Drifting in the River

Drifting in the River
It was getting colder. The cold mist was rising up through my clothes, my skin prickling with its icy touch. They emerged slowly out of the foliage of the enchanted forest, surrounding us in an eerie deafening silence. They were coming closer, I could feel their unrelenting cold glare from their eyes hard and sharp. Each man, woman and children held a single candle: they waded gracefully through the misty of fog towards us as if they were floating. It seemed they were unable to feel the river’s ice-cold touch. We looked around for an escape but in every direction the forest was dotted with the dreaded single lights. What were they doing here? What were we doing here?
The oar became slippery in my sweaty hands and I gripped harder onto it. The river was perfectly still and yet, the boat moved on its own along the placid river, deeper and deeper into the darkness and the unknown. Eventually, we arrived in front of a tattered hut and slowed down. The gnarled fingers of the tree, covered with moss, firmly seized onto the hut: they wrap all around, on the sides, some of them poked and penetrated through the walls. There was a greenish light with a slight hue of yellow, revealing through the balcony grimed with mud, matching the similar color of the burning candles. There seemed to be no one inside, yet there were sudden squeaks of the wooden floor inside the hut every now and then, contrasting with the complete silence out on the lake.
Then it struck me: the foul, rotten smell emanating from the hut. It is such a strong scent, a mix of the smell of feces, puke and stale sweat, aggressively penetrating into my nostrils. Rotten meat in a hot summer day, bodies burnt in the dark pits of hell, a bleeding cut with maggots crawling all over it. I abruptly turned away, while the women, men and children were still floating in the water, approaching us, chasing us closer and closer to the hut. They suddenly stopped, standing as still as statues, an eerie melody flew out from their yellowish teeth and tongues, resonating over the river, between the thick layers of leaves, the branches, the patterns on the barks and tree trunks.
The melody was offbeat, but everyone was singing it together, the cut of every note sharp and clean. I was feeling uneasy about all of these and my fingers sweated even more. Each note got longer, deeper, and hoarser. It was a harmony of sadness and sorrow, of bleakness and desolation, of suspiciousness and evilness. It was praising then cursing, mourning and calling. Looking at the hut, all of a sudden I saw a thin a small silhouette standing on the balcony. My oar slipped out of my hand and onto the water surface, the long-lasting silence was broken by the thunderous ‘thud’ as the oar hit the water. My heart was racing. For a brief moment, it seemed that the silhouette smirked towards me. I lost my consciousness.

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