Iris waved her hand from left to right under the water, attempting to clear the object in her hand of mud. Squinting through the foggy goggles, she turned it over examining its edges. Nope, just another rock. She flipped it off to the side and it sent up another cloud of silt as it came to rest in the muck on the bottom of the lake.
Iris surfaced briefly, sputtering momentarily then taking a deep breath and plunging back in. She spotted a smooth, curved edge jutting out from the reeds and muck. Grabbing at it, she pulled it up along with mud and a few pebbles. Shaking her fist, she could feel the shape emerge as the sediment washed away and knew it was what she was looking for. She added the clam to the pail bobbing with the waves a few feet from her. She looked at her haul and decided she had enough.
Without touching the bottom, Iris pushed the bucket along towards the dock, only standing when the sludge had given way to the smoother, sandier bottom. A rock lay waiting near the edge of the dock. Iris took a clam out of the bucket and placed it as flat as it would go. She raised the rock and muttered a brief, “Sorry,” before bringing it down on the sturdy shell. A small crack formed. She brought the rock down again and this time the shell gave way and bits of pale flesh spurted through. She picked pieces of shell away to expose the rest of the slimy flesh. Using one of the larger shards of the shell, she cut the mollusk away from the other half.
“Why are you doing that?” Adam asked as he meandered down the cement steps to stand over Iris.
“You said you wanted to go fishing later. I’m just getting you some bait.”
“Aren’t worms more traditional?”
“These’ll work too. Why don’t you throw on your suit and come join me?”
“Nah. Won’t get me near that dock. There’s something living under there.”
“It’s just the fish that you’re hoping to catch later.”
“No, there’s something… else under there too.”
“Oh really? What?”
“Don’t know but I’m not rushing to find out.”
“Call me what you want, I’m staying up here. Good luck with your bait.” Adam walked away.
Iris rinsed the clam in the water next to her and put it in a pile before moving on to the next in the bucket. She made it through five more then felt something brush up against her leg. She used her other foot to brush whatever it was away. Probably reeds. She went back to her clams and rinsed another in the water at her waist.
The reed rubbed against her shin again. She ducked her head into the water to see if she could uproot the annoying reed. And looked into a pair of hazy eyes that gazed back at her, continuing its attempts to pass.