Wednesday, May 9, 2018
We were on a family vacation at a crystal clear, mountain lake in Tennessee. My parents had rented a lake cabin for our week-long stay, devoted to boating and skiing.
Our first day, my sister and I had already explored the nearby woods, fashioning a make-shift fort in a cluster of trees, but, bored with that fairly quickly, we then turned our attention to the beach.
Walking along the sandy edge of the water, we discovered a nest of floating, gelatinous blobs. Nodular. Brain-like. Groovy. And I don't mean in the 1960s flower child way. Bobbing on the ripples.
My sister asked me what they were, and being the smart ass, eleven-year-old I was, it was exactly the right amount of encouragement I needed to contrive a far-fetched tale, intended to scare the heebie-jeebies out of her, about these unfathomable beings.
We kicked at them, ran them through with sticks, pummeled them with rocks, all the while, I wove my fanciful yarn. In my most sinister voice, I detailed for my sister the story of how, after dark, these slimy creatures, triggered by the moonlight, would bulge and swell to a humungous size, monstrous and grotesque, hungering for foolhardy campers. A fresh-water jellyfish uprising bent on revenge against those who had dared to harm them. I explained to her, with my eyes wide and intense, if we survived the night, we should all count ourselves lucky.
My sister listened amused, but unconvinced, and she went about the rest of her day unaffected.
I, on the other hand, had told the story so well, so masterfully, I spent the remainder of my evening in a state of lather, prickly with dread.
What if I was right? What if it was all true?
I didn't want to be the main course at a gummy-monster banquet. But darkness was coming, and I was powerless to stop it. Therefore, I went to bed – at about 6 p.m.
Bring it on, mucous demon, if you can find me under my covers.
My one advantage, by hiding in the sheets, was my family members were still up, still fully visible, oblivious, unhidden...the horde would get them first.
I awoke the next morning, alive and intact. Unconsumed. Un-congealed.
All just my crazy imagination. So preposterous. Fffff, I hadn't really believed it, anyway.
But just to be on the safe side, for the rest of that week, I maintained a distended distance from the beach. No reason to push my luck. No need to poke...the blob.