Tuesday, October 25, 2022

“Goons” • by Christopher Blake


I stroke the oars and shatter the lake’s reflected stars. In the distance, a loon wails.

The sack in the bow groans.

“Shut up,” I say. “You’re dead.”

“I’m breathing,” says the sack.

“Good as dead.”

The loon cries again, or anyways I think it’s a loon. Only time I leave the city is to deep-six bozos ain’t smart enough to mind their business. Like this bozo who stumbled stark-naked into the boss’s most remote grow-op.

“You know,” says the sack. “You’re making a big mistake.”

“What, you going to haunt me or something?”

The loon wails again, only closer this time.

“Oh no,” says the sack. “Not me.”

Behind me there’s a splash. I whip around, but catch only moonlit ripples.

“Thing is,” says the sack, “That grow-op was my forest. And this is my lake. Which means I won’t be haunting you.”

Something scratches the bottom of the boat, and suddenly I’m overboard, my limbs tangled in weeds like a thousand grasping hands.

“I’ve got goons for that.”

I thrash, but a weed wraps round my neck and pulls me into the inky dark.

And underwater I see I was wrong.

It wasn’t a loon, after all.



Christopher Blake lives with his wife, cat-daughter, and human-son in Ontario, Canada.  He writes mostly fantasy and science fiction, some of which can be found in places like Galaxy's Edge and Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores.