I

Jason Williams wiped the sweat of his forehead as he turned off the grey paved road onto a dusty dirt road that led through the woods. The trees of the forest loomed over the car, and made the red convertible look puny compared to the massive trunks of the trees. Sun barely peeked through the cracks of the forest canopy, creating havens for the small woodland insects.
As he drove, the tall trees thinned out to smaller ones, maybe twenty feet high or so, creating a little clearing. On the side of the road there was a stake hand-hammered into the ground, with a makeshift sign on it hat read, "Shimmering Lake: 5 miles". The sign had been worn over the years, and the letters, written in red paint, we beginning to cake and peel off.
As he drove on, Jason tried to remember his parent's description of the lake. The told him about the cabin they had in a cove, near the east part of town, and the dock they would walk out onto every morning, and enjoy a peaceful breakfast in a canoe out on the lake. They told him of the toy store, and how any toy he could imagine was there. Jason's parents would bring him back something each year. Each time they arrived back at home, he would wait to see the Alvin's Toy Collectors and Wholesalers tag hanging out of the suitcase, or in a bag somewhere. Jason he would go to that toy store (if it was even still there) and buy something for old time's sake. After their passing, he had been telling himself he would make it up to this place eventually.
After crossing a small poorly made bridge across a creek, he found himself once again surrounded by woods on the other side. He remembered the man at the gas station back about 40 miles saying that you have to cross over two small bridges, then one main bridge in order to get to the lake town.
Jason rolled down the top to his convertible, figuring that he'd speed up a little, and have the wind blow in is face and through his hair, a feeling that had been described to him by his father, many years before. He turned the radio on. He couldn't find any of the stations he usually got back in the city, but he made do with a local Shimmering Lake station. Good way to see what's going to be going on around here for the next three days. After a few commercials, a disc jockey finally came on:

"Gooooooooooood morning to all y'all out there, and welcome to the Lenny and Carl Morning show, here on WXYZ, serving the Shimmering Lake and Dragon Lake areas. Today we'll talk to Robert Stevens, the chairman of the annual Shimmering Lake Fair about what to eat, who to meet, and where to go! We'll also have our own Stacey Kensington broadcasting live from the fair, later today! So sit back, relax and get ready for a beautiful day in Shimmering Lake. And don't worry, all y'all over in Dragon Lake shouldn't forget about tomorrows town meeting, where Sheriff Marks will be-" Jason switched off the radio. He figured he'd head into town, find a place to stay, get something to eat, and then try to catch the latter part of the fair.

The one time Jason had ever been to Shimmering Lake was about 15 years ago, when he was about 10. His father and he were there for his mother's funeral. It had been in both their wills that they wanted to both have their service and be buried in Shimmering Lake. Jason remembered the first time he had every laid eyes on the town. Everything his parents had told him was true, and then some. As they pulled into town, he could smell the salt from the lake already. He had been excited just to be there, despite the reason they were making the trip. It was to be a week long stay, with the funeral service at the beginning. As their car pulled off the third bridge, and pulled onto Main Street, he took in the sites: Tony's Subs and Pizzas, FixItUp Pawn Shop, the local Supermarket and the flea market in the parking lot, and most of all, Alvin's Toy Collectors and Wholesalers. Like the town, just the sight of the toy store had excited him.
All that was in the past, and the same sensation began growing inside once more. Jason passed another poorly made sign, this time, the letters in orange paint, reading "Draidal Bridge - 100 ft." He felt butterflies in his stomach, thinking about being back in the place he had so loved after only one visit.
The bridge was closer away now, and the dust was getting really bad. Jason was driving into the wind, and the dust was kicking up against the car. In a matter of seconds, there were already three dents in his windshield. He put on his sunglasses to shield his eyes, even though there was no sun that was able to make it through the trees. He began to see the clearing about forty five feet away now, approaching at a steady rate. Despite the sunglasses' effort, dirt and even some small pebbles were hurled into his eyes. As he reached the edge of the bridge, he slowed down, but not quite to a halt. The bridge looked wobbly; and after what looked liked over fifty years of use, you couldn't blame it. Locke River, which flowed beneath, was neither a stream nor quite as big as a river. Still, the thought of falling in was unsettling.
Jason's front wheels put weight onto the bridge, and it protested with a deep groan. The bridge was about 300 feet across total crossing the river in three different places, and going over wetland while not directly over the water. As he finally pulled off the first river overpass, something out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. At first glance, Jason thought he saw a large tree stump, some 50 yards out into the woods. As he drove further away, in his rear view mirror, he could swear he thought he saw a man standing there, just watching him. He continued to look in his mirror, until the man was no longer visible. When he put his eyes back on the road, he saw the impossible: his mother and father were standing there, with smiles on their faces, looking at him. Without even thinking, Jason veered off left, taking the car into the water.
At first, Jason panicked, and tried to open his door, but remembered all the movies he'd seen where people did this and water flooded in, and decided against it. He decided to let himself get carried along by the water, which seemed to be flowing faster from this perspective, and eventually his car would catch on something. Water started to leak out of the air vents, and he remembered he was still receiving outside air. He quickly switched that off. It was like a giant log flume, only one wrong hit and "crack", the window's broken and he'd be dead. All of a sudden, the car did catch on something. The front end hit a rock sticking up from the bottom. The air bag went off, and the car was pushed by the current so that it was flipped onto its top, and then the window met with another rock, and like he feared, split so easily open. Water, freezing cold water at that, rushed to fill the car as quick as possible, and Jason, bordering on hysteria, blacked out; his last thought being the hand the punched through the window, and grabbed his shirt.

CHAPTER II COMING SOON!