Halloween Writting Contest Entry 07
The following story was submitted as an entry in The Wanderer second annual Halloween Writing Contest.
The winner will be announced in the October 30, 2008 edition.
Stories will be posted on-line as they are available in print.
Only a few years ago on Halloween night, a boater named Charles was sitting in his home. His wife was relaxing by the front door taking care of the occasional trick-or-treater. Charles walked over to the fog-covered window and rubbed his palm against the glass so he could look out. He saw his sailboat in the dirt driveway and had the urge to sail it. He stepped out the front door while in telling his wife, Rachel, that he would be out for a while. She asked no questions and only slouched in her chair.
It was a quiet night and Charles could only hear his boots thumping against the rocky soil. He hooked his trailer to his truck and then drove away. He was headed for Lake Erie. It only took him fifteen minutes to reach his destination. The lake was foggy and dark but his need for the water was greater than his common sense.
He reached the middle of the lake and couldn't see anything around him. He was a tad worried about hitting rocks and finding his way home. "I'll worry about that later," Charles whispered to himself. A little shiner was attached to his hook and thrown into the water a few times. No luck.
When he decided to cast for the sixth time, he heard a woman's scream. He looked to his right and saw nothing, but to his left was a green, glowing sailboat covered in seaweed, algae, and barnacles. It was the only thing visible because of its light. The boat was halfway into the water and halfway out of the water as it was sinking. There were more screams coming from the boat. The shrieks didn't sound human-like and the boat definitely didn't look real.
"Hey! Hold on, I'm coming!" Charles screamed. The boat was sinking rapidly so he steered his sailboat over as quick as he could. He was too late. The boat had sunk and he was right over were it had. There were no extreme ripples in the water, which he found strange but he was confused at all of the strange things that had happened. Charles took his fishing rod and cast it out another time. He was frightened when he heard a woman signing a sad melody. The sound was coming from the other side of the boat. The voice sang:
When the boat fills with water
And it all goes down
Our bodies go to shore,
But our souls are never found
Only seen by the sailor on the foggy lake
On the night of our deaths
Which is now called Halloween.
Charles, wide-eyed, was sitting on the back of his boat facing the water. He slowly turned around to see more green glows coming from the other side. That is all he saw because of the sailboat's cabin in the way. He rested his fishing rod on the edge of the boat and stood up. He could see a woman, a ghostly, unreal figure, sitting on the bench at the bow. She was staring at him with mysterious eyes. A smirk spread across her face. She giggled and stood up. Heading for the edge of the boat, she gave a little wave and dove into the water. Charles almost fainted. It was time to go home.
For hours, in bed, Charles was thinking about what had gone on that evening at the lake. There was no explanation. He had the idea of going back to the exact spot he had been at the same time to the lake tomorrow evening. The idea gave him comfort. He slept until the next morning.
At last, night came. Charles sailed his boat out to somewhere around the spot he had been. He suddenly remembered something form the woman's song -- Only seen by the sailor on the foggy lake; On the night of our deaths. It was no longer Halloween, the night of the death. He waited for another half hour and gave up. He sailed his boat to the ramp and went home.
The next day, Charles went to the library and found a book about ghosts and their deaths. It was written by a local man, so it gave examples of famous deaths in the area. One stated a shipwreck on Lake Eire. It said that a woman had committed suicide by pulling out a plug in her sailboat on Halloween night in 1947. People living on the lake heard her screams and looked to see what was wrong. They saw her boat sinking and called the cops. The police arrived after the sailboat had sunk.
Her body was later recovered at a boat dock a few weeks later. She had a suicide note in her pocket. It read that she no longer had a will to live. She also said that she would live at the bottom of the water. She would only come up on the night of her death to sing to a sailor, alone on his sailboat. She would then go back to her home in the lake.
Charles put the book back quickly and thought about what he had seen that night and what he had read. It was unbelievable but it was the only logical answer to the questions from the story of the death song.