“Willow Pond” by April Grey

March 17, 2012

Post image for “Willow Pond” by April Grey

What lurks beneath the black mirror surface of the pond? Do memories lie therein or dark fantasies? [18 min]

Excerpt:

By that point, my mother was no longer among the living, and so, there was no one to warn me about Willow Pond.

I never married or had children, and I suppose Aunt Margot chose to leave her worldly goods to me simply because, like her, I was alone. She could have just as easily given the money to the local dog pound, a place where she had donated her services well into her eighties. Something is to be said for pity, as I was planning an early semi-retirement and her place, an old farmhouse sitting next to a pond surrounded by ancient willows would serve me well.

Upon her attorney mailing me the house keys, I courageously rented a car. I rarely drove and had never driven a manual. So, it was my misfortune that the only compact available on the lot was a stick shift. Still my spirits were high as I traveled down small country lanes and through quaint villages still unacquainted with the likes of Walmart or Kentucky Fried Chicken. In fact, I was wondering exactly how desolate the area was when I spotted a gas station complete with a convenience store attached. I heaved a sigh of relief, grateful that some vestige of civilization remained in this rural outpost.

I fueled up the tank, bought some supplies, and checked my directions to the property. The station attendant gave good directions, and within three quarters of an hour, I turned into a drive, quite overgrown, but recognizable for the statues of lions guarding the gates on the stone wall.

I hadn’t been there since a young child, and though I remembered that some unpleasantness had unfolded there, I couldn’t remember exactly what. My mother preferred not to discuss my father’s side of the family, understandable after the divorce, and so I never sought out the story of my one visitation with Aunt Margot.

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