The Lady of Hidden Lakes

The Lady of Hidden Lakes

A Story by Cari Lynn Vaughn
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Newly weds move to a new apartment at Hidden Lakes in Greensboro, North Carolina, only to find them haunted by a mysterious lady in the lake.

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The Lady of Hidden Lakes

 

       The apartments at Hidden Lakes were nestled back behind the busy road, tucked away by the thick foliage of the many cedars and maples that surrounded it.  In the summer it almost seemed like a whole other world.  You could almost believe that you were living out in the country, and not at the edge of a big city.  

        As I helped my husband unpack I couldn’t help but wish I had lived here as a child.  It would have been the perfect place to play.  My imagination would have gone wild!  Thoughts of playing hide and seek or some make pretend game drifted as I became occupied with getting things set up. 

       The first night in a new apartment is always difficult.  Though exhausted from the long drive down to North Carolina and then unpacking the moving truck, which was packed full, I couldn’t get to sleep.  My husband, Luke, slept soundly beside me as my eyes swept the room.  From the bed I could see into the dark hallway.  For a second I thought I could see a figure moving in the darkness.  I shook my head and blinked my eyes.  I didn’t see anything there the second time, but a strange feeling settled in my heart and I didn’t like it.  Trying to talk myself out of being scared I turned over and cuddled up close to my Luke.

       I thought that maybe it was just being in a strange place, but the strange feeling stayed with me for weeks.  After a while I began to think that it was not me, but Hidden Lakes. 

       About a month after we had settled in we went to see a gothic movie at the theater.  The movie itself wasn’t particularly scary, but it got to me nonetheless.  That night I talked my Luke into closing the bedroom door.  He thought I was crazy.

        “Are you crazy?” he asked me.

        “No.  Please close the door!  I know its silly, but can’t you just go along with it?  Please?”

         Shaking his head, he through off the covers and got up.  Once the door was closed, he crawled back in bed beside me.  For some reason, I felt safer that night and I was able to actually get some sleep.  By morning, all my fears had disappeared.  At least I thought they had.

It was that day that I overheard some kids talking about the ghost of hidden lakes.

          I was standing out on my balcony when I heard somebody talking below.  I leaned over the edge of the railing to see what was going on the back steps.

          “Yeah, if you don’t watch out the ghost of Hidden Lakes will get you!” a teenage boy teased.

           A pretty Hispanic girl laughed and then replied, “Ghost!  What ghost?  You’re just full of s**t Tony.”

          “I s**t you not.  My friend Jose actually saw it.”

          Another girl who was younger spoke up.  “Jose?  You believed Jose?”

          “Don’t go diss’n my man Jose.  He’s cool,” the boy said leaning back against the railing.

         The other girl shook her head and giggled.  “So what did Jose say about this ghost?”

         “He told me that some chick was killed or some s**t like that, and she like hangs out here.”

         “Why was she killed?  And why the hell is she hanging around here?  I sure as hell wouldn’t be hanging around this place if I was dead.”

          “I guess some dude drowned her over there,” he said gesturing out toward the other shore of the lake.  “She like found out some secret or something about that factory near the road.  Cotton club or whatever.”

          “Cotton Industries,” the older girl corrected.

          “Yeah, Cotton Industries.  That big old noisy place up there.”

          “What’s her name?” the younger girl wanted to know.

          “Who?” the guy asked.

           “The ghost,” she reminded him.

          “Oh, I think it was something like Marie or Maria or Mary.  I don’t know.  Jose just called her The Lady of Hidden Lakes.”

           “So when did he see her?” the older one asked.

           “S**t, I don’t know.  He said something about driving home one night a few months ago and seeing her walking along the road.”

          “Did he stop to talk to her or anything?” the older one pressed.

          “Why would he do a crazy thing like that?” he replied.

           That was when I smiled, shook my head and stepped back inside.  As I ran errands and cleaned house that day I couldn’t help but go over the story in my mind.  Despite the awkward telling of the story, it had left an impression on me.  I found myself wondering if it wasn’t this Lady of Hidden Lakes who was trying to contact me.  It would make sense.  I had sensed some sort of presence in my apartment and a ghost would explain it.

          When I went to bed that night I found myself looking for her.  My eyes searched the darkness for some disturbance or image, but I found nothing that night.  Soon my eyes closed and I sank into unconsciousness.  Perhaps she was just not ready to show herself to me, I thought as drifted to sleep. 

           In the morning Luke got up, got ready and went to work as he always did.  I was left alone for a few hours until I too had to go to work.  Slowly I awakened.  At first, the sound of running water was distant and faint.  I thought that it had been a neighbor taking a shower or a bath.  Then as I became fully conscious I realized that it sounded to loud and too clear to be a neighbor.  Out of curiosity I pushed the covers off and swung my legs over the edge of the bed.  I slowly and cautiously made my way down the short hall to the bathroom. 

           At first, everything looked normal.  Then as I swept the small room again I noticed that there was water in the tub.  I moved closer to take a better look.  The water was not clear bath water that Luke had forgotten to drain, but muddy water.  It appeared to have come from the muddy lake outside.  Strange, I thought as I reached over to open the drain.  Was this some kind of practical joke?  Who would do a thing like that and why?  Were they trying to scare me? Because if they were it was working.  I couldn’t help but wonder if it was the Lady herself.  No, I tried to tell myself, ghosts are not real.  She is a figment of your imagination.  Even still, I could not shake the idea that she was as real as anything else.

           After washing out the tub thoroughly I stepped in and showered.  The shower did not last near as long as it usually did that day.  Quickly I stepped out and dried myself off.  I opened the door and dressed in the bedroom, which I did not usually do.  As I got breakfast and gathered my things the creepy feeling soon drifted.  By lunchtime, I had nearly forgotten about it.  That was, until I picked up The Greensboro Record and Review from the break room table.  The front page story was about Cotton Industries and how they were facing huge fines for environmental violations.  I sat down and began to read the rest of the article.  There had suspicions and accusations for years that their methods of manufacturing were less than honest and less than clean, but nothing could ever be proven.  A little over a year ago there was talk of a possible investigation, but it was suddenly dismissed.

        I was flipping through the other pages and thinking of The Lady of Hidden Lakes, when I came across another article.  The tiny paragraph, which was nestled in among the police reports and marriage licenses, talked about a certain Mary Fuller, who had mysteriously disappeared a year ago today.  She had been a student at the University and had been enrolled in the Biological/Environmental program.  Everyone who knew her was very upset by her sudden disappearance.  They all suspected foul play and couldn’t believe that such a sweet young woman, with such a bright future ahead of her would runaway or commit suicide.  She had to have been abducted or murdered.  Despite the family’s suspicions, nothing was ever found to indicate either.  The case was still very much unsolved.  The last line of the article asked for anyone who might know anything to come forward and contact the police.

        Mary Fuller.  That was her name.  That was The Lady of Hidden Lakes.  I was sure of it.  It was the same Mary Fuller who I had seen, well sort of, and the same Mary Fuller that had filled my bathtub with lake water.  Now, I just had to prove it.  How was I going to do that I wondered as I nibbled at my sandwich.  Who would believe my wild hunch with out any facts?  Right now, all I had was circumstantial.  I didn’t have anything to directly link Cotton Industries with Mary or any idea who would have killed her.  I would just have to do a little research.

        I took the paper with me when I left the break room and headed back to work.  Although I kept pretty busy that day, my mind was elsewhere.  In a matter of less than a week, I had found myself consumed by The Lady of Hidden Lakes.  I was both scared and fascinated by the idea of actually encountering ghost.  Though I had always had an open mind about such supernatural occurrences, I had not yet had any direct experiences with it.  All the books I had read and all the TV shows I had seen filled my mind and I began to wonder just what exactly was true and what wasn’t.  How did these ghosts work?  What did they want and how did they get it?  What allowed them some power, but not enough to get avenge their deaths?

         I came home in a mood as dark as the clouds overhead.  I was heavy with the secret I held and was sure no one would understand, not even Luke.  I cooked dinner and waited for Luke to get home.  I really didn’t feel like being alone that night.  It was quite a relief when he walked in the door at 6pm.  I threw my arms around him and would not let go.

         “What’s wrong?” he asked pulling away.

         “Nothing,” I said trying to pull him close again.

         “Something’s wrong.”

         “Does something have to be wrong for me to what to be close to my own husband?”

         “Yes,” he replied.

         I sighed.  “You wouldn’t understand.”

         “Sure I would.  Tell me.”  He kicked off his shoes and sat down on the couch.

           I sat down beside him and said, “I think…No, I know we have a ghost in here.  Her name is Mary Fuller and for some reason she wants me to solve the mystery of her death for her.”

           Luke laughed.  “What makes you so sure?  Did she tell you all of this last night or something?”

           “I knew you wouldn’t understand.”

           He pulled me close.  “If you say you saw a ghost then you saw a ghost.”

           “Well, I haven’t exactly seen her.”

           “Then how do you know she’s here?”

           “I feel her.  I sense her presence.”

           “Okay, you sense her.  But that still doesn’t explain how you know she wants you to solver her murder.”

           “Well, isn’t that what all ghost want?”

           “What do you mean?”

           “Every ghost story I’ve ever read or seen is about someone who is killed violently.  The murderer is never found or brought to justice so it is up to the heroine or hero of the story to do so.  Once the mystery is solved the ghost can finally rest and so they disappear to heaven or wherever.”

           Luke laughed again.  “That’s what I get for marrying someone with an English Degree.  You should hear yourself talk.  You sound like an English Professor.”

           “I suppose that is good since I am going to be one soon,” I replied.

           “I think you’ve read too many books or seen too many movies.  You’re letting your imagination runaway with you.”

            “Maybe, maybe not,” I said pulling away.  My feelings had been hurt and I wanted him to know it.  I sulked silently on my side of the couch for a few moments.

            Luke waited to see if I was going to say anything more and than conveniently changed the subject.  “So what’s for dinner.”

            

            That night I could not get to sleep.  I tossed and turned for several hours while Luke slept soundly.  I envied his ability to just tune out the world and go right to sleep.  Why couldn’t I be more like him I wondered.  With a sigh I turned to my side and opened my eyes.  They gazed out into the darkness and were slowly beginning to close again when I saw her.  The disjointed patterns in the dark swirled into a form.  For a moment I could see her dripping wet hair and mud covered face.  Her green eyes locked on mine and my heart skipped a beat.  I just lay there paralyzed with fear as she turned and began to walk into the living room.  She had disappeared from view by the time that I gathered enough courage to get up out of bed and follow her.    

           Shaking from head to toe I made my way into the living room.  As I came around the corner, I caught a glimpse of her pale form at the door.  Then she was gone again.  I nervously opened the front door and peered into the lit hallway.  I didn’t see her until I peered over the railing and down the stairs.  The lights flickered and the wind howled as I stepped into the hallway.  What in hell am I doing?  Am I crazy?  I am following a ghost! No, I have to be sleepwalking or dreaming or something.  I have to be.   The stairs creaked as I descended them.  I caught another glimpse of her as I rounded the corner and began my way down the last flight of stairs.  The door to the outside banged loudly against the frame.  It wasn’t latched.  It never was.  I pushed it open and stepped out on the cold cement steps. 

          I saw her clearly again.  She stood at the edge of the lake, gazing out over its dark surface.  Her white shirt snapped loudly in the wind.  I would have thought her to be very much alive until she turned to me.  Her face was almost as pale as her shirt and her eyes were almost transparent.  The light from the street lamp shone on her for a brief moment.  In that moment she certainty looked real to me.  It was too clear to be a figment of my imagination.  Thunder rumbled angrily in the sky above.  I glance up at the dark clouds for a moment as lightening illuminated them.  When I glanced back down she was gone.  She had just disappeared into thin air.  I stood there for a few more moments, searching for her, but when I did not see her, I decided to go inside.  I was getting cold and I was beyond scared at that point.  I returned to bed, shaken from the experience.  

          The first chance I got I went straight to the library to do my research.  I had to free her and I had to free her soon.  Neither her nor I would be able to rest until I did.   The librarians that I spoke to were quite helpful in my search and I made a great deal of progress that rainy Saturday.  In looking through the microfilm I found out that the day before she had disappeared she been seen studying at the library, working hard on a term paper that was due.  No one had noticed any change in her behavior, except for one person.  Her friend Emma claimed that Mary had been very worried over something, but would not tell her.  She had just assumed it had been over the paper, but after the disappearance, Emma wasn’t so sure. 

         I looked up Emma’s address in the phone book and left to talk to her.  This term paper was very important I felt.  I needed to know what it was about.  I needed to know as much about Mary as possible in order to figure this out.  I knocked on Emma’s door, unsure what to expect.  I knew that my sudden appearance and questions over her friend was going to seem out of place at the very least.  I just prayed that she would be more willing to help than upset by it.

         My prayers were answered.  Emma turned out to be a very sweet girl.  She invited me in and offered me something to drink, and didn’t even ask me any questions. 

        There was a moment of awkward silence before I explained myself.  “I came here to ask you about your friend Mary Fuller.”

        Emma lit up, “Did they find her?”

       “No, but I was hoping you could help me find her.”

       “I didn’t know they were still working on the case.”

       “They aren’t.  I am here on my own.”

       “Are you a friend of hers?”  Emma asked suspiciously.

       “Sort of.  It is kind of hard to explain.  I just wanted to know about this term paper she was writing.  What was it about?”

        “It was for Dr. Leeman.  He had assigned everyone in his Environmental Science class to write about a local company.  We were supposed to find out what kind off things they were doing to help protect the environment.  You know, like if they recycled or cut down on emissions.  That sort of thing.”

        “Do you know what company Mary was writing her paper on?”

        “Yeah, I think she said it was Cotton Industries.”

        Bingo.  “Are you sure?’

        “Fairly sure.  She had mentioned it a few times.  She had told me that they were violating a lot of laws and that the paper was going to be an expose more than anything.”

        “Did she say anything about going to the authorities about it or anything?”

        “She had said that she should do it, but I don’t know if she ever intended to.”

        “Did she ever finish the paper?”

        “I don’t think so.  It was due a week after she disappeared and I don’t think she had turned it in early or anything.”

        “Would it be possible to get a copy of the paper?”

         She looked at me for second and then asked, “You’re not from Cotton Industries are you?”

         I smiled briefly.  “No. Nothing like that.  I just think that whatever was in that paper is the key to what happened to her.”

        “So you think Cotton Industries is responsible?”

        “Possibly, but I don’t have any proof.  I need something to link her directly to them, and that paper does just that.”

         Emma nodded.  “I might be able to get a hold of the paper.”

         I took out a paper and pen from my purse.  I scribbled down my name, phone number and e-mail address.  “If you can get a copy of the paper I would really appreciate it.  You can call me or e-mail me when you do.”

         I handed her the paper and she took it.  “I will do that.”

         “Thank you,” I said, “You’ve been a great help.”  I stood up to leave.

         “If it will bring Mary back I don’t mind at all.”  Emma stood up as well and walked me toward the door.

         “You are a good friend.”

         “Mary was a good friend to me, to everyone.  She didn’t deserve to die.”

         “So you think she is dead?” 

         “I didn’t want to even consider it at first, but I just have this feeling,” she trailed off.

         “So you’ll get a hold of me?”

         “Yeah,” she nodded, “Definitely.”

 

          A few days later I received an e-mail from Emma with Mary’s paper attached.  I opened it up immediately and began to read.  It was very well written paper that exposed Cotton Industries quite clearly for evading environmental laws.  They were dumping toxic waste into Hidden Lakes and polluting the water.  It might not have been such a huge deal if they were not also polluting the drinking water for the entire area.  There was some connection from the lakes to the near by wells and poisonous amounts of led were leaking into them.  Mary had found this out by doing testing on the water and showing the results on an attached chart.  Then she confronted the CEO of the company, Dave Munion.  He denied everything of course, and claimed that she had fixed the tests.  Mary had ended the paper by saying that she had filed a legal compliant against the company and an investigation was pending.

           It was time to pay a visit to Dave I decided.  I printed out the paper and took a short walk to the Cotton Industries building.  I entered through the front door and ask to speak with Dave Munion.  The receptionist had me wait about ten minuets before telling me that he was not in his office at the moment and could I please come back at a later time.   I stood up and said, “Please tell Mr. Munion that I have information about a certain Miss Fuller that he might want to know about.”

         “I will give him the message,” she said trying to polite.  I could tell that he had told her to get rid of me.

          “Please call him back and tell him now.  I promise you he will want to see me.”

          “I told you he was not in.”

          “And I told you to tell him that I have information on Mary Fuller.  You and I both know that he is in his office playing on the Internet as we speak, so don’t try to lie to me.”

          With a look of embarrassment and frustration she went back to her desk and called him.  She hung up and sighed.  “He said to send you right on in.”

          “Thank you.  Where is his office?”

          “Go down the hallway and turn to your left.  The door should be open.”

          I nodded as I stood up.  I strolled past her and down the hall as I was told.  Sure enough, the door was open.  I stepped inside the dark, dirty and cluttered office.  “Mr. Munion?”

          He stood up and reached out for me to shake his hand.  I sat down in a chair without bothering to take his hand.  He sat back down with a bewildered look on his face.

          “Lets get down to business, shall we?”

          “Sure, what’s on your mind?” he asked as he folded his hands in his lap. 

          “Mary Fuller.”

          “The girl that turned up missing awhile back?”

          “That very one.  I have reason to believe you had something to do with her death.”

          He scowled and shook his head.  “Now why did you have to go and do something like that?  Accusing me of murder is a serious thing.   You’d better have some proof if you plan on doing anything about it, because if you don’t I promise that you will regret it. I will make you look like such a fool.”

           “Your threats don’t scare me,” I informed him.  And they didn’t.  I was more scared of being haunted the rest of my life then being ruined by some small time crook.

            “What is it that you want Miss….”

            “Mrs. White.  I want a full confession and I want you to stop polluting the water.”

            “A confession of what?”

            “A confession to murdering Mary Fuller in cold blood.”

            “I think you should leave Ms. White.”

            “Fine,” I said standing up, “but this isn’t the last you’ve heard from me.”

            “And this isn’t the last you will hear of me.  I intend to sue you for everything you’ve got.”

            I chuckled to myself as I walked out of the door.  He said nothing, but I imagine the expression on his face.  I knew that he was wondering just what I had been laughing about.  I had laughed because I didn’t have anything he could take really.  Unless he had connections at the University, I was safe from his threats.  All I had was four hundred-dollar car and student loans out the a*s.  He was welcome to my debt for all I cared.  I would have liked to see try to get any money out of me.

            I decided that he was definitely guilty, but that I wasn’t going to be able to get anything out of him.  I was going to have to find another way to solve this thing.  I was going to have to first get proof that the lake was polluted and then find Mary Fuller’s body.  I knew that I could probably buy a kit to test the water with, but finding her body was not going to be easy.  I doubted that I could convince the police to come in and do a search, so I was left on my own. You weren’t allowed to swim or even boat on the lakes, so whatever I did to search the lakes was going to have to be discrete.  If only I had some scuba gear of my own, I thought.  And if only I knew how to scuba dive.  That’s when I thought of Emma.  Perhaps she had access to that sort of thing.

I went home an e-mailed her right away, asking for any assistance that she might be able to provide.  Then I called the Environmental Science Department to see whom I would need to contact to bring charges against Mr. Munion.  They were more than happy to give me the phone number of the office downtown that took care of that sort of thing.  Once I hung up with the department, I then called the office downtown.  Now I was getting somewhere.  After my call was transferred several times I finally was told that I would need to come downtown to the Guilford County courthouse and file a complaint in person, but they were closing at 5 p.m. and it was a quarter till.  I would have to wait to do it I guess I just hoped it wouldn’t be too late.

        The next I left work early and headed downtown.  I filled out the proper paperwork unsure of what to expect.  The complaint might never amount to anything; but then again it could make Mr. Munion even more angry with me than he already was.  In any case, I told myself, it is what Mary would have wanted me to do.  I left the courthouse with a smile on my face, hoping that Mary could somehow see me or would somehow know that her death was not in vein.

         When I got home I found a message waiting for me from Emma.  She actually owned her own scuba gear and was willing to help me.   I was completely thrilled.  Things seemed to be falling into place quite nicely.  This business of helping the spirits wasn’t difficult as I thought it might be.  Granted communication was a little difficult, but I think that I was able to pick up on things a lot quicker than your average person.  

          Saturday mourning Emma showed up at my apartment with scuba gear in tow.  We discussed our plan of action over brunch.  Thank God Luke was at work and unable to poke fun at us for what we were about to do.  I did feel a little silly suiting up and sneaking around, but I didn’t know what else to do at this point.  I certainly couldn’t rely on anyone else to take any action.  If they were going to take action, they would have already taken it after all.         

            Emma went first and began to wade into the murky and muddy waters.  She moved slowly and cautiously until she was out several feet.   Then she dove in and began her search.  I stayed on shore, watching for the maintenance men or anyone who might get us in trouble.    It was only a few short minuets before Emma surface again.  She waded back towards me as she took off her mouthpiece and goggles.

             “Did you find her?” I shouted out to her.

             Emma shook her head and stepped up onto the shore.  “It is too muddy out there.  Even with my goggles I can’t see a thing and I really don’t want to feel around too much down there.”  She made a face as she thought of all the gross things that were probably at the bottom of the lake.

               I sighed.  “That’s alright.  We will just have to find another way.”

           We went back inside to discuss our options, but couldn’t come up with anything.   After several hours both of us were tired and frustrated.  Emma decided to go home and I fixed dinner.  Even though I tried to occupy myself with other things finding Mary Fuller’s body remained on my mind.  It bothered me a great deal that I could not figure out a way to find her body and set her free.  Mr. Munion certainly knew what he was doing when killed her.  He knew as well as I did that it would be years before anyone found her, if they ever did.  There were no clues pointing to the lake really.  Unless someone actually saw him do it or if he had told someone there would be no reason to look in the lake.  No reason except for the fact that Mary was haunting it.  Sure, it was a good enough reason for me, but I didn’t see the police buying it.   If only I knew exactly where the body was, I sighed.

 

       Several days passed and nothing happened.  I was getting very restless and anxious for there to some break as far as Mary was concerned.  Although I had started putting into action a sort of vague plan I had not yet seen the results of it, and it was really getting to me.  A million and one questions still remained on my mind, demanding answers.

       Then finally at the end of the week I had a dream. Well, it was more like a nightmare where I watched Mary Fuller being murdered.  It was as if I was watching a movie, but I knew that it was all too real. 

        I saw Mary standing by the lake, the wind in her hair.  For a moment I thought I was remembering what I had seen before, but then I wondered if I had merely dreamed that as well.  Before I could decide I saw Munion approach her.  They spoke for a few minutes.  I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I got the distinct feeling that Munion had invited her to meet him at the lake in order to discuss the complaint she had filed.  Mary was quite adamant about the complaint and would not back down.  Munion became very upset and started threatening her.  When the threats did not work he pulled out his gun and tried scaring her. 

          Mary backed away and tried to reason with him, but he would not hear of it.  Munion grabbed her arm and would not let go.  She let out a scream, but he muffled it with his other hand.   The gun dropped onto the muddy ground and they struggled.  Mary was desperately trying to break free, but Munion managed to keep the upper hand.   She kicked him in the shins, which gave her enough time to reach down for the gun.  Before she could grab it though Munion gave her a shove and she hit her head on the edge of the bench that was there.  She was knocked unconscious.  

           Munion looked around to see if anyone had seen what had happened.  When he didn’t see anyone and didn’t hear anything he let out a sigh.  It didn’t appear to him as if anyone was even around to notice.  Munion looked back down at the body and tried to decide what to do with her.  He looked around at the apartments and then out at the lake.  The lake is where his gaze remained as he formulated his plan.  After a few moments he reached down to pick up Mary’s limp body.  Slowly he waded out into the muddy water and let her go.  Her body wanted to float back to the shore, so Munion got out of the water and looked for something to hold her down with.  When he spotted a trash can a few feet away he decided that would do.  He dragged it over the shore and tipped it over.  Paper plates and potato chips spilled out onto the ground, but Munion ignored it for the time being.  He tried to pull Mary’s body into the trashcan.  It took a great deal of stuffing and rearranging before he was happy with it.   Hurriedly he rolled the trashcan with Mary’s body into the lake.  It floated for second on top of the water, than slowly began to sink.  Munion watched it as it disappeared into the dark water.

          Poor Mary regained consciousness long enough realize that she was in the lake.  She swallowed a large amount of water trying to scream and drowned within a couple of minutes.  Her dead body remained in the trashcan that had sunk about half way into the muddy lake bottom just a few feet away from the shore.

          I was awakening from that horrible dream by sirens.  At first I thought it was the police coming to get Munion, but then I realized they were not from the police, but from the fire trucks.   I pulled myself from bed to look out the window.  I saw only the calm lake below and the bench where Mary hit her head, but the sirens were still blaring away somewhere in the distance.  They grew closer every second.  Luke turned and asked me what I was doing.

         “There is a fire near by,” I told him.

         “It’s not in this building is it?”

         “No, I don’t think so.”

         “Mmm, then come back to bed,” he yawned.

         I shook my head and pulled on some clothes.   I had a sneaking suspicion that this fire was directly related to Cotton Industries.  I ran out into the cold morning without my coat and without knowing what I was going to do.

          As I stepped out into the parking lot I could see a crowd of people gathering to watch.  Flames danced among the tops of the trees as fire truck after fire truck arrived at the scene.  They were showing the flames with large amounts of water, but it didn’t seem to be doing any good.   I moved closer to the action to see if I could find out what had happened.  I heard nothing but speculation from the crowd and could not get close enough to the fire trucks to hear what they were talking about.  Briskly I walked back toward my apartment.  Whatever was happening I would have to find out about later I thought.   I glanced away from the all the commotion the calm lake.  I thought about my dream for second, but did not have time to dwell on it.  I saw through the trees several people, who looked like firemen, by the lake with hoses.  I rushed over to talk to them.

          “Put the pump over there,” the heavier and older of the two said.

          The younger man with the mustache picked up the pump from the ground and moved over to the shore.

           I called out to them, “No, don’t put it there!”

           Both of them turned to look at me.  “Why not?” the younger one asked.

           “Put it over by the bench.  It is deeper over there,” I told them.  I didn’t know if it was true or not, but I did know that they had a better chance of finding Mary if they ventured over there.  

           The younger fireman looked over at the older one for approval.  The older man just shrugged so the man took the pump over to bench and set it down in the water.  Together they started it up and made sure that it was going to work.  The location seemed to working for them.  I watched anxiously as they began pumping water from the lake down the long stretch of hose to the fireman at the scene of the fire.  It wasn’t long before the pump made a loud slurping noise and suddenly grind to a halt.   My heart skipped a beat.  I prayed that it was the missing trashcan with Mary’s body in it.

             I watched as the fireman waded back into the water to find out what had happened.  He pulled up the pump and the edge of the trash can.  My knees went weak as I comprehended what was taking place before my eyes.  I had had a dream that had told me where to find the body of a young woman who had been murdered.  It was simply amazing to me.  Whatever doubts I had had in the past were gone. 

      I stood there silent and still as the two firemen turned off the pump and pulled the rather heavy trashcan out the lake.   Before they even managed to get it out of the water Mary’s body floated out and onto the surface of the lake. 

“Holy s**t!” the older of two cried out, “We’d better get the shierf out here.”

     

       While the fire at Cotton Industries was slowly being put out the sherif and a forensic team began thier work.  They put Mary in a body bag, zipped her up and shipped her to the morgue.  Questions were asked of everyone, including me.  I told them that they wouldn’t believe me, but they insisted I tell them everything, so I did. 

         “I am not sure I believe you,” the detective said, “But I don’t suppose it really matters now.  The body has been found and the case can finally be close.”

          “What about Munion?”

          “Oh, you didn’t hear?”

          “No, what?”

          “The firefighters found him when they arrived at the scene.  It appears as if he drowned in his own vomit.  Ironic, don’t you think?’

          “So how did the fire start?  I assumed that he had set it himself.”

          “Oh, he probably did.  They think he was intoxicated when he set the fire for the insurance money.  After he set the fire he stumbled out and passed out cold in front of the building before he could make his get away.”

           “Will the company still be able to get away with all of the environmental violations that they were getting away with before?”

           “I doubt it.  The fire destroyed nearly everything and the insurance money isn’t enough to even to begin to cover all of their losses.  Munion has been under investigation for a long time for not only the environmental violations, but fraud as well.  It was rumored that he took the money that was supposed to be for insurance and spent it on some sports car.  After he totaled the sports car he used that insurance money to pay for the insurance he had never gotten for the company.  Because he’d gotten cheap car insurance he ended up with even cheaper company insurance.”

             “This Munion was an all around slime ball wasn’t he?’

              “I don’t think the world miss him.”

              The detective closed his notebook and let me go.  I got up and walked out of the office with a smile.  My job had been done and I had not failed Mary.  As I made my way to the car I thought about how you can escape the police and the law, but that there is no escaping karma.  What comes around will always go around, so even when the most horrible things happen justice will prevail.

© 2011 Cari Lynn Vaughn


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Added on October 11, 2011
Last Updated on October 11, 2011
Tags: Greensboro, North Carolina, Hidden Lakes Apartments, Cotton Industries, Ghosts, Lady in White, Lady of the Lake, Luke, Emma, David Munion

Author

Cari Lynn Vaughn
Cari Lynn Vaughn

Mt Vernon, MO



About
Writing is not a hobby or career, but a way of life and way of looking at things. I've been writing seriously since I was 9 years old when I wrote, produced and starred in a play called "The Muggin.. more..

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