My Old Foe

By Breanna Kettles

Lake Toplitz, Austria.

We meet again.

This time, I’ve brought my diving gear. You didn’t think I would, did you?

You mock me, as always, with your benign surface and inviting waves. Innocent swimmers would never know of the grave- yard that lurks below. Eighteen metres of freshwater swimming space, before a nightmarish layer of decaying logs, and a salt- water unknown beneath. It’s those logs which are the very reason why we cannot ever be friends, Toplitz. They wait in your murky purgatory, an army of the dead which defend your long-fabled secrets.

You know whether or not there is Nazi gold settling in the muddy floor, or why there is an aircraft, glimpsed once between the branches of your guard. You know why nothing can live below eighteen metres. And yet, you yield nothing. Perhaps it is because no one really looks.

I’ve probably been spoiled by the silt bed of Lake Superior, though she carries more than her fair share of secrets. There is no intent to hide them, and so, we get along just fine. But today is not about the issues I may or may not have with my home- lake. Today, I conquer you, and your loggy interior. Today, I defeat that lingering fear of the submerged, the bloated, and the rotten. They are trees, and you are a body of water. I fear neither individually. Together, you are a force to be reckoned with, but a force that I can defeat. I will best you. I am better than the twisted remains of a once-majestic tree, trapped in the void that is your body. Maybe I’ll even catch a glimpse of that Nazi gold you hold so close and dear. Today, I dive. Perhaps I’ll even build the courage to touch one. Now what do you say to that?


Oh dear.

There certainly are a lot of them, aren’t there? Okay. Breathe. Calm down. They don’t look like bodies or anything. They can’t hurt me, can’t hurt me, can’t…


This is embarrassing.

It appears that you’ve won again, Toplitz. Well played, my old foe.

Superior sends her regards.


… you monster.