"Are you ready?" Risikat solemnly asked her half-sister, Arike.
Arike's bright eyes widened in anxiety at the question. She stared at Risikat for a long moment. Risikat furrowed her brows in silence, her stare questioning.
A deathly silence hung around the crystal, clear Igbala lake and its surroundings. No human being or animal could be seen except for these two women. The water was still and clear, with no waves, just a faint breeze that lightly swayed small green leaves on trees around the lake.
Arike stared out into the lake, searching for the end of it. She was lost in thought. Everyone who'd visited the sacred lake got whatever their heart truly desired. Will she get hers? Risikat held both her forearms and shook her.
"Yes!" She whispered. Risikat stared at her, unconvinced.
Arike nodded. "I am. Truly."
Both young women turned to gawk at the lake in surprise. Right in the centre was a fishing boat and a woman dressed in a white flowing gown sat inside it. Arike gasped, her hand on her throat and the other gripped Risikat's.
Despite the stillness of the tranquil lake, the boat did not sway. It was like they stared at a picture of a most beautiful, almost ethereal woman in a boat in the centre of a lake. She looked surreal until she smiled at them. The hairs on their necks and hands stood erect while their skins pebbled with goosebumps.
"Bow!" Risikat whispered harshly to her sister and pulled her down with her. They were at a place and moment where any mistake could be their undoing.
"Rise, young ladies," said the woman in the fishing boat. Though far out in the centre of the lake, the women could hear her like she was beside them. They rose from their obeisance and gazed at the woman.
"What do you seek?"
The sisters glanced at each other and back at the woman. Risikat spoke up. "My sister needs your blessing, my lady."
"Yes," Arike croaked and nodded in affirmation.
The woman smiled slightly. "No, she doesn't."
The sisters frowned and glanced at each other once more. "My lady, I really need your blessing," Arike said, stepping forward a bit to plead her case. "I don't enjoy my home without a child and I want one I can call my own. Please grant me the blessing of a child so my husband can love me more than the other wife."
The woman in the boat tipped her head a little to the left as though listening for some sound in the breeze. "Once again, young woman. You don't need this blessing. This is not what you truly seek. Your heart's desire is clear before me in this water. You seek recognition and love, not a child…"
The woman held up an index finger. Risikat drew close to Arike and gripped her hand in warning.
"Be at peace with your husband and your child will come without much effort."
Both women nodded. "Thank you, my lady," Risikat replied while the woman nodded and vanished before their eyes. She took the fishing boat with her.
I hope you enjoyed reading my piece. This freewrite is inspired by the prompt "fishing boat". Join the @freewriters community to receive daily prompts, hosted by @mariannewest. You are invited to participate.