Christian Laforet – SUMMER’S FRIEND

The little girl sat on the edge of the dock, her toes sunk an inch below the calm surface of the lake. She quietly hummed to herself while her fingers absentmindedly twirled a dandelion. Eyes as blue as heaven reflected the picturesque scenery; mountains and trees wrapped around the body of water like a halo.

Her name was—fittingly—Summer, and she had been coming with her family to a nearby cabin for half of her life—all eight years of it. Her parents believed her to be playing with her cousin in the woods behind the cabin; if they found out she was actually alone at the lake they would be quite angry.

Summer had told them of her friend, but being boring old adults, they didn’t seem to want to hear about her special relationship. Even so, the little girl had not seen her friend for almost a whole year. She had eagerly counted down the days until they returned to the cabin by the lake; she was very excited for their reunion.

The man made his way towards the dock—towards the child. He casually looked over both shoulders; empty beach greeted him on both sides.

William—Willie to his friends—had been coming to the lake every day for the past week hoping for just such a moment as precious as the before him.

“Hi honey, what are you doing here?” Willie asked.

Summer leaned back and looked at him; the sun causing her hair to become strands of gold.

“I’m not supposed to talk to strangers,” she stated simply as a matter of fact.

Willie licked his lips nervously; he would not be deterred.

“Oh, I’m not a stranger honey; I’m a friend of your parents.”

Summer stared at the man with her sky blue eyes for a full ten seconds before finally shrugging her shoulders as if to say, if you say so.

The girl’s apathy sent a shiver of excitement across Willie’s body. He licked his lips again then stammered on with, “That’s right, honey…so, what are you doing out here all by yourself?” 

“I’m waiting for my friend. He lives around here and I don’t get to see him too often.” Summer replied as she glanced back towards the lake.

The man looked around once more before making his way up the old, wooden dock. His leather shoes made the boards wail with each step. “I don’t see anybody,” Willie said with a smile.

“He’s not here yet,” Summer responded.

“How about while you wait I get you an ice cream. You do like ice cream, right?”

“Yes.”

“Well then, c’mon. I drive an ice cream truck. It’s parked on the other side of the trees.”

Willie held out his hand. From Summer’s perspective it was large and calloused, his finger nails were too long, crescent moons of grit stained the undersides.

When the girl did not take Willie’s hand, he began to get angry. He wanted her! But he needed to remain calm—he knew this from experience.

“C’mon honey, it’ll be okay. Me and you will go have some ice cream and by the time we’re done you can meet your friend.”

She seemed to consider Willie’s proposition for a moment but then abruptly said, “No thank you.” At that the little girl turned away from Willie completely as if he no longer existed.

A fire erupted in Willie’s guts; rage fanned the flames sending the blaze through his veins. This little girl didn’t know it, but Willie was a monster, he would make her scream.

Willie was so consumed with his own state of being that he completely missed the joyful squeal which came from Summer. “He’s here!”

Spinning around, Willie made sure the beach was still deserted. Realizing the little bitch would not come easily he decided to just go for it.

Summer leaned forward; her small face split with a smile that would make an angel weep. Behind her, the devil lunged.

Willie felt the adrenalin blast through his body as he drove forward. His feet clattered across the few remaining yards of wood, each step an angry shout, as he reached for his prize. From his vantage point he could not see the water around the girl’s toes begin to churn.

Summer beamed as her friend emerged from the lake. Little droplets of water sprinkled her face and tickled her nose—she giggled.

Willie tried to stop but momentum was not on his side; he continued forward as something exploded from the water. Even had he been able to brake it would have been in vain as a set of tentacles wrapped around him faster than he could comprehend. They hoisted him up into the air; his leather shoes bounced off the wooden planks with a whimper.

Willie tried to scream but the tentacles constricted so tight around his chest that before a single peep could escape, his ribs were crushed; pain fired through his brain. Before his world turned red from the burst blood vessels in his eyes he could see the little girl reach out a hand and caress the smooth, wet skin of the horror which had him.

Summer turned her head away discreetly as her friend gulped Willie down in three massive bites. When the feeding was over, she patted his head. She did not like helping him to eat but at least this time it was a stinky, creepy old man and not a cute little doggy like the previous year. She looked into her the one, oversized eye, and she felt his love for her. They had been best friends for half her life. Gingerly she leaned off the dock and kissed his glistening face. She held out a dandelion which was taken gently by a tentacle.

They sat together for awhile before he had to return to the bottom of the lake and she to the cabin—her parents would be worried. Summer knew he would sleep down there until she came back next year. With one final wave goodbye, the little girl skipped away from the end of the dock, her bare feet singing across the boards as she went.

———————-
Christian Laforet lives in Canada’s southernmost city of Windsor, Ontario. Most of the stories he has published are on a site created by local authors called Adventure Worlds.
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