Vasant (Spring) 2021 Stories - Marcelo Medone


What the River Holds
By Marcelo Medone

Picture yourself in a boat on a river… No, I'm not talking about the Beatles song. I clear it up before you start looking for the tangerine trees, the marmalade skies, and the girl with kaleidoscope eyes named Lucy and the rocking horse people eating marshmallow pies.

Imagine a real river, not fictional or written under the influence of LSD or any psychotropic drug. Do you imagine it? And there is no boat on the river either. It is just a river. Although there is a Lucy in the story. That’s why I remembered the song.

Well, the river I'm talking about is the Misty Mountain River, a river of treacherous cold waters that winds from the heights of the eternal snows. Its original name is in a language lost in time and which is unpronounceable to modern man.

On the bank of the river appeared floating the naked corpse of a young girl. The problem is that this girl had been missing for whole eight years. And when such an unfortunate circumstance happened, Lucy Baker, that was the unfortunate girl's name, she had just turned twelve. Lucy's parents never stopped looking for her.

And when the body appeared, they did not hesitate to identify it. She looked exactly like the last time they had seen her, her blue eyes wide open with the same childish gaze, though disfigured by death. Not to mention the hideous open scar on his neck. There was no doubt that Lucy had been murdered.

John Baker, Lucy's father, had been searching for a runaway or mentally lost girl that at that time would be in her twenties.

But the girl they found had not aged and her nubile body did not show the natural putrefaction of the passage of time. The village doctor ruled that she had been in the water for a maximum of one or two days and that she had not been sexually abused other than killed. And there was no question that it was Lucy Baker when she was twelve.

Once her identity was confirmed, the local priest blessed the body and the required solemn funerals were performed, finally burying her in the old cemetery. Lucy's mother wept inconsolably. The father, in addition to crying, sought revenge for the scandalous death of his daughter and also sought answers to the inscrutable mystery of those lost eight years.

An old man, older than time, approached John Baker after the service.

"Allow me to express my condolences to you, sir."

"And you are?"

"Kamal. We don't know each other, because I rarely come to town. My place is up there, on the banks of the river, taking care of my sheep."

John looked at him with piercing eyes.

"Were you the one who found my daughter?"

"No. Let's say I didn't find her. That is what puzzles me. Since long before she was born, I have watched over the place where she appeared. And I had never seen her. Eight years gone, right? Long time."

"What do you know about it?"

"That the river is treacherous. She has hidden eddies that swallow things that disappear suddenly. I once saw her devour one of my sheep."

"And what's so strange about it?"

"Misty Mountain is an old and secretive lady. She never gives up her dead."


"My little Bella had a birth defect, a split lip, very unusual. And two years after she disappeared into the river, I found her lying on the shore, dead. And it was Bella all right, as if she had just drowned."

"Should this you tell me be a comfort to me? What good is an explanation that explains nothing?"

"I just wanted to tell you what I knew, sir. But I'll go on my way and bother you no more."

John Baker watched Kamal walk away, a bitter taste in his mouth. He went to where his wife was, hugged her and held back his tears.

"Let's go home, our daughter is no longer here."

The next day when the sun rose, Lucy Baker' mother was alarmed when she couldn't find her husband in his bed. She went to the stable and noticed that one of the horses was missing.

Later, they found the horse tied to a tree by the river bank, next to the place where Lucy's body had been found.

No sign of John Baker.

The only one still waiting for him is an old sheepherder named Kamal.


Marcelo Medone from Argentina is a fiction writer, poet and screenwriter. His fiction and poetry have received awards and have been published in magazines and books, both in digital and paper format, in various languages in more than 30 countries all over the world.


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