They have an affinity for my lake.
And for me as well, although I could do without the last.
I was coming back on the western shore, reflecting on the current situation in town, when I heard my name called. Looking towards the speaker, I saw a young woman sitting at the edge beside a large stone.
Neither of them had been there a few moments before.
I stopped where I was and waited to see what would happen.
“Will you come and sit with me?” she asked. Her voice was high with a hint of steel and something darker nestled in its depths.
“No,” I answered, taking out my pipe and lighting it.
“You’re being rude,” she scolded.
I nodded in reply.
A frown flickered over her face.
“Come and sit with me,” she ordered, and my body jerked a quarter of an inch forward.
I took the pipe stem out of my mouth and spat on the ground, shaking my head.
“Now, Duncan Blood,” she commanded.
It took all of my strength to resist the urgency in her voice, but I managed it, though I confess it set my brow to sweating and my skin to crawling. I didn’t reach for my guns, fearing that if I did so, it would cost me too much of an effort, and I would find myself marching to join her.
Behind the strange woman, the water shimmered.
In a strained voice, I stated, “You ought not to use magic this close to the lake.”
She scoffed at me. “I’ll use it when and where I like, Duncan Blood. In a minute, I’ll use it to tear your heart out and sacrifice it to myself.”
“I wouldn’t try.”
She laughed, a sweet and pleasant sound in the cool April air, and when she did so, they appeared.
Long, gleaming black tentacles snaked out of the water and coiled around her before she realized what was happening. Her form flickered and twisted as she tried to escape, but she was in the grasp of an Elder God.
One drawn to the thrum of magic in the air.
As its grasp tightened, her own broke, and I was able to take a step back. The woman uttered a mangled scream and then was silent, pulled into the darkness of the lake.
I left the God to its meal and went in search of one of my own.