The rumours of a beautiful creature guarding an ancient treasure hoard at the bottom of the lake, were as old as the settlement and tourist facilities that had built up around it over the generations. Luke didn’t think much of the rumours, local legend or not.
He was here for the fishing. Well, and a bit of swimming.
Leaving his gear in his small boat, Luke jumped into the dark blue water, plunging below the surface. The water was cool and deep in this part of the lake, and Luke emerged refreshed and gasping. Paddling about a bit, he left the boat behind him, taking in the scenery. When the sun appeared from behind the scattered clouds, Luke turned onto his back and floated, arms and legs spread and eyes shut, soaking in the sunlight.
After maybe ten minutes of floating, Luke grew bored, unable to lie still any longer. Taking a deep breath, he dove beneath the surface, eyes open to take in the blue world around him. Spying fish, rocks and lake greenery, Luke was intrigued when he spotted something bigger moving in the murky distance. He rose to the the surface again, face streaming with lake water and gasping for breath.
Eyeing his boat still bobbing in the lake behind him, and seeing that there was nobody in the area likely to approach his boat before he could, Luke shrugged and swam casually in the direction of that indistinct something in the water. Maybe it’s one of these so called ‘creatures’ they talk about ’round here. Probably Loch Ness’ sister or something, he thought, smirking.
The boat now several more metres behind him, Luke swam a new more strokes before stopping and ducking below the surface again. Feet kicking rapidly behind him, he dove downwards, eyes scanning the gently swaying greenery and glancing over the silver flickers of fish darting away from him. Unable to see anything that looked like what he’d seen earlier, he allowed himself to float upwards. As he made to propel himself to the surface, he caught a glimmer of gold in the corner of his eye.
Breaking the surface with more gasping and spluttering, Luke grinned. Maybe what he’d seen earlier was gone, but there was something down there. Something worth a second look.
Diving once more, he headed straight for the sand and silt of the lake bottom, looking for the glimmer of gold again. Spying it, he swam closer, curious to see what he’d found.
It was beyond anything he could have hoped for. What looked like dozens of gold coins littered the lake floor, unlike anything he’d ever seen and seemingly untouched by its watery tomb. As he reached out to touch the gold, unable to believe his luck, a a flash of skin and the shifting of water around him made him look up.
A naked woman was floated nearby, long blonde hair a halo around her head. She was looking at him, smiling.
Lungs screaming and mind boggling at his luck today, he scooped some of the coins and some sand from the lake floor, before kicking off to rise to the surface.
He didn’t make it far; the woman swam towards him, still smiling. Mind on nothing but air, Luke ignored her, until she snaked her arms and legs around him, naked and clinging like a limpet. Closer now, Luke could see the smile didn’t reach her eyes. He struggled, lungs burning with oxygen deprivation as he tried to indicate to the woman that, flattered as he was, he needed air. Now.
Still clinging to him, floating together in the water, the woman struck, kissing him square on the lips.
Shocked, Luke ripped his mouth away and inhaled, lake water flooding his mouth and nose. Choking and drowning, Luke kicked out and struggled against the iron grip of the seemingly angelic woman, to no avail.
Cold lips found his again, her lips smirked into a cruel smile as she stole the last of his air, and his vision dimmed. Fist loosening around his useless treasure, the last thing Luke saw was the cold smile of the beautiful creature from local legend, the treasure she guarded floating from his palm back to the lake floor where it belonged.