Treacherous Crossing

Inwood Hill Park

Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan via Google Maps, © Francisco Ayala

They say your kind cannot cross running water.  Not even by boat, or bridge, or flight.  Tricky prospect, in this land of rivers and streams: I cross three just to reach my daughter’s house. You must be frustrated, stuck on limited wedges of land.  Like the one on that opposite shore.

The rains have been slow this summer, and Big Creek runs low. More puddles than anything else.  And puddles aren’t strong enough to stop you.

Walking the shore I find dams of twigs, crustaceans struggling through muck, bird-claw marks on the mud banks.

Then yes –there– footprints.  Crossing over to our side.

The others scoffed at my warnings too many times. They won’t be helped. I will gather my family at home and ward it well.  Do what you came to do and leave, quickly, before the creek rises.

You don’t want to be trapped here with me.

Word count: 150.  Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw challenge.  Big thank you to Joshua for finding what is probably the only part of Manhattan that I could use for Eneana!  Click on the link to see which images other writers found when they followed Pegman around Manhattan, and what stories those images inspired — and feel free to write your own!


24 thoughts on “Treacherous Crossing

  1. I thought of you the moment I saw that image! One you can use without having to trawl through a thousand pics 🙂 Love this idea, the descriptions too. There’s a predator on the lose and although your narrator is wary, getting ready to defend their family, there’s no sense of feeling cowed here. If anything, I feel worried for the creature that can’t cross water! Lovely, lovely evocative writing

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Lynn! I had the exact thought when I saw this week’s image. Last week I searched and searched and used up all the time I had for writing and reading, and still hadn’t found a good image. Ouch.

      I was picturing the narrator as female but it’s so hard to portray that in first person, with so few words to work with. Ah well, it works either way, I suppose. And yes, I have a certain sympathy for the creatures who are bound by the waters — and she seems to, also, although not enough to risk the safety of her family, so she’ll hunker down and let them pass. Or maybe she’s just sick of being disbelieved and disrespected by her neighbors, to the point where she’s not willing to risk much for their safety. Anyway, I don’t think either party would like to be trapped on the same island together.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the lovely comment, Karen! It’s always great to hear someone went back to read it again because they liked it (and not because it didn’t make sense the first time around). And yes, I’m feeling a bit sinister today. Must be the weather. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve constructed your story beautifully, Joy. You develop the tension really well, while simultaneously drawing your MC’s character for us by her thoughts and actions. And, as others have said, the last line adds a totally unexpected dimension. Your MC is by no means helpless. Not merely can she defend herself, she is also strong enough to make the marauder think twice about staying on her patch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Penny, I really appreciate your comment! That’s how I was picturing the MC, so it’s great to hear it came across. She’s not looking for a fight, but if they bring it to her, and threaten her family, she’s going to make them regret it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the way you describe the evidently dangerous creature and his “cage,’ created by assumptions about his abilities and Nature’s constancy. The narrator seems to accept the fact of the creature’s escape, and to realize that the inevitable price, to be paid for lack of foresight, will be the death of those, who weren’t expecting the creature to ever escape. And the final line–the warning to the creature that he’d better watch his back–shows hope is not lost for this group, as long as the narrator is there to defend them. Very heroic stuff, but, as I read it, I can’t help seeing how neatly it acts, as a metaphor for global warning, assuming you believe in such things. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for this great comment, I’m so glad you enjoyed the story! I hadn’t thought about the metaphor for climate change but yes, now I see it. Her warnings go unheeded, and yet the danger comes to those who don’t believe as much as to those who do. Interesting take!

      Myself, I was caught up thinking about that common limitation of certain supernatural creatures, that they can’t cross running water, and how problematic that would actually be in real life. Big parts of the world are totally crisscrossed with rivers, and they go for long, long ways: how would these monsters *ever* leave their little patches of ground? Must be very frustrating for them, no wonder they’re angry.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oooooh I love this! Reminds me of that Hammer movie with Daniel Radcliffe–Dark House, I think. A haunted manor he has to ready for…auction, I think?…anyway the road is covered with every high tide. Very surreal setting as the water slowly overwhelms the road, then pulls away…

    Liked by 1 person

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