They danced in a circle by the shores off the lake, laughing as they held each other. Their shifts, made of white samite, fluttered around their knees as their feet squelched into the wet ground below them. It was the morning of the vernal equinox, a time of regrowth and enchantment.
The three danced thrice clockwise, then thrice more counter-clockwise before returning to the former for three more rotations. Nine was a magic number to them, the number of years they'd been friends. They smiled at each other, white teeth gleaming as their eyes sparkled.
And then, the waters roiled. They stopped dancing, suddenly scared. Turning, they looked at the lake and saw it. It was man-shaped, but obviously not a man. Scales took the place of flesh, pale aquamarine scales that hid the being from those around it until the last minute. "Hello there," it said in a watery voice as its pale white eyes seemed to shift from one girl to the next. "So nice of you to visit me."
The girls stared at it in a mixture of fascination and horror. They wanted to run but, one by one, they fell to their knees in supplication.