Story of the Week #12 — “Cygnet Lake” by Doug McBride

Since I’m bringing Story of the Week back after probably a year of neglect, I will treat you dear Readers to something short and sweet to start things off again. And since the deadline for the Fall 2014 issue of NEAT. is rapidly approaching, I think it’s appropriate to showcase one of the fiction pieces from our Summer 2014 issue, along with a reminder to hop on over to our call for submissions and send us your very best fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry.

Doug McBride’s “Cygnet Lake” is a succinct story about a young couple, one of which has feelings for the other — and doesn’t know if those feelings are reciprocated. It’s the story we’ve all heard lots of times — but McBride manages to create such a vibrant image in our heads of these two people sitting on a lake shore smoking at dusk that the story feels new and heavy. The theme for the summer issue was desire, and we accepted this story because we felt that it perfectly encompassed the underlying issues that go hand-in-hand with desire, especially the wistful language and imagery.

There’s a slight whistle of a sound that blows barely detectable through the dark green conifers behind us, out onto the churning surface of water down below. Off in the distance, a kayak approaches the far shore with a man and child aboard. The pines rise up above them like sentinels, guarding entry into the mountains where the sun vibrates and sinks into the tree line.

Read the full story here and tell me what you think.

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