Magnus could feel that the grass was cold through his jeans, and in the distance, fireflies danced above the lake, highlighting the moon’s reflection in the calm night.
He had sat there for a while, twirling his wedding ring and thinking. How could he have been so stupid? He had had everything, and now he had nothing.
His thoughts attacked him like a flock of angry birds, and he just couldn’t stand it anymore. he’d have to tell her, but by doing that, he knew it would be over.
In a moment of anger directed more at himself than anything else, he ripped off his ring and threw it into the lake.
Watching the ripples it created distorting the beautiful reflection was a Hallmark image if there ever was one.
He regretted it instantly, even though he knew he’d never wear the ring again after that night.
He was about to turn around and walk away when the water started moving. He was taken aback but couldn’t help but watch as something rose up from it.
With every step it became taller, and he realized he was looking at a beautiful woman.
Her blonde hair ran down the length of her back, and on her body she wore a shimmering green dress made entirely of giant scales. The sight was mesmerizing; he couldn’t help but step closer.
“Hello,” she said. Her voice had a hypnotizing effect.
“Hello.” He wasn’t really sure whether to run or stay, but there was something about her. Something that pulled him in.
“Why did you throw your ring into my lake?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. It was a mistake.” What was he supposed to say, really?
“A man doesn’t throw away something as special as a bond between a him and a woman without a valid reason.” She looked him over. “You’ve been unfaithful. I can see it in your eyes.”
He could hear his heart make a cracking sound. For some reason it sounded so much worse coming from the lake woman’s lips.
It stung, burned him up from the inside, and he wanted to scream, rip off his clothes and take a dive just to cool down his boiling blood.
“I was going to tell her. Tonight,” he whispered, not sure the woman heard him. “Oh,” she responded and took a step closer.
“She deserves to know. It’s bad enough that I did what I did, but keeping it from her, that makes it worse.
” He could feel the tears welling up in his eyes and one of them threatening to make an escape and run down his cheek.
“I understand,” she responded and was now standing right in front of him. Looking at him as if he were a foreign being, appearing before her world of beautiful people.
“Who are you?” he managed.
“It is not who I am that matters. It is what I can offer.” She smiled and reached out her hand. “Come with me.”
She didn’t respond, but he took her hand anyway. As if wherever she would take him would be better than here.
Her grip was strong, and he soon realized that she was taking him toward the water.
“No, please! I can’t swim,” he quickly uttered and attempted to dig his feet into the ground, but it was futile.
He was almost floating above the ground, as if standing on ice, and she was pulling him. Closer and closer to the indigo blue.
He could feel the water touching his legs now. It was cold and somehow wetter than he had expected. It started pulling on his pants, weighing him down, and he opened his eyes wide. Terrified.
“Please. I beg of you. Let me go.”
She didn’t respond that time either, just pulled him in closer and kissed him.
When she wiggled her ears, he thought he could make out gills hidden beneath the cartilage but wasn’t sure whether he was hallucinating or dreaming.
Before Magnus knew, he was completely submerged in water, but to his surprise, the woman was breathing for him. She dragged him deeper and deeper into what seemed to be a bottomless pool.
He wasn’t afraid anymore as much as curious. Thoughts rushed in his head.
Who was she, and where was she taking him? By now he could feel the pressure from the water around him and knew he had to be deep and going ever deeper.
It was dark, cold, but somehow he was still alive.
The only light was the lady’s dress, which seemed to emanate a mystical green, flashing light at passing fish and deep-water plants.
He was just about to reach the bottom when she let go of him and took a step back. By his feet he could see a glimmer of some small object. He couldn’t make out what it was.
Struggling to breathe and realizing he couldn’t, he just stood there on the bottom of the lake. He waved his hands and feet in every direction in a futile attempt to reach the surface again.
The last thing he saw was her beautiful green eyes and a smile so wide that it was somewhat eerie, considering the circumstances.
“What the...?” he exclaimed, coughing and opening his eyes wide.
He was back by the lakeside, in the same place as before, but his clothes were wet.
He didn’t know whether it was from the grass or if that strange dream had really happened until he saw that next to him was a large, green scale, resembling those that made up the woman’s dress.
When he turned it around, there was a message, written in a neat cursive.
Your mistake can ruin one or two souls. Make the right choice.
As he stood up, attempting to shake all of this off, he looked at his hand and almost tumbled back down again.
On his ring finger, his wedding band gleamed ever so brightly in the fading moonlight.