Totenmere. It seems a strange name, almost Teutonic, but it fits somehow. A local once told me, ages ago, that it translates as ‘dead water’. It’s a description that suits well. The lake is almost constantly shrouded in a mist that hangs down like some great veil. At its most dense in the dawn and the evening, it never really lifts, as though to hide some great and terrible secret. Because of this, the water seems to stretch away into forever, fading into a foreboding, bleak greyness. Every once in a while, some sound will startle from out of the distance; the chirp of insects perhaps, or some lonely bird call, escaping just long enough before being choked away by the damp air. A reminder that life is to be found, if you look hard enough.
As if to make a mockery of nature itself, the lake is dark and still, like a great pool of the blackest ink. A fluid void, from which not even the limited light can escape. I’ve no idea just how deep it runs, but even today there are whispers among the older locals, that it is in fact bottomless. There are old stories of hidden caverns, of creatures thought long dead, that would rise to take anyone foolish enough to dare break the stillness, to drag them down into that jet darkness, never to be seen again.
Maybe that’s why I – we – like it here so much. People are sometimes so very quick to forget that the darkness can often be beautiful. That any silence can be a thing of peaceful tranquility.
You knew it though, just as much as I did. That’s probably what drew us to one another. In a small backwater village such as Totenmere, it’s usually so difficult, almost impossible, to find a like mind, a kindred spirit. I still find it hard to believe that I ever did. Though it’s so easy to do so, I refuse to take it for granted. It would be so easy to forget life as it was before you. It sometimes feels like an eternity ago. As though the time before you was lived by someone other than myself, spent merely existing, drifting onward like a shadow, vague and unformed. Then we met, and you saved me from my life, from myself.
Everything changed. Everything.
-From “Dead Water” by Lee Glenwright
Find out more about the eerie Totenmere here: Millhaven’s Tales of Terror