The Lady of the Lake
This is my second entry for the contest (that's not illegal, is it?). Anyway, I hope you think it's as good as you seem to think the first is...if that made any sense. Enjoy! Spoiler: you may not be happy with the ending, but then, happiness is elusive, as our tragic protagonist believes.
P.S. I was listening to Lucia Micarelli's "She's Like the Swallow" while writing this. It sends chills up my spine every time.
(576 words, but 3012 characters. T_T )
The Lady of the Lake is indefinite. She is eternal, immortal, undying.
The Lady of the Lake is nameless. She is shadowy, anonymous, unidentified.
The Lady of the Lake is my mother.
. . .
I never knew my father. He was an unnamed man, I presume a knight, seeking her aid in his time of need. He was foolish. The Lady used him for her own needs instead, twisted with greed and anger by years of lack of worship and respect. Make no mistake, she was still beautiful and youthful in appearance, but on the inside, well, that was a new story altogether. When she was satisfied and he teetered on the brink of insanity, she drowned him. I used to think that was rather merciful of her, but now I know it was not mercy she was thinking of. Far from it.
I have many of her traits. I am beautiful, immortal, unattainable. This is not vanity speaking, just fact. But I also have what I assume were my fatherâ€™s traits; courage, curiosity, strength. From this description, Iâ€™m sure youâ€™d think I was flawless, and Iâ€™m pleased to say youâ€™d be wrong. I have a flaw, as does everyone. I was not happy.
Happiness is elusive as well. No matter how far I search, I cannot seem to find it. Iâ€™ll tell you one thing, though. Curiosity is not. I cannot escape it. Once, decades ago, it overcame me. I left the bed of seaweed at the bottom of my motherâ€™s lake and I entered civilization. I caught a glimpse of what happiness looked like.
His name was Nick. He drowned two days after I met him.
I look no older than nineteen, but in truth I am 3,012 years old. My daughter will be turning 23 this year. Happy birthday, Maggie. I named her Magdalena Lily. She hasn't married, and I doubt she will ever. She is too much like her mother. Too much like her grandmother. Luckily, my motherâ€™s blood has been diluted so much, I am confident Maggie will die someday. I hope so.
Eternity is nothing to laugh at. Take it from someone who knows.
It was when Nick died and Maggie was born did I realized that glimpse of happiness was not in front of me. It was in the rear-view mirror. Maybe I had not been content in that lake, but I was without sorrow. Without grief. It was then I returned.
. . .
I was not happy when my daughter left her home. I am the Lady of the Lake, and she is my daughter. She should be trapped like I am, confined to these stale, ancient waters. My anger only intensified when she found that man, Nick, I think it was. Then she had a childâ€”a girl. My children do not go find their consorts, the consorts come to them. This has been true for centuries, and there is no reason for them to stop that now.
It was only reasonable. I did what any good mother would do; I eliminated her temptations. My daughter is not seduced by men, men are seduced by her. Really, I had no choice.
And now she is safe, right where she should be. At home, with me, secure in our prison. So letâ€™s not get nit-picky about small things like murder.