Bayou waits and watches, patient as an open grave. The young man’s
shirt clings heavily to his skin, channeling rivers of sweat down his
back as he poles the pirogue further into the quickly darkening swamp. A
slight breeze rises and the Bayou whispers words no man understands.
he pushes the small boat under a moss-laden cypress, branches clutch at
his arms and tear his cotton shirt. A cottonmouth, angry at the
intrusion, drops into his boat from the tree. The young man uses his
pole to flip the deadly snake into the water.
“You won’t take me, Maggie,” he rasps, “not while I’m still breathing.”
web of rotting vegetation bubbles up under his pirogue and stops the
small boat dead in its tracks. He struggles against the pole but the
snag holds fast. Wearily, the young man kneels and submerges his arm to free the boat.
A slimy hand grasps his own.
Before he can pull free, a second takes his arm. The air grows thick
with a green churning mist, chocking his lungs and draining his
strength. At last he collapses and the slimy hands pull him into the
water. The boat rocks a final time and then floats free… alone.
the swamp’s edge, in a small Southern Florida town, a young boy ignores
his elders and sets out alone to explore. The Bayou lies in wait and
whispers words no man understands.