Maelstrom Extra: By the Lake

Thursday, June 11, 2009 reviews (Comments): 4
Gravel crunched under the wheels of the rented Jeep as Ricky pulled into the driveway. “Well, here it is.”

Kalila cast a skeptical glance at the gray clapboard cottage. “This isn’t what I expected.”

“Is anything?” he cut the engine and reached in the back for his overnight bag. “I’ll show you the house, and then we’ll go down to the lake. Uncle Robert said the canoe is in good repair.”

Kalila followed Ricky inside, looking all around and clutching her lamp to her chest. She let him lead her from room to room, and finally selected a spot near an upstairs window where she set her brass oil lamp on a table. “This is where I’ll sleep.”

“I was planning on sleeping in the other room.”

“You can still do that.”

“Right.” He didn't ask whether she’d join him in bed for awhile or just what her intentions were. Djinns didn't like a lot of questions. “Wait here. I want to get something out of my bag and then I’ll show you the lake.”

While she waited, Kalila examined the family photos on the walls, and when Ricky emerged from the other room, she followed him down the stairs.

Outside, a narrow path wound its way from the back porch through the trees, to a dock that listed to one side. “I’m sure it’s not dangerous,” Ricky said, but Kalila had already drawn the same conclusion. She walked to the end of the rickety dock and stood for a moment, looking out over the dark water.

“I’d hardly call this a lake,” she finally said. “More like a large pond.”

“I never said it was much.” He came to join her. “It was the time I spent here with my dad that made it special. It was nice of Uncle Robert to buy it from my mom. The money came in handy. But I would’ve liked to have gotten the place for myself.”

“Family.” Kalila nodded. “It means a lot to you humans. I noticed the pictures on the walls.”

Ricky shoved his hands in his pockets and stared out over the water for a few minutes. Finally he became restless and said, “Want to take the boat out?”

“Not particularly.”

“But I…well, look.” he took a small box out of his pocket and opened it. Inside was a small wooden fish, red with a glitter tail and a hook sticking out of its belly. “One of the lures my dad made,” he explained. “I’ve had it as a keepsake all these years, but I think it belongs here.” He pointed across the water. “Somewhere out in the middle of the lake he loved to fish at.”

“So coming here is sort of a pilgrimage for you.”

“And a chance to spend some time alone with you, away from all the distractions that clutter up our lives. That’s why people come to places like this, to focus on the things that really matter.”

“I see.” Kalila looked out over the water again, her eyes narrowed in thought. “So you wouldn’t have brought just anyone.”

“No. This place is special.”

They stood together for several minutes, watching the reflection of sun and cloud on the glassy surface of the lake. A hawk flew overhead, the wind sighed in the pines, and water burbled and lapped at the dock. Finally Kalila asked to see the fishing lure again, and she took it from Ricky’s hands and examined it in the afternoon light. Then she handed it back. “I think I understand now,” she said. “Let’s go get that boat.”

reviews (Comments): 4

pjd :

I really like this, even though there's clearly a lot about these characters I don't know that you must have posted elsewhere.

Christine H :

Hm, does Kalila *really* understand? Could she ever have a family with him? Could she care the way a human does?

I wonder.

Thomma Lyn :

Good story -- I like these little connective events that Ricky and Kalila share. :)

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