The Lake: Microfiction


Olav Johan Andreassen, via Wikimedia Commons



Stefan Danielsen prided himself on his investigative skills and objectivity, and those skills had won him acclaim as a journalist. So here he was, huddled behind a rock– because he had been intrigued by the rumors he’d heard about this remote Norwegian lake. Now he wondered why he was wasting his time. Of course, there was nothing here.

God, it was cold. Winter came early this far north. He wondered if he could risk lighting a cigarette.

An icy touch on the back of his neck. Get a grip, Danielsen, he thought to himself. It’s the wind.

He thought he heard music, a tune in a minor key. It seemed both familiar and unknown. Don’t be ridiculous, he told himself. It’s just the wind.

Wait till I tell Ove about this. He imagined how Ove, his little brother, would tease him for being frightened by shadows and wind.

It was close to midnight. He rubbed his eyes, blinked, as silhouetted figures appeared on the shore; men and women dancing slowly to that minor tune. Yes, the same music he thought he had heard earlier.

Who were they? He fumbled for his camera, as the tempo of the music increased, and the dancers twirled faster and faster. They called to him, their siren voices somehow inside his head, drawing him in.

Spellbound, powerless, his body floated toward the circle. The Cimmerian figures held him, crooning, as they gyrated for seconds, minutes, hours. Time no longer had any meaning. His body was an empty shell. It would be found on the beach in the morning. His spirit, however, it would dance on that shore every night, in a circle, forever.


This story is for Jane Dougherty’s Writing Challenge.  The prompt was the painting above.

32 thoughts on “The Lake: Microfiction

  1. This was a very mysterious and moody piece which gripped me and interested me, Merril. You really included so many unique elements like the mythical sirens heard at sea, the wind and darkness. . .
    I read some of the Scandinavian comments and wanted suggest a tired but intelligent police detective named, “Wallender.” (PBS) it was a series and the fine actor, Kenneth Brannaugh, played in British movies such as “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” Our library has them in DVD sets. 🙂

    • Thanks, Robin. I’m glad the story gripped you so.
      I agree Wallender is an excellent series. Did you see the latest (and final) one? I’ve read some of the books, too. The books were written by Swedish author Henning Mankel, but the series is British (though set in Sweden). I agree that Brannaugh is a wonderful actor, and he does a great job portraying Wallender.

      • Oh good! I am so glad you knew this show. I will try to see the final episode on a library borrow sometime soon. I have a rather long list, Merril. I am fairly sure I missed the ending since Sunday nights I fall asleep in middle of ten o’clock programs. 🙂

  2. You write effortlessly… I was lulled into your lovely and captivating story. The ending didn’t even make me sad although a death had occurred. His spirit dances on. How can one not be happy for him?

    • Thank you so much, Rose, for your very kind compliment.
      I like your thinking about the dancing. I guess though it would have been nice for him to have a choice. (Though he did choose to go to the lake.)

  3. Pingback: Microfiction challenge Lost: the entries – Jane Dougherty Writes

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