by John W. Steele
It was great to be in love. Linda and Brad sat on a porch swing gazing out at the beautiful blue waters of Crooked Lake on a calm sunny afternoon in mid August. The lake, which was the last remains of an ancient caldera, sat high in the Adirondack Mountains. It wasn’t a very big lake but it shimmered like a fine diamond in the magnificent sun.
A dirt road wound around one side of the lake and led to about a dozen cottages. Linda’s parents owned a home on the lake and she had grown up spending her summers there. At the far side of the lake was a mountain with many limestone chasms and cliffs. There was an old Indian trail that wandered around to the other side of the lake but no road and it was inaccessible except by foot.
As Brad lay with his head in Linda’s lap he reached over and began to feel the inside of her thigh. She slapped his hand and said, “Not here, and not now. My mother is in the kitchen... Besides, didn’t you get enough this morning?”
“I can never get enough of you.” Brad said, and gently removed his hand.
They continued to float on the porch swing of the cottage like two lovebirds. Linda was Brad’s first true love and he was so crazy about her it was as if he were in a spell. She made him feel like when he was a child, like the thrill he had the first time he rode a Ferris wheel.
Brad sat up for a moment and looking far across the lake, he said, “What is that huge cliff over there?”
“That’s Superstition Rock”
“Why do they call it Superstition Rock?”
The wind picked up for a moment and sighed, rattling the leaves of the large old maples.
“Well the legend has it that once there was a mighty Mohawk warrior named Red Eagle that went to battle with the Algonquins over fishing grounds. He was killed in the skirmish, and his betrothed, Gentle Dove, was so distraught over his death that she went to the top of Superstition Rock on the night of a full moon and begged the spirits to allow her to go to be with him. The legend says she jumped from the cliff and ascended into the sky never to be seen again. Now it is said that a couple in love who walk completely around the lake on the night of a full moon are bound together forever and shall never part.”
They continued to sail back and forth contentedly on the porch swing for a while, oblivious to everything but each other.
Then Linda said, “Don’t you wish it could be like this forever?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean in less than a month we’ll be back in college. Maybe we will get married. Have our 1.8 children. Later you’ll get an ulcer working 55 hours a week and I’ll be on Prozac and paying for yoga lessons I’ll never attend, just before we divorce 13.7 years later. I’m studying sociology, remember? Don’t you wish we could just have this wonderful feeling together forever? No worries, no future, no end, just now?”
Brad laughed. “Yeah... it’s like being stoned on mescaline, only better.”
“Do you want to be with me forever, Brad?... I want to be with you forever.”
“Linda, you know I do.”
A gentle aura of silence descended upon the area... like a vow had been made.
“Let’s walk around the lake tonight,” Linda said. “It will be a full harvest moon and I know the trail pretty well. I’ve walked it before in the daylight.”
“Didn’t you tell me once that some guy and his girlfriend walked that trail one night and they like disappeared... as in ‘never heard from again’?” Brad asked.
“Well that was a long time ago. Mr. Lyons who lives down the road told me they eloped... who knows? But you know what I think? I think you’re chicken.”
Brad stood up and said “I’ll show you who’s chicken,” and he started to tickle her as they both laughed and wrestled like children.
* * *
A glorious yellow moon lit up the heavens. It was a picture-perfect night, and the stars twinkled in a frenzy, creating a surreal atmosphere. The whole panorama glistened in an the exotic moonlight, illuminated by the celestial glow.
Before they left the cottage, Linda brought out two Chinese candle lamps. Setting them on the kitchen table she lit them up and said, “Lets take these with us for light. One for you, and one for me”
“What’s wrong with a flashlight?”
Linda looked at Brad for a moment, winked, and answered, “Candlelight is so much sexier, don’t you think?”
Brad snatched up one of the candle lamps like a cat snatches a bird out of the air.
In a short while they were walking down the old dirt road; ahead of them they could see where the road ended and the trail around the lake began. The trail was swallowed up by the trees. In the darkness it looked like the entrance to a cave. The candle lamps gave off a soft, warm illumination and provided just enough light to guide their feet along the trail.
They walked about a half a mile up the incline as they ascended the mountain. When they crested the peak, before them appeared magnificent Superstition Rock.
Walking out onto the level precipice, they could hear the gentle waves of the lake as they slapped the solid rock base below them. The cliff was flat and even like the floor of a room. Setting the candle lamps on the cliff, they gazed across the lake.
Linda said, “Isn’t it strange? I can see the shore of the lake on the other side, but I can’t see any lights in the cottages. It’s like they’ve disappeared.”
“Maybe it’s just fog.” Brad said.
“I don’t get it,” Linda said. “I’ve never been here at night, but logically we should be able to see the lights across the lake.”
Brad had other things on his mind. He gently pulled Linda to him and held her in his arms beneath the heavens as the stars looked down upon them with envy. They stripped off their clothing and tumbled to the ground. They began making love, like animals enveloped in the mysterious light of the moon. When it was over, Brad lit up a Marlboro, with one arm around his naked love.
“You’re right,” he said, “I never want this to end.”
As soon as Brad’s words were spoken an enormous meteor flew through the sky illuminating the entire panorama. They watched in astonishment as the glowing orb sped through the heavens with impossible velocity and disappeared over the horizon.
“That was awesome!” Brad said.
“I’m frightened! That meteor lit up the entire sky and I still couldn’t see the camps on the other side of the lake. I want to go back.”
“Who’s chicken now?” Brad said. “It’s awful hot. Let’s go for a swim. I promise we’ll return as soon as we cool off.”
He smiled gently at Linda. “Don’t get hysterical, it’s only some sort of an illusion. This cliff is too tempting and I have to jump. Besides... do you want to live forever?”
Without a moment’s hesitation Brad dove from the cliff, hurling himself into the lake. Soaring gracefully through space he felt like a leaf gently floating in the sky. He collided with the water making a large splash.
The water was wonderfully refreshing and Brad called up to Linda. “Come on in. It’s a blast. It’s not that far to jump.”
Linda let out a loud shriek and flung herself from the cliff. She splashed into the beautiful dark lake, creating sparkles of water droplets that flickered like glowing embers in the moon light.
“Well, it looks like we didn’t make it to heaven, but this will do,” Brad said. He swam over to her and held her gently feeling her warm naked flesh against his body.
They continued to swim for a while enraptured in the cool refreshing waters of the lake
All of a sudden Linda said, “Brad, we really need to get back. Something just doesn’t feel right. Let’s go now.”
“Yeah okay, but this is so cool, I really hate to leave.”
They climbed back up the path leading to the cliff and got dressed.
“Which way do we go?” Brad said.
“This way! Follow me.”
They walked for a long time, changing directions every few hours, but they could not find their way back to the other side of the lake. The full moon did not move, nor did the night ever come to an end.
It is said in the heart of summer, when the moon is full, you can hear voices coming from Superstition Rock and see two strange soft lights moving slowly along the lonely mountain trail on the far side of Crooked Lake.
Copyright © 2006 by John W. Steele