Lake of lost souls

a writing by Jelena Mijajlovic

I feel that I am close. Unusual shiver passes my body. Vista becomes more and more hazy. Sounds are diminished. The air is different, somehow colder. And the path ends here. I continue on foot to walk the moist unbeaten soil, on its way through the densely covered forest, fighting with hands of trees that grabbing me and their sharp black claws. I get stuck the shrubs and stumble. Swarm of crows is hovering over me, in the opposite direction from my destination, as if they were frightened and decided to scud. What is there? Where I was going? All around is peaceful, like the forest has sunk into hibernal sleep. Legs carry me, and I don't know where and why. The night will fall soon and I still haven't stepped out of the forest. Sullen hours of my life…
Finally, I got there, in opening - on a placid lake, mist-shrouded. Some miracle, the coldness soothes me . Lurid serenity on the place like this one. No one in sight, except for black swans, guardians of souls. Like a mirage, they came out of fog. The sky is gray as if it was in mourning. Only one black tree – old, bare and dried but still stands proudly. Its poor branches hang over the water as if the tree wants someone to catch it and emerge … escape. Footprints are engraved in the earth. So many of them, from all sides… And all they lead to the lake, but not back. Semblance that I wasn't first who came here.
I close my eyes, breathing in order to absorb the atmosphere better; feel what can't be detected with the naked eye. I listen to, not moving, and re-breathing the air of a thousand lives. I hear the call for help, barely audible voices, grievous cry. Odor of arson was spreading the air. Odd currents of wind, as someone's fingers touching me. Something pushes me and wakes of the trance. I turned in vain, glanced but only the forest behind me. I blow on the fingers to warm them up. My breath freezes.
Three swans floating gracefully and safely, keeping souls not to flee; sail to the coast, towards me. They stalled for a few moments, watching me intently and then turned around, returning to the middle of the lake. I trembled slightly at the moment and saw me leaving for them. I stepped into dark freezing water and soon disappeared. A gleam was standing on the surface and a few moments later, it vanished. The snow began to fall, covering traces, hiding this haunted lake and dyeing black feathers of swans in white.
While my soul was leaving me, I was just standing silently on the shore.

In the midnight hour…
Awakened fears

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