Aspiring conductor Cressa Carraway arrives at her grandmother’s cabin at a rural Illinois lake resort, hoping to find some peace and quiet so she can finish composing the symphony she needs to earn her master’s degree in Composition. Instead, she finds her grandmother’s corpse in the lake.
Stinguendo: Dying away. (Ital.)
What was that sound? A foot, snapping a twig in the woods? Ida knew she shouldn’t be swimming alone at night, but she’d been antsy all day. She needed to get her mind off Cressa's visit.
Grace usually swam with her, but Grace had taken relatives to the Quad-City airport tonight.Besides, Ida was a strong swimmer. She knew every inch of Crescent Lake. And she thought she knew every sound. But there was that snap again. It prickled the hairs on her arms.
She stopped stroking and listened, straining toward the trees on the opposite bank, just ahead. It didn't repeat. Must have been a night creature in the woods. A raccoon out foraging?
Ida cupped her hands and pulled herself through the caress of the cool water, creating tiny ripples and almost no sound. The moon, a mere sliver tonight, lay a shining path across the silent ridges in the inky liquid.
Bullfrogs boomed from the shallow end of the lake and the wind rattled the oak leaves on the shore.
She neared the bank and stuck her toes into the soft mud, turned and stood waist deep for a moment before her return trip. The scent of the night woods was verdant, lush. She breathed in the familiar fishy smell of the dark water.
There was that sound again--snap, then a footfall. She tried to whirl around as a dark form--Dear God--sprang with a splash from the darkness--grabbed her from behind, shoved her under the water.
Ida clawed, scratched. Strong fingers pressed her down. Into the muck. Ground her face into the bottom. Her nose and mouth clogged with silt. No air.
She twisted. Kicked. Her bare feet struck strong legs. Unmoving legs. She scratched, tried to pry the iron grip from her shoulders. It only tightened.
Her arms went limp. Her legs stopped flailing. Those hands, always those strong hands, forced her down, into the mud. No air. No breath. Mud. Only mud.
She knew this shadow, these hands. She stopped struggling. She was dying. Regret mingled with the peace that took over as she collapsed and gave up.
Oh Cressa, my dear, dear Cressa.
Her short stories can be found in her collection, A PATCHWORK OF STORIES, as well as in several anthologies, various online and print magazines. She reviews for "Suspense Magazine", writes for several newsletters and blogs, and gives workshops on short story writing and promotion. Kaye is agented by Kim Lionetti at BookEnds Literary and lives in Knoxville, TN.
Here are Kaye's links:
- webpage: http://kayegeorge.com/
- blogs: http://travelswithkaye.blogspot.com/ http://makeminemystery.blogspot.com/
- Twitter @KGeorgeMystery
- Facebook personal page KayeGeorge
- Facebook author page KayeGeorge Author Page
- Pinterest Pinterest