On this beautiful Saturday afternoon, the young family arrived at the lake and found the perfect secluded spot to relax and wade in the water—on a quiet corner of the rather large lake, past where everyone else was swimming near the parking area. Mom laid down the blanket on a patch of grass and unpacked the towels and snacks as the kids excitedly got ready to go swimming, grabbing their flotation toys and goggles. Dad took his shirt off quickly and told everyone he was going to be first in the water, quickly dipping his toe in before stepping back and jumping into the deep water just a few feet ahead. The water is perfect, he called back as he waded further out.
Mom demanded the kids put sunscreen on before getting in, and they slathered the lotion on and Dad swam out a bit further. He forgot how big this lake really was. He wondered how deep it got just out past where he was wading and dumped his head under to take a look. He opened his eyes and peered through the blurriness of the water, barely able to distinguish much. That’s when he saw what he assumed was a bunch of branches or dead trees below him. There was a lot, and he then saw there were parts of them with different colors as well. He squinted a bit harder, the water pressing against his eyes and keeping his sight unclear. Something about what he saw was not right.
He swam back to the surface and called over for one of the kids to toss him their goggles. He caught them as they were tossed through the air and he stretched the rubber band of the child-sized goggles over his head. Back under he went, and immediately his entire body froze when he looked underneath him. At the bottom of the lake were dozens and dozens of dead bodies, all in various states of decay and wearing bathing suits, their limbs all tangled together. A literal pile of human remains. Some were pale-skinned and looked more recently dead, while others were clearly there for much longer.
Dad splashed his head above the water and immediately yelled out for everyone to stay out of the lake. He ripped the goggles off his head and started to furiously swim back to the shore when he suddenly realized he was much further out than he thought. Mom and the kids were on the shore, all staring at him and calling out, asking what was wrong, what’s going on? Dad quickened his pace, his legs kicking as he tried to get back as fast as possible. Then he felt the grasp on his leg.
He cried out, kicking his leg with fright; the grip on whatever was grabbing him loosened. He stopped and looked down, unable to see anything in the depths. Surely there was no way someone was still alive and trying to grab for help. Panicked, he snapped the goggles back over his head and peered down again, looking frantically. The sight of the bodies again made his heart race and kick into overdrive, and his limbs were losing their strength. He lifted his head above the surface again and began his swim towards the shore before coming to an absolute halt, out of breath and terrified. Mom and the kids were gone, their belongings left on the shore; there was no one in sight. Dad called out, but no answer.
Regaining his strength, he kicked his legs again to keep swimming when suddenly the grip on his leg was back. But this time, it was not letting go. Dad kicked his leg and screamed, but the hand was pulling his leg with more strength than he could fight. Suddenly he was yanked harder than he was before and he was fully submerged in the water. Looking down, he saw Mom with her hand on his leg. Below her, the kids were pulling on her leg, and below them, the bodies linked together, all pulling him down into the corpses below. Like a human chain.