Image source: Deviant Art – Aurelia2012
He had heard the crying again last night, on and on, the weeping not allowing him to fall back asleep. He knew she wouldn’t be there, but he had to go out on the lake anyway. She sounded so lonely and grief-stricken. He needed to comfort her if she allowed him.
He rowed the small boat out a ways. The pre-dawn air was still chilly and a fog hung over the water. It was silent now, the birds not yet awake, the naiad Bethane quiet. To most Bethane was a local legend, repeated to children but not truly believed. He knew better. He also knew why she cried.
He had seen her and Ben, who stayed in the cabin next to his, sitting together on the shore, hand in hand, feet dangling in the water. She was so beautiful, long curling golden hair, clear shining blue eyes, a shimmering light green gown. He had been so jealous of Ben. Why had Bethane chosen him, why was it Ben who she allowed to see her, who she loved?
He hadn’t meant to kill Ben, of course. They had been out in this very rowboat, fishing, drinking, laughing. He had asked Ben about her, but Ben had evaded the questions. He had become angry. Ben was unreasonable, he should share her; she didn’t belong to him, she belonged to the lake. Ben had just shaken his head. He couldn’t stop himself; he had shoved Ben out of the boat. When Ben had surfaced, gasping for air, he had hit him over the head with the oar, putting all of his hurt and rage into the swing. Ben’s body had been found that same evening. He, along with Ben’s friends, was distraught over the accident.
But Bethane hadn’t turned to him, hadn’t fallen in love with him, hadn’t let him kiss away her tears. Instead, she wailed, night after night, inconsolable. He rowed back to the dock as the sun peeked over the trees. She wouldn’t come to him, he realized that now. He would leave, sell the cottage. She had won; she had driven him away, punishing him for the murder she alone had witnessed.
Dottie at Tink’s Place has a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge that I’m enjoying. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate you post your story on Friday – 350 words, give or take.