Haunting Refrain

Excerpt


They stood in silence at the water’s edge. Deep shadows disguised the outline of the rough bank; a soft night-wind ruffled the surface of the lake. Although it wasn't cold, Kate wrapped her arms around herself.

The water lapped gently against the base of a large rock near the edge of the concrete. She sat down on it, her expression blank. John pictured Kelly as Kate had described her, floating, her arms outstretched toward the dark sky.Kate knelt by the lake

Kate's head snapped up. “Boats! Where do they keep the boats?” She jumped up, turning as she tried to see the shoreline, and would have tumbled into the water if John hadn't caught her arm.

“What boats? What did you see?”

“I'm not sure.” She exhaled, deflated. “Probably nothing. Water slapping against something. I don't know if I imagined it or saw it.”

“Well, what was it?”

“I think she was being carried through the woods. She was already dead.” She tilted her head back, looking at the skewed trees, and lost her balance again.

“What the hell are you doing, Kate?” John caught her again. He didn't know whether she was crazy or possessed, but she certainly needed a keeper.

“Let go!” She shook herself free, shaking her head at the same time, trying to clear it. “I'm sorry. I’m glad you’re here. For a minute I couldn't tell what's real.”

“Could you just tell me what's going on?”

“I was trying to concentrate on Kelly, picturing her in the lake, but then I saw the trees, sort of upside down.” She described what she had seen, adding, “But I don't know if it really happened. The only times I've ever seen anything before are when I've touched something.”

“Maybe you did touch something. That's where the diver who first saw her was sitting. They brought her out about there, too. Would that be enough?” He didn't tell her what the diver saw, or how sick the guy had been.

“I don't know. I'm not sure of anything anymore.”

Dark lake“Let's back up. You said you heard water slapping against something. And you asked where the boats are. Did you see the boat?” John peered into the darkness, blocking out the moon with his left hand. “There are no rental boats here. It had to have been a private one.”

“This isn't helping. I couldn't see the boat. I don't really know if I saw anything,” she muttered in disgust. “Maybe I'm losing my mind. I don't know what's going on.”

“I sure as hell don't,” he said. “The body had to have been in a boat to get that far out into the lake, but anyone could have put in at the Jocassee landing and gone out toward the middle. We could find out if there are any private landings with access to this lake, and who owns them. See if any familiar names turn up.”

“Why would someone come all this way to dispose of her?”

“Because this lake is over a thousand feet deep in places. If he had hit the right area, she would probably never have been found. I think she must have been killed and brought directly here on that Friday night she disappeared. It was dark and rainy
and—”

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