Over a still lake, pale pink fog rolled, muffling the surrounding forest noises to silence. I knelt on the pebbled shore of a small peninsula, cleaning myself in the water. Splashes echoed into the distance. Goosebumps raised on my chilled skin.
Once I finished, the surface became mirror smooth. Reflecting the fog back on itself until every direction appeared soft and billowing as a dream. My own reflection grew crisp. Somewhat at odds with the surrounding blur.
But something seemed… wrong. I’d have thought my reflection had just moved on its own.
I concentrated, not blinking. Not breathing.
Though mine rested at my side, my hand in the reflection reached toward me. Fingertips broke the surface from below, water streaming off the outstretched palm. Plaintiff. Desperate.
I took the hand in my own, fingers gripping clammy fingers. Only now I had my own for comparison, I noted the much greener cast of the other one.
The mysterious hand yanked hard. I fell forward, up to my elbows in water. Rocks scraped at my knees.
Another yank. I scrabbled against the loose stones for purchase. Happened to catch on a big enough boulder to stop myself flying into the drink. Bracing my foot against the rock, I hauled backward on my trapped arm.
With a mighty yell, I flopped my assailant halfway up onto shore. Green limbs flailed and web-toed feet flopped. These attached to a person with all the amenities of a frog. Golden eyes. Wide mouth. Wormy tongue.
The frog-person released me with a hiss. Turning, it hopped back into the lake, breaking the surface again enough to stare daggers at me.
I wiped a sheen of slime from my assaulted arm and flicked it into the water after the creature, who just responded with a long, sulking croak.
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