The Big City
A The Ones Who Call story
Start at the beginning of The Ones Who Call series
"But we've had these tickets for months." Dani said. "What's so important that you'd skip on the concert now?"
Jennie shrugged helplessly. "It's just...family stuff, I guess."
Dani rolled her eyes. "God. Did your mom ground you again or something? We weren't out that late last Friday."
Jennie rubbed at her temples as she switched the phone to her other ear. It seemed like they'd had this conversation dozens of times in the last month. Dani couldn't understand why her friend was suddenly so unwilling to do so many of the things she'd always loved before, like going cruising around the countryside with their older friends or hitching lifts into Fort Qu'Appelle to go rent movies. And Jennie certainly couldn't tell her the real reason. Her mother had been very clear on that.
"No one is supposed to know what we are, Jennie." Noreen had said. "No one. Not your friends, not your teachers. No one."
Jennie chewed at her knuckle as Dani continued on her tirade about how lame Jennie's mother was. It was killing her not to be able to let her friend in on the secret. They'd been friends pretty much forever, and they'd never kept secrets from each other before. Even when Jennie had stolen Dani's favorite pair of jeans (the ones she'd been jealous of for months) and claimed that they must have left them behind at the beach, she'd eventually come clean and apologized when the strain of lying to her friend had gotten too much to bear.
Worse, Jennie had really wanted to go to this concert. Regina was far enough off of the major concert circuit that few of the really good bands stopped by on their way between Vancouver and Toronto. When Jennie had found out that Dream Arena, practically her favorite band in existence, would be doing a show only a 45 minute drive away from her house, she'd freaked out. It had taken three months of allowance and all of her savings to buy the ticket, and now it was all wasted.
All because of her stupid family's stupid curse.
"I gotta go, Dani." She said, interrupting her friend's rant. "I—um—don't feel well."
"Oh." Dani sounded hurt. "Well, just think about it, okay? I mean, if we say that you're at my house studying, your mom will never find out."
Jennie frowned. She'd completely missed her friend's explanation of her plan to sneak Jennie to the concert, but even if it had been ten times better than the plans Dani usually came up with, it wouldn't have worked. Dani didn't know, and couldn't know, that Jennie would die if she got too far away from her family's ancestral lakes and streams.
Dani mumbled a half-hearted goodbye and hung up the phone, and Jennie threw her own receiver at the pile of pillows on her bed. This sucked.
Finding out that her family came from a bloodline of ancient water spirits had been amazing at first. After her family had revealed themselves to her, she had discovered a tunnel in the pond outside her house. It led her to the heart of Crooked Lake, deep below the spring ice still covering the surface. She'd spent hours exploring the murky depths, and had eventually been joined by her older cousin, Alex.
Seeing his familiar face twisted and distorted by the strange, delicate new bone structure and covered silver fish-like skin had taken some getting used to, as had the feeling of drawing the cold lake water into her lungs. But both of these discomforts had been forgotten when compared to the sensation of drifting effortlessly through the water like a ghost. She didn't swim, precisely, but each movement of her arms sent her gliding through the water as though it were air. It was exhilarating. She'd never imagined that anything could move like her people did, swirling and spiralling easily through the dark waters of the lake, passing the sluggish fish as quickly and easily as a bird flew overhead.
Even Alex, who was a self-proclaimed car nut, had to admit that he enjoyed 'flying through the water' even more than driving his prized Torino. After several hours, they had finally climbed out of the pond and sat, panting and laughing in the chill night air. Jennie had found it strange that the frozen waters of the lake had seemed merely cool to her skin, but that the much warmer night air felt so cold that she'd shivered uncontrollably. Alex had explained that their ability to resist the cold only worked so long as they were in contact with the waters of their people. Jennie had tested that theory, slipping back into the pond. As expected, the water felt blessedly warm after the biting cold of the air above, even though ice still circled the edges of the dugout.
Her mother had come out of the house then and scolded them both for 'doing that out in public'. The family's front yard, screened from the highway by a thick copse of trees, was hardly public property, but Noreen had reminded them both that the neighboring houses, a mere 10 minute walk from where they lived, could see the pond from through their windows.
"Yeah, with binoculars." Jennie had replied, but her cousin seemed cowed by Noreen's warning. Apparently, being found out for what they were was a crime so terrible that no one would tell her what the punishment for it would be.
There were so many rules, and so few solid answers about her people. When she'd asked why Alex could live on his farm outside of the valley while the rest of them were trapped inside, her mother had explained that his house was built over a spring that ran into the valley. The waters were enough to keep the curse from affecting him while he was inside the house, and he carried a large bottle of spring water with him whenever he was out ploughing the fields or buying supplies in town.
Jennie mulled over this as she stared out of her bedroom window at the moonlight reflecting off of the lake. If Alex could leave the valley, why hadn't anyone else tried it? Were they so scared of the ancient shaman's curse that they wouldn't even try to leave? She hopped off of the stool she'd been standing on and began to pace around her room. Maybe, in the old days, there'd been no reason for anyone to leave. They could always go into the town of Fort Qu'Appelle, which was located just a little further west in the valley, if they wanted to shop or watch a movie.
The more Jennie thought about it, the more she became convinced that no one in her family had ever come up with a plan to leave the valley. She felt a tight, warm excitement in her chest, the same feeling she always got when she'd come up with a sneaky prank or clever plan that she couldn't wait to try out. If Alex could take water out of the valley, then why couldn't she?
She checked the hallways to make sure her mother couldn't overhear her, and then called Dani back.
"Omigod, this is going to be so awesome!" Dani was so excited that she was nearly vibrating, and Jennie felt much the same way.
Everything had gone perfectly so far. She'd told her mother that she was going to be staying at Dani's house for the weekend so that they could work on their geography assignment together. Then, while her mother was away at work, Jennie had snuck down into the basement and found her mother's hiking backpack. It was the sort that had a water tank inside it so that the hiker could drink without stopping. This pack was now hidden inside her red and black backpack, and no one had even commented on it. She always tended to carry her backpack with her instead of a purse, so not even Dani had noticed that there was anything out of the ordinary about her.
Not that Dani would have noticed anything that wasn't Dream Arena related at the moment, but Jennie thought it was best to be cautious. She might be disobeying her mother by sneaking away from home, but she wasn't about to mess up by giving away their family secret by being careless.
She felt both terrified and excited as the truck crested the top of the hill. She had never been out of the valley before and was looking forward to seeing the rest of the countryside, but at the same time she wasn't entirely sure how the curse would affect her. She held her breath, but felt only a brief tingle of heat course through her body as they continued on the highway.
Dani's brother glanced sideways at her from the driver's seat. "You okay? You look at little pale."
She nodded and took a sip from her water bottle, which was also filled with water from the valley. The feeling passed. "Yeah. Just a little carsick, I guess."
Dani's brother laughed. "Well, don't be sick in my truck, okay?"
Jennie promised that she wouldn't, and then went back to staring out the window at the broad expanse of prairie rolling past them. She'd seen pictures of it before, of course, but there was something hypnotizing about the endless horizon stretching in all directions. At times, it seemed like the truck wasn't moving at all, but that an endless stream of fence posts and telephone poles had begun to parade past. Jennie was mesmerized, and felt a little exposed without the comforting hills of her home around her.
Dani, who had been to Regina plenty of times before, hardly seemed to notice the scenery. She chatted endlessly about the upcoming concert, and her excitement was infectious. By the time the city came into view on the horizon, the two girls were talking so quickly that Dani's brother had simply turned up the radio rather than try to follow the conversation. He dropped them off near the concert hall and told them to give him a call when the concert was over.
The two girls got into line outside the concert hall. The doors didn't open until 7:00, so they had some time to kill. They stood around chatting about their favorite Dream Arena songs and comparing their knowledge of the lead singer's love life until Jennie suddenly felt weak and feverish. She sipped at her water bottle, but while the fever disappeared, she continued to feel a little unsteady on her feet.
"God, are you alright?" Dani asked as Jennie leaned heavily against the wall. "You look sick."
"I'll be fine." Jennie said. "I think those burgers we had for supper didn't agree with me."
Dani didn't seem to believe Jennie's reassurances that she was fine, and hovered protectively close as Jennie sat down on one of the concrete dividers. Jennie joked around, trying to convince them both that she would be fine once they got inside the concert hall, but she was starting to get nervous. Her water bottle was nearly empty, and she worried that she would run out of lake water before the concert was over. She promised herself that she would sip at the water more slowly from now on, and would just have to ignore the sickly hot feeling that was beginning to prick at her skin.
More and more people were arriving now, and Dani went to hold their place in line so that they'd be near the front when the doors opened. Jennie surreptitiously refilled her water bottle from the tank in her backpack and then went to join Dani. She stumbled as she stood, feeling a terrible nausea sweep through her, and tried to pretend that she'd merely tripped on her own feet.
Dani was watching her carefully as Jennie joined her in line. "You sure you're alright? We can call my brother if you're really sick."
"No." Jennie said quickly. "No, I'm fine, really. Besides, they're just about to open the doors. I'll just get some aspirin or something from a vending machine once we're inside."
Dani looked like she wanted to argue, but the crowd suddenly began moving as the doors were unchained and held open. Jennie felt trapped as the mob pressed in on her from all sides. She wasn't used to this many people in such close proximity to her, and no one seemed to care how much they pushed or shoved her. She had a brief moment of panic when a tall man shoved between her and Dani and she lost sight of her friend's pink-tipped hair in the crowd. She stopped dead, letting the crowd shove their way past her, and looked around frantically.
Dani was standing by the entrance to the stairs, waving for her to catch up. Jennie let out the breath that she'd been holding and darted towards her.
They climbed several flights upwards before they found their seats. Jennie had heard that the concert hall was large, but she had imagined it as only being a little larger than the bleachers that had been set up during the All-Nations Pow Wow that their reserve had hosted several years ago. This stadium was so large that they could have held twenty Pow Wows inside it. Jennie craned her neck up, staring at the intricate network of metal rafters overhead, and then tried to locate the stage.
"It's all the way over there?" She squinted down at the tiny square several levels below her.
Dani sighed and rolled her eyes. "Yeah. That's what we get for buying cheap seats."
"Those were the cheap tickets?" Jennie could hardly believe it. She squinted down at the people filing into the seats below. "Jeez... How much are the ones right by the stage?"
Dani laughed. "You really, really don't want to know."
The girls settled in to await the opening act. Dani pulled out a bag of chips that she'd smuggled in and offered some to Jennie, but Jennie was still feeling sick to her stomach. Worse, her head was now starting to pound. She caught herself taking a long pull from her water bottle and had to force herself to stop before the bottle was empty. When she stopped drinking, the headache came back worse than it had been before.
Jennie gritted her teeth and tried to ignore her discomfort by flipping through the pamphlet she'd been given. They still had well over an hour until Dream Arena took the stage, and the performance would go on for at least an hour and a half after that. She would have to make the water last if she was going to make it to the end of the concert.
Dani continued to chatter away, and Jennie was finding it increasingly harder to try and match her friend's level of enthusiasm for the concert. Dani, seeming to sense this, gave Jennie a chance to rest and turned to talk to the group of older boys who were sitting beside them. Jennie was glad for the chance to just sit quietly and gather her strength. She watched the distant figures of the opening band's roadies scrambling around the stage as they conducted sound checks and set out the band's instruments.
Finally, the lights dimmed and an announcer walked onto stage to introduce the opening act. Jennie had never heard of them before, but she was grateful that things were underway. Her nausea had subsided, but it had been replaced by a terrible thirst and an ominous ache in her joints. She felt like she was coming down with the flu, and when she checked her forehead, it was hot to the touch. She stripped off her sweater, wondering if anyone else in the thick press of people felt claustrophobic.
Luckily, Dani seemed oblivious to her friend's discomfort as the opening act came out on stage and started to play. She hooted and applauded while Jennie did her best just to remain upright and pretend to smile. She didn't want to ruin the concert for her friend, and was content to just sit and listen to the band play. They weren't half bad, even if the bassist seemed to be drunk enough that was a wonder that he hadn't yet passed out into the front row. Dani glanced down at her as she got up and started to dance, and Jennie gave her what she hoped was a reassuring smile.
The opening band was four or five songs in when Jennie decided she couldn't take it anymore. The fever had really taken hold now, and the air around her seemed so hot that it burned. She put on her backpack and stood up, surprised at how weak she felt. The backpack now felt like it was full of bricks, not water.
"I'm going to the bathroom." She yelled into Dani's ear. "Be right back."
She wasn't sure if Dani had heard her over the din, but her friend nodded and then patted her cell phone, indicating that Jennie could call her if she got lost. Jennie smiled and pushed her way through the crowd to the blissfully empty aisle. She nearly ran back down the stairs to the ladies room. Several women were in line when she got there, but she made her way past them to the dirty sinks. The cold water felt amazing as she splashed it on her face and arms, and she wondered if she could get away with spending the entire concert in the bathroom.
She very quickly came to the conclusion that her earlier plan was not going to work. Her water supply wasn't going to last until the end of the concert, let alone until the next day when they were supposed to return. She felt a thrill of fear when she realized that her concern now shouldn't be whether or not she could hold out until the end of the concert, but whether or not she could survive until she got home.
She chewed at her lip and stared at herself in the mirror, overcome by anxiety. She looked terrible. She'd expected her cheeks to be flushed with fever, but instead her skin was pale and dry. She peeled a flake off of her nose and stared at in horror. What was she going to do?
She remembered Dani telling her about how she'd had to catch a bus back to Fort Qu'Appelle with her brother before he'd bought his truck. Jennie, who had never been on a bus anywhere, was curious about it had worked, and had pestered her friend with questions. It was hard to recall the details of their conversation through the fever-fog in her brain, but she thought she remembered Dani mentioning that the bus station was downtown.
Jennie retraced her steps to the ticket counter at the front, and asked the man behind the desk if he knew where the bus depot was. He gave her directions and asked if she would like him to call a cab for her. She nearly hugged him, for she'd been planning to walk the twelve blocks to the depot, and the thought of calling for a ride had never occurred to her. Shakily, made her way out into the cool night air and sat on the concrete divider to await her cab.
By the time she reached the bus depot, she felt like she was burning from the inside out. Her skin felt tight and as dry as rawhide, and she realized with horror that she was clutching her wallet so tightly that her knuckles had cracked open. Thin red lines crisscrossed the joints, but no blood flowed from the wounds. She yelped and hid her hand, swapping her wallet to her left hand as she waited for the cab driver to give her some change. Then, she darted inside and ran to the nearest open ticket counter.
"When's the next bus to Fort Qu'Appelle?" She asked.
The tight-lipped woman in the transit uniform turned a bored gaze upon her. "There's one leaving in fifteen minutes, but it's full."
Jennie bit at her lip to hold back the tight feeling in her throat. "Is there any way I can switch with someone?" She said. "I really gotta get home. It's important. I'm...I'm sick."
The woman frowned and leaned forward to get a better look at her. She took in the young Native girl's torn jeans, black t-shirt, heavy mascara and blood-shot eyes, then pursed her lips in disgust. "We don't allow anyone high on the bus. Company policy."
Jennie would have broken into frustrated tears had her tear ducts been working properly. She clenched her fists so tightly that she felt more skin crack and flake off. "I'm not high! I'm just sick. I...I forgot my medicine back at home and I really, really need to get back so I can take it. You can even call my mom. She'll tell you. She's really worried about me right now."
The lie seemed to work. The woman sighed and turned back to her computer. After a few moments of endless clicking, she finally turned back to Jennie and took her credit card. "They're already boarding, so you'll have to be quick."
Jennie scooped up her tickets and the receipt as soon as the woman handed them over and then ran towards the loading area as fast as her unsteady legs would take her. In her head, she was trying to remember how long it had taken them to get into the city by truck. Dani's brother had driven fast, and it had only taken them a half an hour to get to the city, but she knew that buses were slower and had to stop often to pick up new passengers. Could she hold on for forty minutes? An hour?
She would have to. She didn't want to think of what would happen if her supply of lake water ran out before she reached the valley.
She slumped down into her seat and hugged her backpack tightly to her chest. The water tank felt terribly light, but the sound of water sloshing around in its bottom was the only comfort she had.
This was a stupid idea. She thought bitterly. I shouldn't have tried to leave the valley. I knew what would happen if I did.
She wasn't sure how long she'd been huddled in the seat before everyone finished boarding and the bus rattled into life, but when the bus lurched forward at the first stoplight, she nearly slid out of her seat. The woman sitting next to her grabbed her by the shoulder to steady her, and the touch of her fingers digging into Jennie's flesh was agony. She cried out and flinched away from the woman, pressing herself into the cool metal of the bus' side. The grandmotherly woman stared at her in dismay and then pointedly turned away and pretended to be interested in the scenery.
Jennie hardly noticed the other woman's discomfort. It was difficult to care about much of anything except her pain. Her mouth and throat were so dry that every breath she took felt like it was rubbing her insides raw. Her tongue felt swollen, and her skin felt like it was stretched so tightly across her body that it was beginning to tear every time she moved. She squeezed her eyes shut and pulled her hood over her head, trying to block out the noise and light of the world so that she could focus on simply enduring the ride. Every minute she could hold on for brought her a little closer to home, and to help.
Her mother would know what to do. She kept repeating that phrase to herself as she fought back panic. Her mother would take her to the lake and everything would be all right. Except that her mother didn't know that anything was wrong, and no one knew where she was right now. Jennie wished she'd been smart enough to call home while she was still at the bus station, and then whimpered quietly to herself as another wave of white-hot anguish flowed through her.
She was being consumed. She had no other thoughts but her pain and her fear. She struggled to remain awake, to hold on just a little longer, but it was getting harder and harder to even draw in a breath. She imagined herself simply fading away to dust, right here in the bus, and wondered how the woman next to her would take it.
She lay back and let the inferno consume her.
THUM thumthumthum THUM thumhumthum THUM...
She hung alone in the dark.
There were no stars. There was no sky. There was just the endless emptiness of the world before creation, and her blazing light in the center of it. Like a tree ever-burning, she could feel the flames consuming her, her flesh flaking away into ash even as her body repaired itself.
There was pain, but the pain was as irrelevant as up or down in this in-between place. She was aware only of the void around her, and of the low, pulsating noise that called to her from somewhere out in the dark. The sound was barely louder than a whisper, but she could feel each beat vibrating through her as though she were the skin of a drum.
A light appeared in the distance. In the midst of so much nothingness was as shocking to her as the sudden rush of perspective. The concept of far returned to her mind, and she began to walk towards the distant spot on the horizon. Each of her footsteps fell in time with the beat thrumming through her and all around her.
THUM thumthumthum THUM thumthumthum THUM...
As she neared it, the spot of light resolved itself into a campfire. The flames that danced inside the ring of stones seemed dim and cold compared to her inner torment, but they were bright enough to illuminate the man who sat beside them. He was unaware of her presence, but stared into the flames before him as he beat upon a deerskin drum.
She felt pain then, but it was not the pain of her own burning. She knew this man. She loved him, and he had been taken from her a long time ago.
The shock of this realization was so great that she went to her knees and stared at him through the flames of the campfire. His face seemed at once strange to her, and as familiar and comforting as if she'd known him her whole life. She reached towards him, the light from her flaming skin tracing shadows across his cheek and lips, but if he felt the heat of her presence, he did not acknowledge it. He continued to beat upon the drum, and then began to sing. His voice, so high and clear in the silent world, made her heart flutter strangely in recognition.
He sang a wordless song of loss, a mourning song of such sorrow that she longed for him to stop. Tears of fire streamed down her face, and she saw her own pain reflected in his features. She tried to call out to him and reassure him that she was there, that they could be together again, but no words came from her parched throat. She tried to reach for him again, but found that the song held her wrapt and immobile. She could only watch from the flames as he stood and began to dance around the fire, pouring out his grief to the empty skies.
Then, as his song was reaching its crescendo, a great roaring drown out all other noise. She looked up to see a torrent of water crashing towards them. Suddenly released from her paralysis, she leaped forward and wrapped her arms around him as the wall of water towered overhead.
He seemed shocked to find someone else there and nearly pulled away from her burning glory. Then, surprise and recognition spread across his features and he returned the embrace, squeezing her tightly.
The water crashed down all around them.
She clung to his chest, but it was no use. The pain of her previous burning was nothing compared to the feeling of the turbulent water sweeping over her. She could feel herself beginning to break apart as the renewing fires of her body were doused. He cried out silently as she was torn away from his grip, and she watched helplessly as the crush of water swept down into his lungs. In seconds, she'd lost sight of him in the dim, murky waters.
Bits of her body flaked off. Her arms snapped off easily, like twigs, and drifted away from her. Smaller chunks of ash trailed after them, the remnants of her shoulder, and she had the brief impression that she was still reaching after him even without her arms. The water tumbled her over and over, sloughing off more pieces of her body. She could feel her face crumbling in on itself, and her last glimpse of this world were the trails of black flesh that flowed away from her eyes like tears.
Water replaced void, though it was no less black and empty. The ache of loneliness was all that remained of her, and even that sensation was fading, drifting away on dark waters.
Jennie gasped in a lungful of water. She thrashed, still caught in the dark waters of her dream, and was amazed to find that she had a body to move. Firm hands caught her and held her still, and after several seconds of panic she was able to realize that the waters she floated in were comforting and still, not the raging torrent she'd just experienced.
A hand caressed her cheek and she opened her eyes to see her mother's face. Or, rather, something that looked mostly like her mother's face. There was algae growing on her mottled skin and long, feathery weeds had replaced her hair, but the face was still undeniably her mother's. She stared urgently at her daughter, her eyes darting over every inch of Jennie's face as if she had not seen her in years, and then her features crumpled into an expression of delighted anguish. She hugged Jennie tight, and Jennie found herself returning the embrace with a desperate strength. Underwater, sound and tears were both lost to the depths, but Jennie was sure that they were both crying.
Jennie sank back after a moment, still weak from her ordeal. Noreen took her by the arm and began to drag her back to shore. They surfaced under an unfamiliar dock, and Noreen peered around to make sure they were alone before boosting Jennie up onto shore overhead. The rocky, trash strewn grown felt wonderfully cool to her skin as she lay panting on the ground.
Jennie watched as her mother hauled herself out of the water, marvelling at how the strange features melted away as soon as she left the water. "How did you find me?" Jennie asked.
Noreen took a moment to get her breath back before she responded. "When you passed out on the bus, they looked through your wallet and found our phone number. I got here as fast as I could." Then, the relief on Noreen's face turned to anger. "That was a very stupid thing you did, Jennie."
Jennie face felt hot, but it was not the curse this time. She looked up at the night sky, shaking her head helplessly as she tried to explain what had possessed her to try leaving the reserve. "I know, Mom. I thought I had it all figured out, but it was so stupid. I don't even know why I tried. I...I thought I was going to die."
Her mother looked at her sternly. "You almost did. You were hardly breathing when I got to you, and they were gonna call an ambulance. I had to convince them that you were allergic to peanuts so they'd let me take you back to the car." Her mother's face crumpled up again, and she reached over and pulled Jennie tight against her side. "You stopped breathing then, and I thought I was going to lose you."
Noreen stopped speaking, but leaned down and pressed a hard kiss on the top of Jennie's head. Jennie felt herself start to cry, and she didn't try to hide her tears. She sobbed, too overwhelmed by fear and shame and bitter frustration at having gotten herself into such trouble over something as stupid as a concert. Her mother held her close and stroked her wet, tangled hair until the chilly night air left them both numb and shivering.
"C'mon up, my girl. We've got to get you to the car before someone notices us out here." Her mother said, and helped her to her feet. With her arm over her mother's shoulders, Jennie was able to stumble to the vehicle and collapsed gratefully into the passenger's seat as soon as her mother had opened the door for her. Noreen got into the driver's seat and fired up the engine to circulate warm air through the vehicle, but didn't start driving yet. She let the car idle as she stared out at the lake and rubbed feeling back into her hands.
The silence stretched on for a long time before Noreen spoke. "You've always been the smart one, you know. So smart, so careful. I really thought you weren't going to be as dumb as I was at your age."
Her mother's words shocked Jennie. "You mean—?"
Noreen finished the sentence for her, nodding her head. "Yeah. I tried sneaking away when I first found out, too. Went out cruising with a guy I had my eye on." Jennie's mother smiled grimly to herself at the memory. "It scared him so bad that he left the reserve and never came back, and then your grandmother, she made me clean out the outhouse for the next year."
Jennie was stunned. The thought of her serious, responsible mother disobeying the rules and sneaking away to be with a boy was almost too much for her to deal with at that moment. She laughed, and then clapped her hands over her mouth. Her mother snorted and glanced sideways at her.
"Go ahead and laugh. It's actually pretty funny, now that I'm older." Noreen said. Then she patted Jennie on the knee and handed her a tissue to wipe her face with. Considering that she was soaking wet, Jennie thought it was a bit futile, but the concern behind the gesture touched her just the same.
"So. Are you going to try it again?" Noreen asked.
Jennie shook her head. "God, no. I was dumb enough to try it once, but I don't want to go through that again!"
"Ok then." Her mother said. "Let's go home and get into some dry clothes."
The car pulled out onto the road that followed the lake back to their reserve, and as they sped past the dark waters, Jennie wondered if the shaman and his fiancée had ever found one another underneath the lake or if they drifted still, forever lost and forever alone.
That thought would haunt her dreams for many nights to come.
Story by Alina Pete, Copyright 2011
Image by Tara Willett, Copyright 2011