Fossil Lake was a murky grey that, while the locals had grown accustomed to it, those vacationing to their cabins in the high hills surrounding the lake always found it disconcerting. Some would question why the lake was murky, while others would avoid it entirely. The locals, ranchers and shepherds for the most part, stayed clear of the lake and advised any and all who came to visit the rural countryside to do the same.

“The lake has always been grey,” one shepherd would say. “Due to the high amounts of clay in the water.”
“Fishing’s good on the lake,” another would say. “So long as you fish off the pier.”
For most who would visit Fossil Lake, this was a mildly disappointing issue that they would never really pursue. Some would fish off the pier, catching bony spine fish and blind freshwater eel; others would take to the trails through the forest, walking along them and ignoring the lake entirely. But every night, as the wind picked up and the temperature dropped, a low fog would roll out over the waters of Fossil Lake, and everyone who lived in the area knew: lock your doors.
But for five college students coming out to Fossil Lake to have a good time, they were unaware of the rules that governed the strange body of water. They assumed that it was like any other lake, just murky.
How wrong they could be.
-*-
“How much further till we reach your uncles cabin?” Whined a red headed girl in a sundress from the passenger seat of the rough and tumble van that had long ago lost its shocks. The driver looked over at her for a brief second and smiled.
“We’re almost there Clarissa, calm down.”
“We’ve been driving for four hours now, and you’ve been saying that for the last half hour Jake,” Clarissa griped, looking out the passenger window at the forest passing them by. “Ever since we entered this forest we’ve been lost.”
“Hey we’re not lost!” Jake laughed, looking in his rear view mirror. “Kevin, are we on the right track?”
The black haired youth, holding out a map in front of him while puffing on a hand rolled cigarette, merely shook his head. “I can say with no amount of uncertainty that we are lost Jake.”
“What? How could we be lost? You said going through the woods would bring us up to country road!”
“I may have read the map wrong,” Kevin said, taking a long pull off his cigarette and holding it in. “I’ve never been good with the damn things.”
“Kevin, you’re a geography major,” a girl to his right, ebon skinned with a tight black ponytail, said.
“I’m a geography major that focuses on the Middle East,” Kevin corrected. “I can’t make heads or tails of this American map.”
“This is what we get for letting the pot head guide us,” the girl laughed, taking the cigarette from his mouth and taking a long drag. “We get lost, but at least we’re lost and high.”
“Now you see things my way Sandra,” Kevin said, not moving to take his joint back. “Besides, all roads lead to Rome, or to your Uncle’s cabin in this instance. I say when we see civilization again we stop and ask for directions.”
“We’re driving through the middle of the woods Kevin, when do you think we’ll see civilization again?” A surly voice asked from the back seat, a heavier man leaning up onto the middle seat.
“Jason, just relax,” Sandra said, blowing smoke in his face. “We’ll get there. We have a whole week with no assignments, no papers, no tests… no more work!”
“Always one to look on the bright side, eh Sandra?” Clarissa laughed, looking back.
Sandra shrugged. “I just took my Econ midterm and I couldn’t stand another minute of that creepy professor looking at me. A week without him is a week gladly spent.”
“You always hear how difficult getting an economics degree is, but you never hear about the creepy professors…” Kevin mused, pulling another hand-rolled joint from his front pocket, a light from his jeans.
“Seriously, I would have reported him by now.” Clarissa said.
“All he does is stare, and he has tenure. No way would anything come of it, save for me getting a failing grade for reporting him.”
“Still, it’s the principle of the thing,” Jason said from the back. “If some creepy little professor was staring at my girlfriend, I’d tell him off.”
Sandra looked back, taking a drag off of her joint with a smile. “Well it’s a good thing we’re not dating then, isn’t it Jason?”
Jason just crossed his arms as Kevin and Jake sniggered at the remark, Clarissa giggling. It was a known fact that Jason had the hots for Sandra, and often went out of his way to try and prove how good a boyfriend he would make. But she wasn’t interested in jocks, as she would plainly put it, along with the fact she didn’t have time to have a relationship right now. The only way she was able to afford the State University was a series of grants that she had to maintain a strict 3.0 average. While that might not sound difficult, it was something she took seriously. Her bags had several of her textbooks packed away in them for “light” reading when she would inevitably grow bored of her time at the lake.
Clarissa majored in paleontology, which was why she was excited that they were visiting Fossil Lake. Its namesake came from the fact that fossils from the bottom of the lake regularly washed up on shore, and that beneath the rocky sand one could find dozens if not hundreds of fossilized sea creatures. Large fish and long eels set into stone could be found beneath the grainy sand of the beach if one spent enough time digging; and she planned to do a lot of digging, as well as forcing Jake to help her as her dutiful boyfriend.

1 comment:

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