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Games of the Mist (standard:fantasy, 8220 words)
Author: J.A. AarntzenAdded: Nov 01 2005Views/Reads: 2353/2874Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A married couple are visited upon by apparitions in the early morning mist upon a serene lake.

Games of the Mist 

Coming toward him through the eerie veil of the early morning mist was
the vague and shadowy shape of a soundless aboriginal vessel that may 
have emerged from some distant and forgotten past.  Paddling silently 
yet menacingly was a solitary figure that kept a firm yet fluid 
posture.  Each stroke seemed more designed as a passage through the 
fabric of time rather than a passage through the still water.  The 
vapour-like apparition was coming straight at him with the seemingly 
dangerous intent of a hungry black bear on the prowl.  And then the 
slight breeze wafting over the warm lake waters swallowed the image as 
if it had never existed at all.  The mist caved in upon itself and time 
once again was the here and now. 

Did it happen?  Emerson turned and looked across the bow of the boat at
his quiet wife, Luna.  She appeared oblivious to even being out upon 
the lake let alone to eerie apparitions manifesting themselves out of 
the games of the mist.  She was sitting on the plastic lawn chair on 
the teak deck and might have been asleep.  Her head was tilted back, 
the skin of her cheeks swallowing voraciously the early morning 
sunlight.  She seemed to be sleeping a lot lately.  The doctor back in 
the city said that it wasn't chronic fatigue syndrome as Emerson 
suspected.  He had to question that diagnosis.  Luna used to be so 
filled with energy when they first met seven years ago.  She was a 
regular dynamo, a workaholic at work and a zesty imbiber of pleasure 
when not at work.  But ever since New Year's, she just could not muster 
enough vitality and enthusiasm to excite a puppy let alone keep up a 
pretense in being interested in making their marriage work. 

“Did you see that?”  Emerson called out to his wife.  He could have
sworn that what he saw was a young Indian brave in a canoe.  Not a 
modern member of the indigenous people but some age-old relic from a 
pristine and etchy distant past tranquilly paddling his birchbark 
vessel over familiar waters. 

“See what?”  Luna groaned from a disturbed slumber. 

Knowing her mood, Emerson decided that he would not elaborate on what he
saw.  She would snap at him and for what purpose?  Just because his 
eyes allowed the mists to play a trick on them did not warrant that he 
might accidentally open up some marital wound and have to be on the 
defensive the rest of the day.  Best let her sleep.  He could continue 
to find a relative peace on this fine Kawartha morning.  “Never mind” 
he sighed as he gazed at her as she fitfully moved to re-establish some 
lost comfort she might have had earlier before he interrupted it with 
his hallucination.  She never liked this boat, she thought that it was 
ugly, and had protested vehemently when he announced that he had bought 
it last winter. 

The boat, a thirty-foot Georgian steel, hardly moved at all on the
glazed surface of this lake.  It was as stationary tethered to its 
anchor as any of the myriad of islands that dotted the waterscape 
although Emerson was sure that Luna would never see this almost 
haphazard conglomeration of sheet metal as anything near as picturesque 
as an island.  As a joke, Emerson had renamed the boat, “The Good, The 
Bad and The Ugly” even though all of his boating cronies had pointed 
out that it was bad luck to rechristen a vessel.  But he knew that Luna 
would never accept a boat with the name, “Can't Afford It” as the boat 
was originally called.  As a vice president for a profitable investment 
group, Luna was well able to afford such an anachronistic salvaged hull 
as this Georgian steel.  Especially when she coupled her income with 
the hefty dollars Emerson made as a top rate cabinet-maker back in the 
west-end of the city. 

His touch for wood had not translated well to his touch for metal.  “The
Ugly” as he nicknamed the boat was a work in progress and thus far he 
had not progressed very far in that work.  Outside of the change of 
name not much had changed on “The Ugly” since he bought it off the back 
lot of an industrial park marina back in the city far away from any 
waterfront.  Something about that chipped paint hull resting on a 
series of car tires next to the fence where a vocal German shepherd was 
penned had awakened some primitive feelings within him.  Before he 
allowed his conscience to talk him out of it, he was handing over a 
cheque to the man who ran this business. 

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