16 min read


Cody provides a quite, pyschological horror piece that explores the disquieting depths of a pool known only as, "The Dying Place."
Photo by Elijah Hiett / Unsplash

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And now, Cody provides a quite, pyschological horror piece that explores the disquieting depths of a pool known only as, "The Dying Place."


Cody T Luff

I was not quite seventeen when Marie asked me to go with her to the Dying Place. I was much too in love to say anything but yes so we packed up her old Ford with a cooler, her dog CJ, and an old battery-operated record player. We drove off into the Montana night without telling a soul where we were going. In retrospect, I don’t think there was a soul interested in knowing anyway. Marie was 19, living on her own in a silver-walled trailer without water or power and my folks had given up on me sometime around junior high. I still had a bed I could sleep in so long as I wasn’t there during the day. Marie lived six miles from my childhood home and soon enough, I was staying at hers more nights than at my own.

I could lie about how Marie and I met, make it something beautiful and healing. But it wasn’t. We came together, refugees from our own lives, in the way only the very young can manage. We met walking on the same dirt road beneath a winter moon. Marie going one way and me going the other. We didn’t talk much, neither of us knew how, so we found the places we matched and that was that. I fell in love. Marie didn’t.

I never knew much about Marie. Her father died in Idaho. Sometimes the story went the way of him drinking himself to death. Other times it went the way of a logging accident. I got the feeling that even Marie didn’t know which one was true. Her mother left Marie in the trailer at 16. The town of Steventon didn’t care. There were no social workers, no friendly priests, no concerned citizens to make sure Marie was alright living on the edge of the woods in her little powerless trailer. From what I gathered, there were men who found their way to Marie’s, wanting things she didn’t want to give. But she had her father’s rifle and CJ to change most of their minds. Only one or two ended up leaving with a bullet hole in the hood of their pickup or an oozing dog bite on the thigh. After a few years of living alone, the town eventually chose to forget about Marie. When I entered her life she was growing weed for a small timer out of Hamilton, which was enough to keep her fed but only just. Winters were hard, her little wood stove and a warm dog were her only tools against the snow and darkness of a Montana winter. And then there was me.

I loved Marie more than I had words for. I loved that we could spend a day in near silence, sitting together on the bank of the Clark Fork river, watching the water go by shoulder to shoulder. We didn’t need many words. And those we used we kept simple. I remember nights in Marie’s bed, her arms around me, the smell of wood smoke and pine filling her bedroom. It didn’t matter that Marie wasn’t interested in sex, what mattered is that she was interested in me. I had been a living shadow in my own home since both my brothers went off to two separate wars in the same country. Neither made it back home. I became the ghost of two dead sons, neither parent could look at me long enough to feel anything more than grief. But Marie could. For a year, I lived in her arms or at her side, and to this day that year remains my happiest. Until we went to the Dying Place.

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