The Fishermen of Lake Derry

“Fish on,” Larry casually called out.

Ralph shrugged and nodded, shifting his red plaid flannel. He hardly needed to raise his voice, it was just the surprise. They were the only people in view, and the flat glass stretched for miles. The only excited thing in the boat was his reel, with its hyperactive clicking and zipping of the nylon line as the line drew trigger-taut.

He pulled the rod up to 11 o’clock. No resistance, no fight. Larry must have just snagged a weed or rock, and cranked the line in. Probably another lost minnow as well.

The water was too dark for Larry to see it until it breached the surface. Pale like a jellyfish, heavy like a clump of seaweed. It was a human hand.

Larry’s jaw dropped. The fishhook was embedded in the palm, tugging the skin outward, curling the hand outward in a ‘come here’ gesture.

“You okay, there, Lar?”

“Y-yeah, just fine,” Larry responded. He realized the blackness of the water was obscuring his view.

The hand was still attached to something.

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