Two friends go fishing and find something unexpected...
I drove Fred down the Lonely Lane towards the Back Lake for some peaceful time together. It was also Fred’s favorite fishing spot. Fred was heartbroken and upset after loosing his future fiancée. I, being his best friend, was there to console him. At least that’s what I was telling him and everybody else. To me this was the perfect opportunity, if not the perfect time but still I could make a start and inch my way into Fred’s heart. That was one place I had craved for and had been denied.
Fred had been mourning for past week. I could understand that. Jenny was so perfect, he used to say. He can’t be luckier. He wanted to be with her till the end of time.
I had a little different opinion about Jenny. She was just a – you know what. Sometimes she could be so mean.
We reached the Blackberry Ferry and parked the car nearby. Reluctantly Fred unloaded the trunk, still speaking about Jenny.
Jenny was a giver, Fred said. She would give up anything for the needy. Her disappearance and the discovery of her bloodstained purse had rattled his nerves.
It was affecting his work at the police station. He was a senior detective after all.
Oh she could easily persuade people to give up for her, I thought, and if her battering false eyelashes didn’t do the job, she gave them the full benefit of her strapless dresses or the liberty of closely appreciating her swinging hips.
Fred’s little boat was moored nearby. We took it and rowed a little into the water. Fred kept gazing at the scenic beauty all around them. There was not a soul around. The lake surrounded by the hills on three sides and a green pasture on the fourth. The sun was slowly setting in the west. In the trees around the lake the birds were chirping merrily. But Fred was ignorant of all these. He just sighed and mumbled.
“I had made the ring for her too.”
I shook her head and turned to the man sitting by me in the boat.
“Come on Freddy,” I said. “You love fishing.”
“I can’t think of anything,” he said. He sounded as if he was going to breakdown any moment. “Jenny…”
I quickly squeezed his arm and thrust the rod in his hands.
“Here,” I said. “you put the bait. I hate worms.”
Unwillingly he took the hook and the can of worms.
“She didn’t like fishing,” he said.
“Let’s see how good you are,” I teased.
With a weak smile Fred tossed the line into the water.
How naive is Fred, I thought. She knew about my feelings about him and came to threaten me that night. She said she would not share Fred’s wealth with anyone. I was shocked when she pointed her gun at me. The gunfire still rang in my mind.
“There’s something,” he said excitedly. He reeled in the line and brought the object above the water. We faced each other and laughed out so loud that the boat rocked. From the end of the line hanging from the hook was a boot. It was holed and water poured out from several places. Fred dropped it and let me toss the line again. After a little while the sinker dropped below water.
“Reel it in, reel it in,” he cried. I was happy to see his cheerful face. As I reeled it in, the object turned out to be a teddy bear with one eye missing.
“Gee,” Fred exclaimed after freeing if from the hook and returning it back to the lake. “Don’t we have a garbage dump in town?”
Time and again we threw the line and pulled up things that once belonged to the landlubbers.
We were laughing and betting on our next catch. The mood had already lightened and I was glad that I brought him here. But I didn’t want to stay there for long. Anything could come up any moment and I didn’t want to bet on it.
“Let’s go home,” he said. “Draw in the line.”
“Okay,” I said and started to roll the line but it was stuck to something heavy. “Its too heavy, Fred. Give me a hand.”
So together we hauled up our prized catch. As the hook broke through the water, Fred leaned forward to pull the thing towards the boat.
“Its looking like a chain, Sara,” he said. He only saw the chain. I could see the slim bloodless neck around which it was looped.
“It’s a gold chain,” Fred was saying. I groped for my purse. “It has a locket. Its… its…” he stammered as words failed him.
“Its?” I asked.
“Jenny’s,” he said in the same way.
I could fantasize the head with its budging out eyes hanging backwards while the rest of the body dangled from the thin chain. Oh, how it suited that money hungry woman.
“Someone… someone had killed her and drowned her in the lake.” I could see him visibly shake. “Who could do such a …” he paused and I was afraid he would derive the truth. “The last person she met before she disappeared was you.”
Fred turned and the fishing rod slipped from his hand disappearing underwater drawn by the weight of the dead body.
One bullet from Jenny’s licensed gun had found its place in Jenny’s heart. Another was aiming for Fred’s.
“Sara?” Fred’s voice trembled.
“Sorry.” My hands didn’t.