The Warden’s Curse

“One gaze, one gaze is all it takes and The Warden has you for all eternity. You’ll find it best to avoid his light lest you become his undying, unthinking slave.” These were words I used to think sounded like complete nonsense. They were passed down for generations without question. They would say he preys on those just on the verge of death and only appears to them.

My view on these tall tales changed rather quickly after a certain incident though. It was a still night out on the water, the kind where the wind doesn’t move and it seems as though you can hear the slightest noise from miles away. The only thing breaking the silence was the trees rustling every now and then when I’m assuming a bat had landed on them. There were even no crickets this night which was odd. Most people would find a night like that terrifying but I found it calming.

That is until I felt a slight bump on the bottom of the boat. I looked down into the water and didn’t see anything at first. But then, something materialized. To my horror, this something had the vague shape of an alligator. I was about to high-tail it outta there but, before I could even put my thoughts together to do so, it rammed the bottom of the boat so hard that it flipped it over. Without a doubt, knocking me into the water.

As I was frantically trying to reach the surface I felt it latch onto my leg. Feeling every sharp tooth as it dug in at this point, I did what I could only think to do before it entered a death roll. I grabbed its top and bottom jaw and pried them off my leg, giving me time to swim back to the surface. Swimming to the bank, on the other hand, wasn’t such an easy task with this thing gradually gaining on me. I eventually made it though, with only a short distance to spare, but, luckily, it lost interest.

With that problem taken care of I was still not quite out of the woods. While in my delirious state of mind, and still losing blood, mind you, I got the notion to look forward into the brush. My gaze was quickly met with that of something less than normal to put it lightly. It was a tall dark figure slowly rising out of the marsh in the distance. It had an inhuman shape underneath what I can only assume was a cloak, but, for all I know, it could’ve been its skin. Its head looked like a mess of dead tree branches. It looked at me and that’s when I saw the light.

I don’t know what it was about this light but it made a feeling wash over me, one I can’t explain. It wasn’t curiosity so much as it was me just needing to be near it. Soon enough, I would be near it because the figure was now making its way towards me. The feeling was getting stronger as it approached and my vision was reducing. Now, from what I could still see, there were other forms coming out of the marsh, only, these ones did look like humans. Only one thing was off about them though.

Their eyes appeared to shine the same color as the figure’s light and they seemed to be mimicking its movements. It was almost as if they had no other choice. I soon snapped out of my trance and realised the peril I was in if I let this thing get to me. Not wanting to become like them, I started yelling for help and, to my surprise, I was met with a response. Apparently, I wasn’t the only boater out that night.

Someone soon came to my aid and, as they loaded me in their car, after applying some basic first-aid that is, I looked back into the marsh and didn’t see a single creature in sight. Relieved, I finally let my heart stop pounding. That is until she asked me what happened and I told her everything, even the crazy stuff. After that, I saw her face go from contentment to being drained of all color. She then relayed a story to me that made my heart jump.

The story was of how, during the aftermath of a car crash she’d had a few years back, she’d seen the exact same creatures beckoning her.