I’m home now, after taking the family up north for some Lake Superior/Gunflint Trail/Arrowhead action. We’ll be back soon, this time with canoes on our shoulders and packs on our backs as we sally forth into the BWCAW, but for now we are relaxing and reading and enjoying a bit of summer on the old sod.
I got back from a run this morning, and my neighbor wanted to know how the trip was. “Fine,” I said. “Wonderful. Lake Superior is the most beautiful thing in the wide world.”
“I agree,” he said, “though I confess I’ve been worried about it lately. Global warming and what have you.”
“You and me both,” I said. “We had a picnic at pebble beach and spent half a day out on Artist’s Point in Grand Marais and in both places I’ve never seen so many people swimming in the water. And for long periods of time.”
“And no shrieking? No obvious, flesh searing cold?”
“Nary a shriek,” I said. “The lake’s at record warm temps. It’s worrisome.”
“If it continues like this,” my neighbor said, “we’ll have to start worrying about the bodies.”
“Bodies?” I asked.
“Well, it’s like the song. Lake Superior it’s said never gives up her dead. Well that’s due to temperature. The dead stay down because the water’s so cold. If it gets too warm, maybe the old lake will start coughing up some of the bodies in those many, many shipwrecks.”
And I laughed and he laughed and I told him to have a wonderful day and I went inside. And then my brain exploded.
I have been obsessed for my whole life with Lake Superior ghost ship stories. My short story “The Leviathan’s Teeth” is about a particularly gruesome (and oft seen) ghost ship called The Erie Board of Trade. And I’m working (slowly) on a new YA book about ghost ships and haunted diaries and Lake Superior lighthouses on craggy islands which I’m kinda excited about.
Hordes of zombie seamen sklurking out of the abnormally warm (but still gale-tossed) waters to feast on the brains of the living? Men with nine-foot muskies under their partially-decomposed arms? The bones of old ships skittering out of the waves? I personally will not write this story because I scare easily and I can’t do zombies, and I might not even be able to read it. But I will likely buy it if one of you people sits down writes it, and I’ll give it as Christmas presents to everyone I know. Because….Come on!
LAKE SUPERIOR ZOMBIES!
I insist that one of you writes that durn book INSTANTLY. This is not a request.
I’ll be waiting with my checkbook.
(sidenote: Yes I already know that “sklurking” isn’t a word. But it should be. I shall start a campaign. I shall also pledge to use it every day, and I encourage you all to do the same.)