ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Children of the Pond: Flash Fiction by cam

Updated on November 13, 2019
cam8510 profile image

Chris has written more than 300 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.

Girl in the Woods, Vincent van Gogh


Children of the Pond

Jennifer stood on the shore of the pond watching the investigation unfold. Dredging equipment stood ready to go into action after scuba divers made preliminary observations. She felt as though her sanity were on the line. No one had believed her ghost tale as a ten-year-old, and she hoped today her story would be proved true. Thanks to the county voters, there was a new Sheriff for her to work with, and he was behind all the activity that was going on around her. Jennifer allowed her mind to return to a summer night, twenty years earlier.


Jennifer and her parents spent the week in a forest cabin. She was prone to wander in search of anything peculiar such as a web-building spider or a beaver gnawing on a tree.

Her parents were relaxing on the porch late one afternoon when Jennifer wandered into the forest. Not one to stay on the main trail, she took a path that branched off into the darkness of the trees. Something bright, colorful, yet small caught her eye. Jennifer loved collecting pretty stones so she picked up the red oval object. A jelly bean? A step farther, she found a green one, then blue. Soon her pocket was bulging with the colorful candies.


When she turned around to go back to the cabin, she heard the voice of a child calling from the shadows. She and her parents had been in the wilderness for several days and hadn’t seen anyone, so she was surprised to hear the voice of another child. Jennifer walked until she was standing on the shore of a pond. She looked to her left, but no one was there. She looked right and was startled to see a man, standing ten feet away, exhaling twin jets of smoke from his nose as he held a cigarette in one hand and a bag of jelly beans in the other.

“I heard a child calling,” she said to the stranger. “Did you hear it?”

The man said nothing, but flicked his cigarette away. Jennifer watched the butt arch through the air, sparks falling into the dry, mid-summer grass.

“You shouldn’t do that. You might start a fire,” she said. When she turned back, the man had disappeared, but the cigarette continued to smolder. She walked over and stomped until there was no sign of smoke.


“Where are you?” she said, speaking to the child who continued to call out, the voice coming from the pond. The setting sun cast long shadows across the water. She waded in until something surfaced, swimming toward her leaving a wake behind. She backed toward the shore, but too slowly to escape.

The man rose out of the water, standing on its surface. He was smoking another cigarette. As smoke rolled from his nostrils, the child’s voice came from his mouth.

“Help me,” he mouthed. “Come to me and help me.”

She was standing in water up to her chest when the surface began to churn as if boiling. Dozens of hands and arms rose from the roiling pond, reaching for her with bony fingers partially covered with decaying flesh, grasping as they moved in her direction. Jennifer screamed as she backed away from the oncoming horde.

Heads broke the surface with vegetation growing out of empty eye sockets and nostrils. Mouths opened and closed, releasing guttural sounds, befitting orcs and goblins. Ghosts of the dead children moved in and out of the corpses as if they were unable to fit into their own bodies. The man grabbed her shoulders and lifted her from among the rotting children. “Daddy?” she cried. A burst of laughter on a fetid wind and a cloud of smoke was her only answer.

The man thrust her down until she was completely submerged. She kicked and tried to scream but succeeded only in inhaling gulps of pond water. The hands of murdered children dragged her down toward the graveyard of mud and weeds.

Large hands gripped her shoulders and pulled her up again. Her face broke the surface and she sucked in the precious air. She kicked against her unseen foe, thrashing in the water, screaming for her father.

“Jennifer, stop fighting. Jenny, it’s me, your father.” The child ghosts sank back into their dark world as gentle arms embraced her.

“Jennifer, are you okay? What were you doing out here in the pond?” Her father held her close as he carried her to shore. She rested her chin on his shoulder and hugged his neck, eyes locked on the pond. The heads of the children reemerged and they called out to her. The strange man, suspended above the pond, sank into the muddied water.

“Did you hear them Daddy?”.

"Hear what, sweetheart?"

"Never mind." She lay her head on her father's shoulder and closed her eyes.


Jennifer's mind returned to the present. The sheriff brought her a diver’s bag from one of the crew. It contained the bones of children. At last, people would know the truth about this place. They might even discover what happened to all the children.

As she scanned the worksite, a man caught her attention. He stood on the opposite shore watching her as he exhaled twin jets of cigarette smoke from his nose. He tossed the cigarette into the pond, and Jennifer’s eyes followed its trajectory. When she looked back, the man was gone.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      3 years ago

      This story is more than creepy and scary. It can be downright frightening for any parent. It carries an implicit warning for parents.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      5 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Ruby and Mary, I am so happy to hear that you felt the creepiness in this story. While I don't think I achieved the response of fear, creepiness will just have to do. Thanks for reading and letting me know what you thought.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      Write on Chris! This was great. I could almost hear the "silent screams" of the children, not to mention the monster rising from the pond.

      Creepy, suspenseful, and fun to read. This was a great response to the challenge. You'll have to let us know how well it was reviewed, because I know it will be well received.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I don't think I'll be going around any pond in the near future. Scary and foreboding. The creep with the cigarette needs to stop smoking. Hee.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      5 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Larry, thanks for reading and I'm glad you found the story suspenseful.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very suspenseful.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      5 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      MsDora, We all need a good scare now and then. I'm glad I could provide it for you in this little tale. Thanks for reading my story.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      As frightened as Jennifer. Good, scary job!

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      5 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Thanks Bill, I appreciate that. I've discovered in the NYCM challenges that it is one thing to write well, but it is an entirely different thing to write in the genres correctly. What does that mean? I'm not quite certain. It appears that there are parameters, guidelines for the genres and when you step outside those boundaries, you're finished, no matter how well you've written. I'll explain my first round SciFi story when I get the judges' feedback, which will happen any time now.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm certainly familiar with the film. Chris, you write these as well as anyone. Best of luck in the competition.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      5 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Ann, if you aren't familiar with the film "Creature From the Black Lagoon" check out the Wiki article. That was the perfect monster for my story, at least for when the man turned back into the monster. I like your ideas for motivation.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      5 years ago from SW England

      The motivation for killing could perhaps be local children had taunted him badly? Or maybe pushed him in the pond to drown? Or maybe it went hand-in-hand with his more sinister crimes? I'm sure you've thought of those already. That photo of the 'monster' diver is still haunting me!


    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      5 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Becky, I'm happy to give you a creepy beginning to your week. Thanks for reading.

      Ann, I think water may be the best for hidden terrors, or at least second to darkness. Nice to see you at the beginning of a new week.

      Shauna, I have a lot more background on the pond and the children. Yes, the creature with the cigarette is responsible for their deaths. They serve him. What I don't have is the creature's origin or his motivation for killing.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      Jennifer will never be free of that creepy experience! She must have been terrified when the bones of lost children reached out to her. Was the man with the cigarette responsible for their deaths?

      Thankfully, she was spared.

      Creepy story, Chris. Good luck in the contest.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      5 years ago from SW England

      Definitely creepy. Anything to do with children and ghosts adds an extra fear-factor for me. Water helps the 'hidden terrors' side of things too.

      Well told, Chris, with the chilling possibility of continuation at the end!


    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      This was very creepy and would be terrifying for a child. I would have been terrified.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      5 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Christine, I'm glad you liked the story. It was definitely a challenge to write. it's nice to see you here.

    • profile image


      5 years ago


      Nice preamble

      ...she felt as though her sanity were on the line....she hoped her story would be taken seriously..."

      These opening sentences took me on board right way; keeping my interest to the tales finish.

      I liked it; read it more than once actually.



    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      5 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Hi John, Thanks for being the first to comment on this story. I tried to ratchet up the "creep" factor on this one as high as I could in one thousand words. I'm glad you found it to be creepy.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      5 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Wow! Chris this one had a real "creep" factor. Had me hanging on every word, and loved the ending too.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)