It was a hot and sunny Saturday afternoon at Lake Fontain, a private and wonderfully secluded lake with owners who were rarely present. Jack knew how to get around the gates on the property and launch his boat without being detected. So it was that Mary Ann and three others arrived for a day of partying and possible skinny dipping.
Stocked with a chestful of ice-cold beer, Jack’s Bayliner slid into the water as a brilliant sun glinted off the surface. Music blared from the console as two giggling, bikini-clad girls settled into their seats beside the boys they’d chosen for the weekend. The boat sped across the small lake, the sound of the motor and peals of laughter piercing the tranquil setting.
When they hit the submerged log, a look of confusion swept over their faces as the boat reared up and threw Mary Ann off the back end. A crimson pool formed in the water after hair caught in the motor. Seconds later, a mangled and torn body floated to the surface. The party was over.
Luke stared at the floating body, pushing the cloud of alcohol from his consciousness. “Who’s got a cell phone? We need to call an ambulance!” a shouted in a panic.
“Holy ***! Is she dead?” screamed Abby, her hands to her face in a gesture of disbelief.
“What do you think, bimbo? There’s a gash in her skull and her brains are hanging out!” replied Jack callously.
“What do we do? We’re not supposed to be out here and I used my dad’s car. If he finds out, I can just kiss that vacation to the south of France he promised me, goodbye,” Abby cried.
“Come on! What are you saying?” implored Luke.
Jack reached into the water and lifted one of Mary Ann’s wrists. “No pulse. She’s dead,”
“Oh my God! I can’t believe she’s dead, just like that. We killed her,” Abby replied.
“Don’t worry lovely lady. You’re not going to miss your trip to France. Nobody knows we’re here. She’s already dead so why do anything about it? Let’s just dump the body and go.”
“I can’t believe you’re saying that. What happened was an accident, but that would make it murder,” said Luke. “I think we should report it and face the consequences.”
Jack ignored Luke’s sentiments and turned to Abby, “Look, do you want your French vacation or not?” Then to Luke, “And you, Boy Scout Bob, do you want to lose your chance to go to med school? Me, I’ve got plans for my life and it doesn’t include going to prison,” reasoned Jack firmly whose eyes met Luke’s in a momentary face-off.
“Dude, you’re twisted!” conceded Luke, noticing the 8″ pocketknife attached to Jack’s belt loop. Jack eyes looked threatening. Luke continued, “But judging by your fashion accessory, it doesn’t appear that we really have a choice.”
“You could be right about that,” Jack said through clenched teeth. He fished through the deck box and drew out an anchor and a length of rope.”
“Tie her up,” he commanded, dropping the anchor at Luke’s fee. “We’ll motor to the south end and dump the body there. Since nobody knows we’re here, if you all keep your traps shut, we’ll never be connected to her disappearance.”
Luke complied and wrapped up her body with the rope, to which the anchor was fastened, then drove the boat to the deep south side of the lake. There they tossed her overboard, watching as the body sank into the murky water.
“This makes me sick,” said Luke. “But don’t worry. You won’t hear a peep out of me. I know what you’re like and what’ll happen to me if I talk.”
They left the lake in a frenzy and never spoke again. As expected, the authorities never connected Mary Ann’s disappearance to the group. It actually seemed like they would get away with it.
Years passed. Luke became a doctor and Abby fell in love, marrying a handsome man in the south of France. Jack became a career politician, the father of three and husband to one of the most influential women in the state. On the fast track to the Senate, Jack never looked back to that deadly day on Lake Fontain.
A few years after the accident, the owners of the lake developed health problems and began selling off parcels of land to help with medical expenses. The south side, with its picturesque bluffs became the setting of a high-end resort, one with important economic implications for the area. Jack attended the ribbon cutting, slick and handsome in his $2000 suit. He shook hands with the developers and smiled for the cameras, his career ambitions bolstered with every flash of the camera.
Standing on the bluff overlooking the vista, applause and laughter rose from the crowd as the ribbon fell from Jack’s scissors.
“You’re back! I knew you’d come back eventually!!” called out a voice from behind.
Jack turned to greet the person with the familiar voice, but his crooked grin melted into an expression of recognition and horror. It was Mary Ann and she was back. Somehow her decaying body was standing in front of Jack whose eyes darted nervously from the corpse to the crowd, to the news crew and back again.
“You killed me and left me as fish bait!” shouted the mangled, bloated Mary Ann. Her aging wounds oozed angrily and torn flesh dangled from her bones. A terror-filled crowd shrank at the sight, cameras flashed and clicked. Every word was being witnessed by hundreds and recorded on film.
“You and your friends thought you could toss me and forget me,” continued Mary Ann, lake slime gurgling in her throat as she uttered the words. “You stole the best years of my life. Look at me. Look at me now! I’ve been waiting down there. All these years, I’ve waited for you to return.”
Jack retreated quickly, pursued by the thing from the lake. Its arms were outstretched and its fingers grasped at the air as Jack’s wife and kids looked on in disgust. The thing backed him up to the edge of the bluff, where the water lapped deep and murky below against the steep sandstone wall. Reaching the edge, Jack was too terrified to consider stopping. The crowd gasped as Jack tumbled like a rag doll over the side. His head clipped the corner of the pier at the bottom and a crimson pool darkened the water.
There, beneath the water, a ghastly Mary Ann smiled at Jack, whose piercing blue eyes stared back at her blankly.
“Welcome to Lake Fontain. I hope you enjoy the view down here,” she gurgled wetly. “One down and only two more to go.”
It would take time before Luke and Abby would visit Lake Fontain again, but Mary Ann was there and she would be waiting . . .