Never Tempt The Lily Pond
There was a pond, more like a lagoon of sorts. In the middle of it, a swaying bed was floating like some arcane piece of driftwood. A beautiful woman lay on that bed, reaching over and holding an odd teapot. She poured a liquid of glimmering water into it – that mysterious water that was not water.
Kathy got a glimpse of her, while she was all alone, watching the mystical woman, as she slowly began to float away on her makeshift bed in that pond that was so much more than a pond. Perhaps Kathy should have been keener, for this was a sign…a sign of things to come.
The next day, Kathy was playing with Cynthia in her father’s boat. It was a rickety old thing, still made out of wood and encrusted with barnacles on the sides. Still, it was a favorite of hers. The California lagoon was a beautiful place to play. It wasn’t overshadowed by the ocean, and the tides made it shallow enough to see through the crystal clear water as if it were made of glass. Her older sister, Cynthia, kept thrashing water in the boat and playfully splashing it across Kathy’s freckled face.
“You girls stop it now. You’ll scare away all the fish!” Mr. Perez shouted though not in any angry sense.
“Cynthia’s being a poo-poo head; she keeps splashing water on me!” Kathy brassily complained.
“Don’t get too upset, pumpkin, it’s just water.” He giggled back to his seven-year-old daughter.
“Look, Papi, the water is really glittery today, isn’t it?!” Cynthia exclaimed in a weird happiness over her discovery.
Indeed, the water was a tad bit odd. The surface was alive with striking gleam and specs of gold. It sparkled in the California sun, as if angels had dusted the lagoon with various hues of wondrous glitter.
“Yep, it sure is pretty today, honey.” Mr. Perez said in a wide smile of nonchalance.
“I’m going to catch a fish today, dad.” Kathy promised.
“You stink at fishing, you little booger-nose!” Cynthia retorted, a bit jealous over her father’s attention.
Kathy stood up and crossed her arms on the boat, giving her older sister the best stink-eye she could muster. Cynthia challenged her with a push, and sent Kathy falling into the lucid waters of the lake. Her father heard a plop as he was fixing worms to his fishing hook and then instantly jumped in the water after her.
“Oops, I didn’t mean to push her in!” Cynthia cried now scared that Kathy might drown.
But Kathy was a great swimmer. She swam underneath the fantastic lagoon for a bit before finally surfacing. When she did, the boat was gone. The water was oddly thicker, too. As if it was slightly heavier. Whatever the case, it made for easy swimming and she cast a look across the shoreline. She couldn’t make out her father’s boat or any other people. All she saw was a brightly colored beach ahead.
Instead of the beige she knew, it was a pleasant hue of yellow and white. Kathy walked on the shoreline clumsily stepping about and saw a dozen bright blue fur-balls with legs. On closer examination, they appeared to be a cross between dogs and lizards, but with the same canine friendliness of a puppy. In the distance, she saw strange flying creatures with feathers that looked more like tendrils of colored skin. She sat on the beach and took a deep breath. From there, she called out to her father and sister. The sun seemed odd, too, split in two and with a ring of cool blue encircling it.
This was not a bad place to be, she thought. But still, it was not her home. In fact, she didn’t know where she was. After a long while, she picked up a pear-shaped fruit of a pale orange color and tasted it. It had the flavor of both banana and cherry. She could see why the furry blue lizards were eating them so heartily.
“But no. This is not my home.” She whispered and Kathy yelled out to the calm waves again. But no sounds came back – none but the echo of her voice.
On the Surface
“By God, I can’t find her!” Mr. Perez screamed as he kept searching for his daughter. “It should be so easy; the water is shallow and very clear. Cynthia ran to the backside of the boat and cried. She didn’t know how to swim, yet Kathy did. Why wasn’t she coming back? Her mind pondered in panicked puzzlement. That day, the two of them kept searching until others joined. When they stopped, still many others searched, until Kathy was considered no more.
25 Years Later
Cynthia and her husband had come from visiting her father’s grave. He died two years back and his headstone was set not far from the lagoon that they lost Kathy in. By now, she had her own daughter of seven years, and she was eerily afraid to get too close to the gorgeous lagoon. Even so, she felt that she needed to make the personal pilgrimage there, as she had always harbored an insistent guilt that Kathy’s disappearance was all her fault.
“Hey, don’t do this to yourself,” her husband comforted her as he saw tears drip from his wife’s eyes.
“It killed him, too.” She softly wept. “Kathy’s drowning; it killed my father’s heart.”
Still trembling in her husband’s arms, her daughter had come, racing toward them.
“I caught a fish!” She prided. “I really caught my first fish!”
“And how did you do that, young lady?” Her father asked.
She just pointed toward the glittering lagoon and answered plainly.
“Kathy told me how, can’t you hear her calling?”