It was just a lake. Nothing more. Nothing less. The water was dark but that was because it was a lake. Just across the water there was a large group of trees, some standing tall and alive, others hunched over preparing for death. A few already had succumbed to the water. Some were twisted and contorted and leaning into the next tree. It looked scary but that was because it was a lake.

That's what Janie kept telling herself as she touched the water with her toes. It was cold and dirty. But that's because it was -

"Come on! Run in!"

Janie turned and didn't see a thing. She thought the voice was inside her head. She scanned the entire area that surrounded her. There wasn't a single person around. Her boyfriend had just left for a minute to go pick up another one of their friends. Janie hoped that by the time he came back she could get rid of her fear of lakes. She didn't want to look silly in front of her friends and especially her boyfriend.

The first step was cold. The second was colder. By the time the water touched Janie's knees, she had her arms crossed, shivering. Up to her waist now. She could feel the rocky bottom of the lake on her feet. She felt tiny pebbles go in between her toes.

Up to her chest, the water finally seemed to warm up. It felt almost refreshing, just as long as Janie didn't look down and see that murky water she was submerged in.

Janie started to swim around a little bit. She smiled. She had made into the lake. No problems. No worries. She wished that her boyfriend would drive back right about now and see her in the lake alone. It would make her look so cool in front of him.

"Better get out now!" the same voice yelled.

Janie searched again and found nobody near. She thought then that maybe being in the lake alone wasn't a great idea. Something could happen. Janie lowered her legs but couldn't feel the ground. She lowered her body until the water almost touched her lips. Still no ground. She started to swim slowly towards the shore. Stopping every couple seconds, Janie tried to get her footing but there wasn't any. It was like the rocky ground had disappeared.

A large crack echoed through the whole lake. Janie turned and saw that one of the large branches on what looked like a healthy tree had broken off and splashed into the water. Small ripples pushed through the water.

She turned and started paddling her legs and arms. Then something touched her foot. She stopped. Her heart was jumping in her chest. She kicked her legs. Nothing.

She swam faster only this time using just her arms.

She felt something again touch her foot.

Just debris, she thought. Lake junk - like a lily pad or some leaves. That's it. It's because it's a lake. Lakes have that kind of stuff.

She felt something touch her again. This time it was around her foot and coming up her leg.

Janie had to tell herself it was nothing as she tried to swim faster to the shore. Something was moving up her leg.

Just a really big lily pad, she thought. That's it. It's because it's a lake.

She then heard the water ripple behind her.

Janie turned and saw the tips of fingers slowly rise out of the water. The fingers became a hand. A water logged, green looking hand. It was reaching towards her.

She then realized that it was another hand that was holding her leg. Before she could scream, the hand on her leg pulled her under and the hand that had surfaced was wrapped around her neck.

As tiny bubbles were coming out Janie's mouth, she tried to see what had her. She couldn't because the water was so dark and murky.

Because it was a lake.

Her underwater screams couldn't be heard, even by her boyfriend as he pulled back up. All he saw was her body floating on the surface. He stood on the shore yelling Janie's name, hoping it was a joke.

"Save her!" a voice cried out.

Janie's boyfriend turned and saw that his friend was on the phone, hopefully with police. He wasn't sure who yelled that, but he headed the advice.

"Hurry" the same voice cried.

With his shoes off, Janie's boyfriend stepped into the cold water.

"The Lake"
Copyright: © 2009 Jim Wisneski
Visit Jim's writers blog at - visit his personal blog at - and visit his podcasting blog to hear some of his storie, novellas, and novels at Jim writes short stories, novellas, novels, and poetry. When he isn't writing, he is thinking about writing.


  1. Nice pacing and a frightful story!

  2. Nice building of suspense. Murky lakes are a playground for the imagination. Stories like this really make think twice before jumping in.

  3. There's nothing creepier that something curling up your leg when you're swimming in a dark lake. Gives me the willies. Good story.

    Jeff Posey

  4. No! Don't do it!!!!!!! LOL. Do not swim in a murky lake - ever. I have learnt that lesson now :) Excellent suspensful build-up there Jim.