As I walked along the beach of Blood Lake this afternoon, I came upon a trio of Nokken which had broken through the ice to await my arrival. This group of Norwegian water spirits had each taken the form of a beloved cousin whom I had lost a century earlier, making it difficult for me to listen at first to their voices, which sounded nothing like hers.
When I regained the ability to think clearly, I heard them speaking of a man ice-fishing a short distance away, and for a moment, I believed I was going to have act as a peacemaker for an offense I was certain the man did not know he had committed.
This was not the case.
The Nokken spoke to me of a crime the man had committed in 1914 when I was gone to war. This stranger had come to the ice with a small child, and together the two of them had cut out a hole to fish in. No sooner had the hole been finished than the man thrust the child headfirst into it. The man-made certain the child did not surface again, and then, for almost three hours, the man had remained there, catching his fill of fish.
I asked if they were certain, and they replied that they were. I thanked them for the information and made my way to where the stranger was fishing.
The man turned out not to be a stranger. He was Adam Stanton, whose five-year-old stepson had vanished in 1914.
Adam was sitting on a bucket, peering intently at a hole in the ice when I came upon him. He had an amiable smile and a cheerful greeting when he saw me. When I asked if he was that happy when he drowned his stepson, Adam’s face drained of color.
Adam Stanton was far too large to fit in the hole, but his head slipped in just fine.
With my boot on the back of his neck, he was able to look for his stepson, although Adam died before he could find the boy.
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