Lake of teardrops
You'll be the Lady of Blackwater House
All the rooms filled with sorrow
The lake filled with teardrops
The night was dark save for the moon glowing above, its silver twin rippling on the surface of the lake.
Laura dipped her finger into the icy black water and shivered. She lifted the finger to her face and watched the droplets run down it like tears, then shifted her eyes past it and out across the lake. It stretched away in front of her like ebony glass, with the moon a distorted orb near the centre. Laura could just make out the other side and its bank in the darkness.
To her right the shape of Blackwater house loomed next to the lake, all angles and crags, like some eerie castle. All of the windows were dark but for one lit by a single flickering candle.
A breeze twisted across the grounds and Laura shivered again, drawing her shawl tighter to her. It caught strands of her blonde hair and drew them across her face before releasing them again. Behind her the trees rustled. She didn't look around at the dead branches, sharp and entangled, clawing and rattling, because she knew it would scare her. So she blocked them out.
Laura leaned over and placed her hand on the water so it appeared as if it rested there. She shut her eyes, feeling the smoothness of the liquid as it lay under her hand, and let the cold seep in. She was trying to see if she could feel the stolen life running through the water.
How much of this lake had fallen from Anne's eyes?
She jumped, losing her balance so her hand sank under the surface. She whipped it out again almost as fast, spraying droplets into the air. She shook her hand violently, trying to remove the traces of black water, feeling contaminated.
"Laura, what are you doing out here?" Walter reached her side and crouched next to her on the bank. "You must be freezing." He slipped off his coat and draped it over her shoulders. He was faintly worried that she was wearing nothing but a long white nightgown and a greying shawl. Even her feet were bare. If he hadn't known she was dead he would've thought she were Anne.
"I couldn't sleep," Laura whispered, "and I saw the lake out the window so I came."
"Laura, come back inside," Walter pleaded softly.
She kept her eyes on the lake and ignored his speech. Again she put her finger on the surface and traced patterns.
Walter heard the trees whispering and glanced fearfully at the close branches before turning back to his wife.
"Laura, please." He sounded desperate, voice tainted with fear.
She was silent for a moment.
"I think I'm slightly mad Walter," she told him finally, in a flat, resigned tone. "I was sane when I went into the asylum but something about that place gets to you. I think I've brought a piece of it with me."
Walter gazed at her sadly. Glyde had robbed him of that sweet, fun-loving girl he'd first met. He wrapped his arms around her and held her to him.
"You're not mad," he told her softly.
Laura left the lake alone and hugged her husband back.
"But I am. I can hear things." She shuddered. "I hear Anne screaming as she fell from the window. I can hear her cries in the rooms of the house. Even here," she glanced out over the lake, "I hear the baby's screams as it's drowned."
Walter tightened his grip on her but couldn't think of anything to say.
"The water in the lake is bitter because it contains Anne's tears," Laura continued, shaking now. "I can feel death in the water." She clutched Walter's shirt and lifted her head to lock gazes.
"Walter, I hate it here."
Her husband nodded. "Okay, we'll leave. Tomorrow morning." He pressed a kiss to her cold lips. "Now come back inside."
Laura nodded tiredly and let him pull her to her feet and lead her back across the grounds to the huge oak doors.
As she passed through in front of him Walter paused and threw a look behind him at the still, ominous lake and frowned, imagining he heard a child cry.
The game is never over.
Walter shuddered and stepped inside, slamming the door on the lake.