Reservoir of Ghosts

Originally published at Library of Shadows on May 21, 2023.

Tags: #horror #shortstory #libraryofshadows

The night was pitch black as the rain poured relentlessly, creating a haunting symphony of thunder and wind. Emily Walker found herself alone in her car, desperately gripping the steering wheel. She had taken a wrong turn moments ago and ended up on Echo Road.It A road that ended at the river bank. A very short road. Sheer panic surged through the girl as the storm parted long enough for her to see the edge and feel the tires of her vehicle leave the road.

Her heart raced, pounding against her chest like a trapped animal. The vehicle nosed into the water. She screamed for help but no one was going to hear it. Desperately looking for an escape, it felt as if the world seemed to shift. The swirling currents of black water against her windshield transformed into ghostly apparitions, dancing around the car, their eyes glowing with malevolence. The specters reached out with ethereal hands, scratching at the windows, desperate in a way that caused the poor girl to scream again.

Everything was terror. Emily frantically searched for an escape. But each movement only fueled the determination of the ghosts, their wails piercing through the water and driving the vehicle deeper into the river’s depths. Their transparent fingers scraped across the windows, leaving faint traces of icy coldness on the glass. Emily peeled her fingers from the steering wheel and started her climb from the front to the back. What greeted her there were faces of the things outside grinning in. “No, no,” she begged as the last glimmer of light and the rain disturbed river surface vanished from view. The water now reached her waist as the pressure intensified.

Desperation. Emily shouted and wailed but made no effort to break the glass. The river ghosts were there, gleefully waiting for her. Their haunting songs of laughter grew louder around her.

In her final moments of despair, Emily turned back to the front of her car, her eyes locked on the windshield where she could make out the silt and dirt of the river bed in the last working headlight of the car. The ghosts circled around the light both fascinated and appalled by its presence in their depth.

Looking up, the back window was clear and the water had only reached her chest. This was her last chance for freedom. She pulled herself forward to put her back to it but the effort died when the resounding crack of the breaking windshield echoed out.

Decayed, bony hands wrapped around her waist and tangled into her hair pulling her down into the brackish water. It’s oily taste flooding into her mouth and lungs. She was only able to pull her head up once more to beg. With hands fastened securely on her legs, arms, hair, and throat, she was effortlessly pulled down.

The last thing the young girl would remember on this side of the veil was the burning of her lungs desperate for air and a bony finger working its way between her lips to pry her mouth open. The last thought of hers was of understanding.

How else would the river claim her?

— © Jonathan J. Snyder, All rights Reserved Like what you read and want to buy me a cup of coffee?