Ursula Lake

Ursula Lake

by Charles Harper Webb
Ursula Lake

Ursula Lake

by Charles Harper Webb


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Former best friends Scott and Errol meet unexpectedly at Oso Lake, a remote Canadian fly-fishing paradise where, five years before, fresh out of college, they had the time of their lives. Their situations, though, have changed, their high hopes quashed by workaday realities and, in Errol’s case, marriage to Claire, who has come with him trying to stave off divorce. But Oso Lake has changed. The fall before, a woman’s severed head was left in a campfire pit beside the lake. The shadow cast by her murder is darkened further by a fire-scarred white truck driver who claims to be a long-dead Native shaman and has plans to eradicate not only Scott, Errol, and Claire, but all of Western civilization. The beauty of the wilderness becomes, every day, more threatening and perverse. But the worst danger the vacationers face may be themselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781636280219
Publisher: Red Hen Press
Publication date: 05/17/2022
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Called “Southern California’s most inventive and accessible poet,” Charles Harper Webb is the nation’s foremost proponent of stand up poetry. A former professional rock singer/guitarist and licensed psychotherapist, he is professor of English at California State University, Long Beach. His latest of twelve collections of poetry is Sidebend World (Universityof Pittsburgh, 2018). Webb has published a collection of essays, A Million MFAs Are Not Enough (Red Hen, 2016), and edited Stand Up Poetry: An Expanded Anthology (Universityof Iowa, 2002), used as a text in many universities. His awards include a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Tufts Discovery Award, and a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. An avid fly-fisherman, he lives in Los Angeles, CA.

Read an Excerpt

 The “deep hole,” when they reached it, went down barely two feet. The bottom was a snarl of roots that stretched like shaggy tentacles out from the trees on shore.
     As Scott’s fingers followed his leader to where it disappeared in green-black moss, the spinning in his head increased. He felt lightheaded, the way he had with the dying deer. Shadows danced on the water. Weird shapes flickered out and in. A tightness clamped down on his chest.
     Is this a heart attack? he wondered, fighting panic. A stroke?
     Don’t be a wuss, he thought. You just need a nap.
     The moss looked like it could hide some knife-toothed North Woods eel. Poking through slime, he felt his fly, and tried to twist it free.
     As if he’d turned a switch, the water in the hole began to glow. A woman’s corpse lay tangled in the moss and roots. Her head was gone. Ribbons of gray skin waved in an underwater breeze.
     The rotting tube of her neck rose like a trout, gaped, and slurped his hand inside. He tried to yank it back. His hand went numb. Then his arm. Then all of him. He felt like a convict immobilized by one drug while another sank its teeth into his heart.
     The monster’s throat felt like cold mud. Something rough as a cat’s tongue scraped his skin. His hand burned as if stomach acids were digesting his flesh. Some force was trying to pull him out of the boat. It could not be happening. And yet it was.
     Then the neck-tube let go. Scott’s hand shot from the water, gripping his fly: slimy, but unharmed.
     He looked around as if wakened from deep sleep. “Jesus!”

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