FAERIES, a short fiction by Chad A. Clark
It was two o’clock in the morning, and she was at the store buying skim milk. It was the cherry topper for this week that had been filled with so much odd behavior, that she was starting to doubt if Jerry was even the same person anymore. He was too sick to go himself, too hobbled to walk all the way down the block and through the park to the big, scary grocery store for the late night beverage. He didn’t even like milk.
She had just crossed over the foot bridge when the glow from the pond caught her attention. It was hovering over the ice with a brilliant gold color. She set the milk down on the ground and took a few tentative steps out, beyond the shore. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. The light grew stronger as she approached. It pulsated, and resonated with a high pitched, harmonic humming that was like the most glorious choir that had ever taken voice. She put a hand out to caress the brilliance.
With a wet popping sound, the light oozed out and absorbed her hand, crawling up onto her upper arm as well. It moved like liquid all over her, until she was completely enclosed in the glow. She tried to move, but her arms and legs were pinned to her sides, and it took all of her strength just to draw in breath. From the outside, she had seen the beauty of the light and the sound. From this vantage point, all she could see was oozing black sludge and a pervasive smell of rot.
She looked out at the shoreline to see if there was anyone who might be able to help her. A dark figure emerged from the woods and she tried to call out, but could not find her voice. She watched as the figure stepped up to the edge of the pond and began to glow, the same golden luminescence which she had seen before.
The light grew so bright that she squinted against its power and then, in an instant, it cut out completely. She blinked the tears out of her eyes and, by the lights lining the walking path, she saw that the figure had clarified into something completely familiar.
She was looking at herself.
The newly formed doppelganger reached down to pick up the milk. It looked over its shoulder at her before turning towards their street. In that moment she had a sudden explanation for the oddity of this past week. Jerry really wasn’t Jerry anymore. Her thoughts flashed to the image of their two sons, and what was going to happen to them when she realized that a new grip was tightening around her ankles. The black sludge slipped away from her, creating a brief moment of freedom before the ice cracked and she was pulled down into the watery depths far below.
For more short fiction, check out Chad’s books : A SHADE FOR EVERY SEASON (available in paperback, eBook and audiobook) and TWO BELLS AT DAWN (available in paperback and eBook)