I looked up and saw a shadow flash between the trees. Then a bright light skittered across the sky. Where did it come from? Alone in the lake I felt something clinging to my ankle. Startled, I quickly shook it off and swam toward the shore. As I got closer, I saw little brown toes on the beach ahead of me. Where had they come from? I was afraid to look up and see what it might be. I paused and it was gone.
As I slipped on my shoes, a rustling in the bushes caught my attention as the sun was lowering itself across the sky. A slight tingling crept up my legs. “I’m not afraid,” I told myself so I could stop the tingling from reaching my belly and nesting deep inside.
I love the water. It is my refuge, my relaxation, my energy, and usually my peace. Today the water holds creeping things. The beach carries a strangeness, and the woods have a life of their own. The lake is where I usually come to cool my anxious thoughts. But not today. I see the shadows of dusk like doilies on the lake, and I am caught between the beauty and mystery of the scene.
As I walk across the cooling sand, it is smooth and there are no footprints on it. What were those toes that didn’t dent the soft sand? A cool breeze dashes against my wet shorts and I shiver. I don’t believe the crazy stories about visitations to the woods near the lake. The video I saw on YouTube late last night showing a creepy shadow in the woods and a flash across the sky was not very realistic but I had a dream about it. This morning the creepy feeling stayed with me through the woods to the lake.
As I look at the woods my curiosity draws me toward a different path at the edge of the trees. The path the shadow appeared to take. I hesitate. I should go left, my usual route, yet my feet take me to the right. I step into the shadows of the trees. I can’t stop myself. I need to know what is around the bend. I hear a slight rustling up ahead yet I take another step. Something jumps out of a low growing thicket like a shadow across the path. I creep over to the edge of the path, and see the dark shining eyes of a wood frog easily recognizable by the black robbers mask above its eyes.
I laugh out loud alone in the woods with the company of a brown frog staring up at me. I was a natural science major in college and love to tromp through the woods. No more YouTube silly videos for me. I’ll take a walk with a frog in the woods any day of the week over sitting in front of a computer.
With a word count of 543, this is the first Flash Fiction story I have written. I submitted it today to the Wow Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contest. It would be fun to win, but it was so much fun writing a story in an afternoon meeting time and word count restraints, that the motivation to write in itself was worth it. Each contest has it's own guidelines, but this one allows you to enter a story that has already been published and share it wherever you would like. You own it! I am considering entering one of the other Flash Fiction Contests in the future.