Creative Ink writing prompt here
At midnight and at noon from the depths of the lake he comes forth, right when the reality weakens, his strength peaks. He comes out of the water dry, but somehow there is always a puddle under him. Sitting in a willow tree, smoking a pipe or playing a fiddle, he watches and lurks his victims in the water. He waits for an inexperienced swimmer to be careless but many times he helps things ever so slightly. Little push or little pull is all it takes. Sometimes just a whisper. He commands the creatures of the lake, often taking their form to fool the humans, but he has only little control of the water. Nobody can control the elements. Other times he places things in the water to make the curious girl lean over and after the shove, comes the splash. Oh…How he enjoys the Splash. He hates the lake and he loves it in equal measures, the absurdity of it drives him crazy.
Forming under him is a puddle
But he himself stays always dry
Smoking pipe or playing his fiddle
longing for them to fall in and die.
The souls he takes to his palace on the bottom of the lake and keeps them in little upturned tea cups. One teacup for each soul, trapped forever, out of reach from Him and the other One. Because he hates them both, for he too was once an angel, fallen from Grace, banned to Earth. They both betrayed him and he landed in this lake. Here he was cursed and merged with the water, by powerful magic still common and raw in those gone days, becoming the spirit of the water, protector of its life, wasserman, vodník…a waterfaun.
This morning came to the lake, a maiden most fair with golden hair and the greenest eyes, ignoring the warnings of her mother; she sits by the lake and sings a song of lost promise for love. Deep in her own world submerged, only young people are capable of; she doesn’t see her approaching demise. Our Waterfaun is mesmerized by her beauty, listens to her song, mouthing the words, his pipe forgotten. He jumps down, but instead of drowning and taking her soul, he takes her whole, body and soul, down to his palace on the bottom of the lake, he makes the poor girl his wife. She screams and fights, but it is futile, she becomes the bride to the unlikely groom with fish for her bridesmaids instead of her dear friends.
One year passes and we are back by the lake, Waterfaun waiting in a willow tree playing his fiddle, the girl crying in the palace, looking at a beautiful baby, which smiles back at her, not knowing his faith, only happy to be with his mother. The girl cries because she loves her baby, hates her husband, misses her family and hurts for the pitiful souls. She sees no way out and for all these reasons she cries. And she cries some more.
At last her chance comes when she breaks a teapot by accident and thus releases the soul within, watching as the soul’s light rises, she can see what she has to do. She grabs the baby and she starts to break teapot after teapot, laughing hysterically, her heart pounding. She uses this distraction to flee the palace and holding her baby close, she runs to the nearby forest, followed by the horrible cries of her husband which are sending chills down her spine and to her bones.
“Bitch what have you done? My souls, my precious souls!!
She does not stop, for her baby’s sake she keeps running, ignoring the horror she left behind, her whole body on fire. She runs. And then she runs some more. Only when her legs start to fail her, she stops to tend to the baby, chancing a quick look back for the first time. No one in sight, she is safe. She puts her baby down and leans forward, her face going pale, it is now her turn to scream: “NOOOOOO…” The baby is no more, what she did not know, and how could she know, probably even the water-fay could not tell that the Water-fay’s baby cannot be on shore. She looks around wildly, her eyes find quickly what she needs, she strokes the baby’s cold cheeks one last time and she uses the sharp edge on her wrists then lies next to her child and starts to sing. They lie there on the forest floor, mother and child finally free.
Standing on the shore without his pipe
Forming the bubbles to catch the soul’s light.
Always dry, cannot die
Started to cry.
**Footnote: Waterfaun is a popular mythological creature in my country and he really lurks people into water, he destroys fisherman’s nests, he drowns people and keeps their souls in tea cups. The word “Waterfaun” is my own creation; the Slovak name for it is Vodnik. Original legend says he is a fallen angel but he is displayed as a green water goblin in most of the stories, books and movies.
1. popular depiction of waterfaun here
2. Valentin Vodnik from flickr
4. Picasso – Head of a crying woman
5. Wasfi Akab picture
6. detail of Picasso’s Guernica
7. photo of statue of waterfaun