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The needle in the creek is probably not a needle.

It may not even be in the creek. After all, we have dragged a net through the creek after every death and never found anything.

Some say that the needle is a fish that hides under the big stones.

Others believe that it an insect, indistinguishable from the larvae that float in the creek during the summer, and therefore invisible in plain sight.

The superstitious have dug up an old tale about an alchemist who was driven out of our town about a hundred years ago. After the alchemist left, the townspeople looted his house and destroyed everything that looked suspicious. In the cellar, they found a large pool of scummy water, in which dwelt a hideous creature, similar to a crocodile in appearance, but with slimy, translucent skin through which its bones and entrails were visible. None of the villagers dared confront it, so they set the house on fire to get rid of the monstrosity. But they were too hasty, and the flames flashed over to several neighboring houses. The creature fled from its hiding place, and, weakened by the fire, died in the creek near the village. The rotting carcass is said to have poisoned the water and led to the phenomenon known as the “needle”.

Needles to say that none of these explanations is satisfactory. However, it is a fact that there has been a string of strange deaths in our village, all of which can be linked to the creek in one way or another.

I personally have born witness to the following cases:

Five years ago, a farmer waded through the creek while searching for a runaway horse. He developed a fever almost immediately and died two months after that. On his leg, several puncture wounds were found. His body decayed with unusual rapidity.

Two years ago, a tourist, who had dismissed our warnings, bathed his feet in the creek. He developed no symptoms during his stay, but died unexpectedly three days after he left. The examination concluded that he died of hearth failure, although he was a sportive young man with no known history of hearth problems. His body was not checked for “needle wounds”.

Last summer, a young girl returned to her home pale and exhausted and with wet clothes, despite the fact that the day was dry and very hot. She seemed confused, and was put to bed by her parents immediately. Two hours later, when the doctor was called, a prominent red spot had developed on her forehead. Her skin was very pale, and her pupils were widened. She seemed to be in a kind of trance, babbling something about a city made out of glass, with pyramids, zigguraths and other strange buildings. Her mother noted the unusual, archaic vocabulary which her daughter used. The girl died shortly before she could be brought to the hospital.

The mystery of the “needle” remains unsolved.

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