Eight: Monster Revealed

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Images of the day Mae drowned exploded in her mind.

As she sunk, memories of her sister's lifeless body and the sensation of something clawing at her filled her with dread.

Memories of the constant arguments with her parents over whether there were such things as river monsters filled her with anger as she resisted the urge to breathe.

The noise of the sailboat's slow death sounded like huge explosions underwater.

Unsure of where the surface was, Aimee opened her eyes.

Several yards away, she saw that the sailboat was completely up ended.

An enormous, elongated shape creature with multiple limbs hovered on the other side.

She was about to open her mouth to scream when it released its hold on the vessel and sped away into the murky darkness.

Her lungs burned and in frantic need for oxygen, Aimee swam hard toward the light.

The moment she broke through, she gulped in the fresh air.

The exposed aluminum hull of the sailboat drifted listlessly close by.

Her eyes scanned around for any sign of the creature.

Nothing.

For all she knew, it could be right below her.

She must get out of the water.

Fearing that any movement would bring on another attack, she kicked softly for the boat.

The base part of the hull rose nearly five feet from the surface.

Aimee kicked as hard as she could and lunged upward finding a deep indentation to grab on to.

And scrambled for the top.

Exhausted, she fell to her face and laid still.

Along with water lapping against the hull, she heard a soft thudding.

It came from below.

Aimee rolled to one side, took a deep breath, and looked.

A man in a red life jacket floated in the water.

His head was bent down so his face was not visible.

She didn't need to see his face for she knew who he was.

"Chad!" Her words barely decipherable.

Was he dead?

Her stomach quivered at that thought.

"Chad!" She shouted.

The man's head jerked up, his face covered with blood streaks.

When his eyes reached her face, there was a slight curl of his lips.

"You're still here." She heard him say.

Lying on her stomach, she smiled. "Yep."

She searched for a way to help him and spotted a possibility.

"Can you reach for that board?" She asked. "It's a few feet to your right."

He moved his head to look. "Yeah."

He stretched out to grab the floating wood and pulled it to himself.

"If you can, lift it up towards me." And readied herself to receive it.

With it securely in both hands, Aimee repositioned herself to sit at the edge of the hull, her feet dangled off the side.

She moved the timber to lay between her legs and lowered it down.

"Now, try to climb and I'll pull you up here."

Chad turned his body to face the boat and gripped the wood.

As he slowly rose, Aimee nervously watched for any sign of the beast among the bloated aquatic and human bodies.

She couldn't stop thinking about the beak Darcy had found.

Seriously?

In a lake?

But, if Darcy was right, the lake was being transformed into a sea.

A sea that would undoubtedly be full of monsters.

Chad now in range, with one hand she grabbed his vest and pulled.

He slumped on his back beside her, his hands covered his eyes. The muscles in his jaw quivered as he gritted his teeth.

She studied him for any major injuries.

Her stomach almost heaved when her eyes settled on his left leg.

The knee and ankle were facing the wrong way.

"That good, eh?" He asked in a strained voice.

"Yeah." She replied. "Nothing that a doctor can't fix up though."

Aimee laid her head down next to his.

With the gentle lulling of what was left of the sailboat, her eyelids grew heavy.

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