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Tales of the Congaree

By Edward C. L. Adams; Robert G. O'Meally | Go to book overview

The Lake of the Dead

Tad: De big swamp draws people like a trap draws flies, an' people dies in de big swamps like flies dies in traps. Dey's all kind o' unknown critters an' varmints an' trees an' herbs an' pison, an' you meets unknown men an' ain' know wey dey come from an' you ain't know wey dey gwine. Dey ain' right an' dey takes on de ways of things dat ain't nat'ral.

Kike: Dey is dang'ous. Ole man July tells me dere is one place in de big swamp ain' nobody know wey it is, but if you wanders far enough an' long enough, you is sho to fin' it an' you don't come back.

Tad: I is heared 'bout dat place. It's a lake o' water wey all humans an' beasts perish on its shores.

Kike: Tad, you sho is heared 'bout it. When I been chillun, de ole folks ain' 'lowed we to talk 'bout it, it was so fright'nin'. I heared it were a place wey nothin' can live, an' if it do live, it ain' never come back nat'ral. Humans loses dey minds, an' beasts never does act like other beasts, an' dey says its shores is strewed wid de dead, a hog one place an' a cow, here a little bird an' sometime it ain' nothin' but a bug. An' dead men lie dere, an' ain' nobody ever sees life cepen dreadful things.

Dey say dey is always one an' sometimes two or three buzzards walkin' through over an' 'round de dead. Sometimes a buzzard will be settin' on a log, an' sometimes dey will be slowly walkin' 'round like dey ain' dere for no purpose but to make de place look more dreadful. Dey don't seems to have to eat de food dat's put 'efore 'em, an' dey looks like some'n dat's dead wid de power to walk slow an' dey walks like dey counts dey footsteps, an' dey footsteps is de footsteps of de dead. Once in a while dey shake dey self an' streches out dey neck an' makes a sound dat makes your blood creep like dey was tryin' to make things as worse for your hearin' as it is dreadful for your eyes.

A beast will walk to de edge of de water an' raise his head an' poke he head way out an' look 'cross de lake, an' den he sinks down. Some beasts draws back, an' all seems to have de

-32-

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