Published on 2011/10/09

Muck Child

Jamie Grefe

We had heard tales of the muck and the murk, were told by the men in the town not to sit by the edge of the lake. The men said the murk is a form and that form is blood and black and has a shape. The shape of the murk is a voice. The voice that I heard on that day by the lake was a voice that I must not tell. No, I should not speak of the sound or the shape that came from those depths. But I will. I must. It is all I can do to stop the sweat, the chills, the choke, and the pain that holds me here where I sit in the dark of this place.

On that night by the lake in the storm, the voice took the shape of a child and that child was a girl. The girl-child was small and her form was the drip of the lake. She had come from that black muck of the lake. It was as if she floated on the top of that muck and saw us there by the edge of the lake. For a long time her form did not move but it stared with eyes that were dead holes, wide and black. From her small child form the murk spread out and up and she came close to us.

You held my hand as if I were the one who would know what to do. That child stood near and I saw that her face was a blank void of muck, storm, snow, and lake. Of abyss. Her shape was not like how our shape is with a face and a head. Her shape was the cold muck of the lake. She was ooze.

When the snow hit her, the snow froze black with the muck and the drip of her ooze. And from the storm I could hear her voice. The voice that she spoke was a soft and far-off voice. It blew in my ear. They found my ear in the lake and said it was soft and wet with blood and muck.

As the ooze crept up the snow fell hard and the world that was the edge of the lake where we sat was gone. You were gone and it was only me there with the murk and the muck and the small girl oozing death. At this time I should say as I sat by the edge of the lake what I saw. Near the ooze I saw the void.

The void was clear and not black and the ooze it spoke to me and the murk it blew in my ear with a faint breeze. It said, Come in. It said, Jump. The muck-child said, Come here, my love, Touch me now. I fell and my world was black and wet with snow and ooze. There was blood in my mouth. I felt snow on my face, death in my lungs.

The murk, they said, must have dragged me into the lake. They said that I came from the lake, from the muck, and my flesh was stained with your blood. To me it is a blank. To me it is a blank that I swam through the muck to the bottom with you in my arms. You, my dear, are a drowned blank.


Jamie Grefe lives and works in Beijing, China. His work is up at Mud Luscious, Pure Francis, Wonderfort, Danse Macabre and elsewhere. He is an insatiable coffee addict.