This story was contributed by AWFrasier
Walking in the mountains was one of my most favourite things. There was no one but me and nature. The slight sting in my legs from exhaustion setting in, and me pushing my body through that exhaustion, cleared my head like nothing else.
The wind biting my cheeks and pulling on my hair. Nothing compared. It almost felt like flying. The wind kept howling at me, beckoning me to ascend the mountain further. I had to get higher. Something was calling me, and I had to answer.
I pulled my woollen scarf closer around my face, trying to keep the icy wind at bay. My phone vibrated in my pocket, but I ignored it. I didn't have time. The mountains were calling, and I had to go home.
It kept vibrating. I took it out of my pocket and looked down. "Mum" was calling. I dropped my phone on the lush grass. I didn't want to be distracted.
I continued on. Up here there were no distractions or grief. There was nothing. I became nothing but just one tiny human in a vast and awesome landscape. Work, girlfriends, friends and family. Nothing mattered up here. Material things lost their significance. The race we were all forced into stopped and I was no longer a participant. I didn't have to be the prettiest, the skinniest, the best or the sweetest. I didn't have to be anything but me – but even that disappeared in the fog, settling over the mountainside.
I reached a plane; the lakes, bogs and swamps stretching over the grass. This was what had been calling me. This small utopia only reachable for the birds and then me.
It was so quiet here. Even the wind was no longer screaming at me for intruding. There was only the singing. The haunting song, boring into my brain and telling, "only a bit further now." Soon, I could rest. The song promised I didn't have to walk much further.
My legs were tired and shaking under me, but I had to keep going. I was out of breath and it felt like my chest was on fire.
I finally stopped at one of the lakes, looking at my reflection. It slowly changed, turning into something I couldn't immediately recognise. But I also didn't care. The features changed into something almost angelic or doll-like. And I wanted to embrace that reflection. I slowly waded into the water, only hesitating for a second as the ice around me knocked into my knees. I broke it, the further I walked out into the water. Long lightning shaped cracks split into the picture-perfect ice, ruining the smooth surface, as I broke through it.
I couldn't reach the bottom of it any longer, so I had to swim. Breaking the ice with my arms was hard. My wet clothes were pulling me down. I stopped fighting it. I was pulled under and in the darkness, I saw light. I saw arms spread out wanting to embrace me. The form of a beautiful woman emerged from the dark murkiness of the lake water. Her skinny arms wrapped around my neck, pulling me to her. Her body warmed me up, fighting off the cold. Her skin was so fair it stood out in a stark contrast to the seaweed, reaching out for us.
My lungs began to scream at me, wanting to be filled with air again, but when I opened my mouth, water poured in, suffocating me. I tried to untangle myself from the woman, from the seaweed, but I was getting pulled down further.
The features of the woman changed as her face inched closer to mine. Her mouth opened, revealing a row of razor-sharp teeth. Her mouth kept growing, slashing open her once so beautiful face. Her jaws clamped down on my shoulder and I tried to yell out, but more water flushed into my mouth. I tried to fight her, but her nails had grown into talons, ripping my jacket and my skin. The water was painted red by my blood. Pain was slashing through my body as I fought to get up to the surface. My pulse was hammering in my ears and it was critical. I was getting more and more tired.
The song was back, and I was starting to forget why I needed to fight. Maybe it'd be better to just stop. To just give into the tunes of the song. It was warmer now. I didn't feel as cold and I was getting tired. The aches in my body evaporated; the woman seemed more like an angel than a demon.
I embraced her and rested my forehead against her naked shoulder. Her skin was so warm and her voice so soothing.
Her voice filled me with promises of never leaving the mountainside. Of becoming just like her.
AWFrasier (Fray) is 26 years old and lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. A teacher by day and writer and illustrator by night. She likes everything dark with just a pinch of romance - and black coffee. Check out more of Fray's stories here
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