Last night, my boss Lisa posted a picture of a wraith, stating it was one of her favorite types of characters outside of the normal ones. I’m going to assume by “normal” she meant creatures such as vampires, werewolves, zombies, demons, etc.; the creatures we expect to see in the horror stories we read and watch. She then asked what some of our favorite non-normal characters were.
And so I give you: the grindylow.
Those of you who are Harry Potter fans should be familiar with the concept of a grindylow, but for anyone who may not be, the grindylow is a mythical creature originated in Britain. Usually depicted as a green creature with long fingers, horns, and sharp teeth, the grindylow is a water demon that is known to capture and eat children who wander too close to their lakes and ponds. It is thought the myth of the grindylow emerged, as so many, as a way to deter children from mischief-making and danger.
The reason I love the grindylow so much is it represents two of my own personal fears: the fear of drowning, and the fear of losing my children. It is a mythical creature, one that doesn’t exist, yet the threat it represents is extremely real for me. That fear inspired the following piece of flash fiction, entitled “Lost by the Lake.”
The scream was smothered by the crunching of leaves and snapping of twigs as she scrambled through the trees. Frigid air burned her lungs. Her racing heart bruised her chest. Callous branches snagged in her hair and ripped at her skin, intent on keeping her from the water. And the purulent stench of rotting foliage assaulted her nostrils, suffocating her.
She was close.
The lake beckoned, dark and foreboding, lying in wait as she burst through the trees. Skidding to a halt, she glanced around frantically.
She heard it first: a wet, eager suckling. Drawn to the sound, she moved, the ebb and flow of a noxious mist swirling around her feet. At the edge of the water, she saw it hunched over a child’s body, its scales splattered and fangs dripping, blood garish in the moonlight.
Lifting its head from the mangled corpse, the grindylow’s crimson eyes met hers, its gaze malevolent. Its mouth stretched open in a hideous mockery of a grin, and it slithered back, dragging her lifeless son until they both disappeared beneath the surface.
Tears streaked her pale cheeks as she stood, motionless with shock, watching the lingering ripples stretch out into nothing. When she noticed a pair of molten eyes observing her, she met its gaze.
“Please. Take me, too.”
The grindylow’s smile was cruel, its gaze mocking. With a slight shake of its head, it vanished, deliberately abandoning her to the merciless clutches of grief.
So there you have it. One of my favorite “non-normal” horror characters. And now I want to know: what are some of yours? What creatures do you like to read about? Write about? What creatures have you read/written about that exist outside the norm?
I’m dying to know!
(See what I did there? See? Giggles.)