Sarah planted both hands on the railing of the boardwalk and peered down at the murky water and ferns. The signs for the preserve had advised to look down at the water as well as out at the trees to spot wildlife. So far, she had only spotted a tangle of wilting pink balloons ensnared in a cypress tree.
She sighed, hoping to spot an alligator, or at least a wading bird before leaving. When she spotted the small, pink sneaker sticking out the mud instead, she leaned closer, fearing the worst. It wasn’t until the little girl sat up from the muck, a crimson gash contrasting with her grey, sallow skin, that Sarah began to scream in earnest.
L. Stevens lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and two dogs. When she isn’t writing, she is exploring local sites for inspiration and watching morbid amounts of true crime documentaries.
You can read more from L. Stevens here.