Short story: Spirit Lake by Emma Barrett

9 Jul 2013 @ 11.52 am
| News

Clouds by Jim Pennucci on Flickr
Clouds by Jim Pennucci on Flickr

Spirit Lake
by Emma Barrett


The humans never set out to find us. You could call it an occupational hazard – we’re right under their noses after all… The thing is, they aren’t ready to be one of us, so they push the idea right out of their minds and make themselves believe in… what’s the word? Nothing after death. Could you ever imagine a less imaginative word? There is always something. In fact, having a body is a tiny fragment of the restless life that a spirit is destined to. Funny really, how they’re completely unaware. They have it right though, ignorance is bliss.

Kate was nineteen: a mere sapling. Like all humans, she took pleasure in the material things – books and houses and photographs. In body, she was fair with blue eyes, slightly larger than average feet and a crooked smile.

She liked her own company best and often liked to find the quietest, most uninhabited place that she could and lay down in the grass.

A particular spot where she often took her backpack and her thoughts was really a place forbidden to the likes of her.

She found the constant puff of grey clouds that tried to block the blinding orange behind them fascinating and would stare at them for hours, configuring shapes from their constant flow. The grasses below were long and she found that if she laid in them so that they formed a nest beneath her, the ones remaining would encase her in a world of her own. The lake a little way down reflected all that was above, creating a mirror into the spirit world.

Kate was unaware that she was only sitting beside the lake by invitation.

The usual reaction to a human entering their territory was to shut off the glow; clouds could move fast when they needed to. But Kate found that each time she visited her haven, the sky would be brighter than the last. The spirits were starting to let her in.

They couldn’t be seen: they are not carried by bodies. Instead they join together. They were the water that watched and repeated in reflection; they were the billowing trees that listened and whispered back; and the restless ones had power over the wind. These were often the new spirits who longed for the freedom that a human life brought close. These were the spirits who watched Kate intently – nudging, pulling, waiting to drag her under…


  • A number of talented Huntington School year 10 students took part in a one-day writing workshop – and YorkMix is delighted to be the first to publish their work
  • To find out more about the creative writing workshop, and to read the other students’ work, click here