We all have shadows that live behind our words.
Anna looked carefully around her. She needed to be alone, just one more time. She would never have come back here if she hadn’t promised. It was so long ago. But she was a woman who kept her word. She had keep it for 41 years. Now she had been given a limit on the time she had left. Three months, that was it. There were things she needed to do, and time was short.
She was 21 when it happened. He was 24. They were just kids, they didn’t know about death. They learned a lot that night. There were two others in their party, young lovers. Two people in the first blush of love and totally oblivious to the world around them. There was no moon that night, no wind. It was quiet, deathly so. Perhaps it was a sign. Maybe they should have paid attention.
Anna and her lover walked into the forest hand in hand. They talked about their future, how many children they would have and where they would like to live. They stopped and kissed with long gentle caresses. They were comfortable in their companionship. This night was a way to let Michael and Holly have a chance to be together. Two young lovers. It wasn’t perfect but laying blankets down in the grasses would do. And the starry night would be the only witness to their love.
After a time Anna and Simon returned from their walk. They were laughing, happy. How quickly the world can change. Michael stood at the edge of the water staring at a rowboat a few yards offshore. Holly was nowhere to be found.
Anna sat on the edge of a rowboat that was overturned at the shoreline. She wondered briefly if it was the same one. Decades past. Michael wouldn’t or couldn’t tell them what happened. The blanket was gone and so was Holly. Simon waded into the water to retrieve the boat and it only added to the mystery. There was blood on the bottom of the boat, not a lot but enough that Anna worried.
It was a different time, different expectations. No one seemed to miss Holly. No one asked where she was. Even the police didn’t seem to care. No body no worries. Michael never spoke about her except once. A few weeks after the fateful night Michael asked Anna if she would scatter his ashes at the place he lost Holly. She agreed never imagining that he would be dead three days later, by his own hand.
She did as she was asked with Simon by her side. They tried to forget that night, tried not to wonder what had happened. They drifted apart. But they kept silent. Simon moved across the country and eventually died in a car accident. He never married. Just like Anna. When his ashes showed up at her door it was no surprise. She knew. They were all bound by the events of that one night. She came out again to the same spot.
A few more years went by and Anna worried that the land around the lake would be bought and developed so she used her substantial influences to purchase the land, to protect it. And now she was here. Alone. It was almost time. Her turn soon.
“We’ve been waiting for you Anna.”
“The body of socialite Anna Ellery was found on Demon’s Lake. She had succumbed to an aggressive tumor. It is unknown why she would travel to the lake, which she has owned for almost 30 years. More than 40 years ago Ms. Ellery was in a party at the lake when one of her companions went missing. Holly Burgess’ body was never found.”
This picture was taken by Jithin at trablogger.wordpress.com. I saw it on one of his posts and was immediately inspired. This story is the result. The photo is used with his permission. Please check out his blog, you will not be disappointed!