The Canal

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“Sean!”  a woman’s voice called out from up stream. 

“Sean!’ A man who sounded vaguely familiar called from somewhere nearby.  The weary voices of a hundred volunteers filled the air overhead with the name.

Sean chuckled darkly. They would never find him, no matter how many times they trudged up and down the old canal.  His hiding place was right under their noses.  He sat on a ledge, undetected, that was worn into the soft rock in the century since the canal was built by Sean’s ancestors.  The black water flowed sluggishly, belying the strength of the current. It lapped and dipped away from the entrance of the tiny hollow allowing the man glimpses of daylight.

“Sean!  If can hear us say something!” his mother’s tearful voice drifted into the cave. 

“Mom?”  Sean whispered. His heart fluttered in his chest and for a moment he wanted nothing more than to lunge from the cave and comfort her.  But the thought of leaving his perch filled him with pure terror.  

Sean blinked at the cold winter light and tried to remember why it was so important that he stay hidden. His memories were hazy.  He couldn’t even remember how long he’d been on the ledge or how he got there.  The face of a beautiful woman swam to the front of his mind, but the vision inspired fear instead of comfort.  She was waiting for him out there. Her forked tongue and gleaming reptilian eyes matched the hiss of her voice.

 

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