The Lake Monster

The rain came down softly on Solomon where he sat quietly in his boat. It was cold enough to see breath coming out in a kind of mist from his mouth. The dark green forests at the side of the lake rose up until they were covered by the low clouds above the water. So, there was a strip of forest between water and clouds.

Solomon had come out that day to find his monster. No one else in the village even believed him, but he knew that the monster was out there and would make itself known eventually. He had seen it himself on a sunny day when he was down by the water. It had a long curving neck topped with a very small head. He had just got a quick glimpse before it slipped its head back into the water.

When Solomon had told the other people in the fishing village about it, they’d just shrugged at him and smiled indulgently. Solomon was seen as a bit of an oddball already, so the fact that he was seeing monsters in the lake wasn’t much of a shock.

What had been a bit of a shock was the way he clung to the idea. Most of Solomon’s ideas disappeared after a week or so. It was surprising when the idea of the lake monster stuck around for weeks and months. In fact, the day he went out was a year to the day that he’d seen the monster the first time.

However, he was having no luck that day. He was just getting rained on, but he didn’t see a sign of the monster. It had looked really large, so he’d gone out to the middle of the lake where it was deepest, hoping that it would show itself again. He had borrowed a camera from his friend Sampson.

Sampson ran the grocery store in town, and he was an amateur photographer. He had several cameras, and was willing to lend one to Solomon. Like the rest of the villagers, he really didn’t think that there was a monster in the lake. But Solomon was insistent, and Sampson knew that it would be easier to just lend him the camera than try and convince him, yet again, that there was no monster and nothing to take a picture of.

After about an hour in the deepest part of the lake, Solomon decided that he should make the move to another spot. He had no idea where the monster might show itself, but he wasn’t having any luck where he was, so he decided that he should row the boat to another part of the lake. He knew that he was running the risk that the monster would show up ten minutes after he left, but he wouldn’t even know about it. And no matter what, he couldn’t just sit out there in the rain.

So, he pulled out the oar and started paddling. Not knowing where else to go, he started heading to the one big island out on the lake. He didn’t really have high hopes about it, but he really didn’t know what else to do. And at least he could get out of the boat for a while and take some shelter from the trees.

When he got there, he pulled the boat up on a tiny beach and scrambled up through the rocks. At the top of a small cliff, he found a decent sized boulder to sit on. He looked at his watch and saw that it was near lunch time, so he pulled out the peanut butter sandwiches that he’d made. They tasted quite good. The low clouds were dissipating, and the sun was almost out. Solomon figured that whatever else might happen, at least he was having a good day. The island had been a good idea.

It was good to be alone with his sandwiches. He knew that no one believed him about the monster. But he’d gotten used to it. In fact, he was tempted to just head back home after the island after a good day on the lake. Even if he did get a picture, they would probably find a way not to believe him. So what point was there in even trying to get the picture?

But he shook his head and put those thoughts away. Even if he was the only one who believed in the photo, it’d be worth having. The other ideas that had been just theories, but Solomon knew that he’d seen the monster. He knew it was out there. And the photo would prove it for him. And when the villagers realized he was right, he’d have the picture to wave at them.

However, though he convinced himself to keep trying, he still didn’t spot the monster. He stayed on the island for a few hours, and then decided to head back to the swampy part of the lake. It was getting late into the afternoon, and the swamps were close to the village. The sun went down around six, but it started to get dark on the lake around four-thirty or five. It would be easy to paddle back from there.

Once he’d paddled back there, he was already feeling like the day was over. He saw a fish swimming around between the grasses, which was pretty good. But he only spent about a half hour there before he started to paddle back home. The swamp could have been relaxing, but there were so many mosquitoes that it just didn’t make sense to stay any longer.

On his way home he finally saw the lake monster. Well, it surfaced right under his boat and flipped him into the water. He saw it when he turned around to look for his boat, which was upside down on the surface. He looked just in time to see the monster diving back under the water. The head went under first, and then the rest of the long neck followed it. He still didn’t see the body, so he still had no real idea of what the monster really looked like.

He turned around and started swimming for shore. Luckily, it wasn’t far. A fisherman who was coming home late saw him and helped him out of the water. Solomon thanked the fisherman for helping him, but the man hadn’t seen the monster or anything else. He wondered how Solomon had found himself in the lake. After making sure that Solomon was all right, he went on his way.

Solomon knew that within a day or so, there’d be another oddity attributed to him. He’d be that crazy guy who’d gotten pulled out of the lake. He shouldn’t have asked about the monster, he knew. That’d be part of the story as well.

He decided then and there that he wouldn’t mention the monster again. And if people asked, he’d say he’d just fallen overboard. This wasn’t a photograph, but it would probably be better. It was an experience that he’d never forget. And having proved the monster to himself was the best he was going to do.