This week’s prompt is: 15. Bridge and slimy black waters.
The Resulting Story: The Valley Vathek
An auspicious place, bridges. Cross roads between two places, they are a place of uncertainty. Not surprising, then, that a number of bridges are haunted, particular by the ghosts of babes. The image of a bridge at night, lit by only a lantern, with black bubbling waters running beneath is a strong one.
If I were to focus on the bridge, I could include the horrible things beneath, such as trolls and tax collectors eager to make off with you belongings. Bridges, as frequent places of suicide, may also contain helpful ghosts or deeply disturbed forces that feed on such misery. The pain might be unimaginable.
A handful of supernatural creatures might assist in these drownings. The ahuizotl from Mesoamerica and the Rusalka from Eastern Europe both drown their victims, either by force or by lure. The Sirens of Greek myth had similair schemes in mind. Any of the three could lurk near our bridge.
On the other, there is a particular neglected (and quite Lovecraftian) monster that comes to mind with black slimy waters. The Creature of the Black Lagoon is one of the neglected universal monsters. No reboot for him, unlike the mighty trifecta of Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Werewolf (no sexy one either, so all perhaps is well). But as he’s appearance shows, he has that aquatic feel that the Deep Ones sometimes bear. His capture of a human female is…not terribly Lovecraftian necessarily, though Lovecraft’s racial prejudices could certainly play in. On second thought, it is akin to that strange son of Dunwich isn’t it? Or perhaps Dagon?
How then, could we work the Creature of the Black Lagoon? A troll like thing, haunting the bridge? Its Beauty and The Beast inspiration played for horror?
I would first try to wed the morbid nature of the bridge and the Creature. Perhaps it is borne of the dead spirits, congealed into a single body. A sort of demon of mud and leaves animated by the despair of men. Or perhaps it is the reason for the dead, a creature dragging ‘suicides’ below into the waters. An investigation may reveal such a creature, giving us a well practiced protagonist either way.
Such a protagonist, to be poignant, ought to be near a bridge. Either some association with the bridge, or perhaps at the end of life forced to confront it, or the youth of life seeing death so early. Either extreme of age would work well.
That is what I was able to unearth, fellows. What have you found?
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