Tuesday, January 19, 2010


The lake is where they spent their vacation every year...

As Randi sat at her desk waiting for three o'clock, she looked out the window, thinking of the two hour drive to Lake Purdy.  Here it is the middle of the summer, and this is the first time she couldn't come up with an excuse not to spend any time at their house on the lake. Randi's mother had inherited the lake house from her grandfather.  It was a beautiful place.   As a child growing up, the lake is where they spent their vacation every year.  Every July, relatives traveled to their lake homes for the month.  Randi, her mother and father, Tesa and Jamison Grayson, stayed with her grandparents.  Randi, being an only child, looked forward to that month.  She and her cousins searched for treasures in the woods around the lake, or swam and floated on tractor tire inner tubes.  They sat atop the tubes that looked like black doughnuts as the current carried them throughout the water, lazily trailing their hands, occasionally splashing someone who floated too close.  Or someone would swim up under the water and flip the tube over, spilling whomever occupied the float.  It had been a fun time until two years ago.  Randi didn't go last year, the memory of what had happened the summer before,  hurt too much.  She couldn't bring herself to make the trip.  The Sheriff's department still hadn't solved what happened.  She didn't know if it was an accident or murder.  She remembered the sound of the sirens as the firetrucks and ambulance raced up the road to the lake.  Then the sound of her Aunt Jenny screaming, it seemed to go on forever, and then her mother fell to the ground. 

The intercom on Randi's desk came to life, "Randi, your mother is on line three."

Reaching for the phone, "What's up Mom?"

She pictured her mother standing at her kitchen sink, looking out the deck doors as she talked.  This was what she  always did as long a Randi could remember, "You won't forget to come by and get me before you head to the lake, will you?"

"No, mom, I won't forget."  Ever since her father had died that summer, her mother had become fearful.  When Randi was around her, it was as if she became watchful.  As though she waited for something.  At first, Randi had attributed this to her father's death.  But that wasn't it, yet she couldn't put her finger on what bothered her about her mom's behavior.

Randi thought back to that day, which had started out like any other day. She had just graduated from Auburn with her Accounting degree, this was her summer of celebration and relaxation.  She had decided to spend the summer at the lake house, regrouping after going through four rough years of college.   In the fall, she planned to come to work with her father, eventually becoming a partner.  He already had his own accounting firm with two junior partners and ten associates, eleven after she started working there.  There had been times that summer when she found her father sitting alone, staring out across the water, deep in thought.  It would take him a few minutes for her footsteps to register.  Then his body would tense and his head would snap around to her, startled, as though he expected someone, yet surprised it was only her.  He would then relax and lean back into the wooden lawn chair, pick up his drink and take a sip.

Smiling up at her, he called her by the pet name he'd given her," Hey, Miss Priss, where did you come from? You getting away from all that group at the house?" Her father didn't really enjoy all the hustle and bustle of the family.  He usually only stayed the week of July 4th, then he would come down for the weekend.  Except for the day he drown.  He had arrived that Wednesday, two days before he died.

Randi thought back to that fateful day.  It had started out cooler than usual.  Randi was sitting on the deck, drinking a cup of coffee, enjoying the musical sounds of the early birds and the silence of the morning before people stamped their presence on the day.  She had noticed her cousin Tana's  aqua colored dinghy and her father's small white sailboat out in the middle of the lake, when she first came out onto the deck.  But she hadn't given it much thought, except thinking that they hadn't tied them up secure at the dock and the boats had pulled loose and drifted out to there.  Someone would have to swim out and pull them in.  She had been sitting there an hour when her mom came out, "Have you seen your father? He didn't come to bed last night."

Randi pointed out to  his boat, "You think he's asleep on the boat?"

Her mom glanced out to the lake, staring for a long time, with a surprised look on her face.  Turning, she called to two of my cousins, Teddy and Freddy, twin boys of my Aunt Vera's.  They were the same age as me, twenty-three, and very athletic.  She instructed them to swim out and drag the boats back to the dock.  Then go on board dad's boat and wake him up. 

Teddy reached Tana's dinghy first, he started pulling himself over the side of the small boat, when suddenly he dropped back down into the water, he stared at the boat, then he turned and yelled something to Freddy, who stopped swimming in mid stride. They just stared at each other.  Then both glanced back at the shore.  Teddy raised himself up, reached in for the rope.  Freddy continued over to her father's boat, pulling himself up, he turned and yelled something to Teddy.  Grabbing a rope, he splashed back into the water.  Teddy swam over and grabbed part of the line.  The boats slowly drifted to shore.  

Mom and I walked down to the dock.  Before they reached the dock, Teddy yelled for mom to go fetch his dad, her brother-in-law Colin.  

Mom asked, "Why, is something wrong?"

Teddy just told her they needed additional help in pulling the boats in.  She turned and walked back to the house.  Randi stood there looking at them.  Something was wrong, she could tell by the way they wouldn't look at her.  She volunteered to swim out and help, but they told her no, she need to stay there.  

She heard her uncle's footfalls as he ran past her into the water, swimming out to his sons.  Then she felt her mother's presence beside her, "Have they told you what's going on?"

Randi shook her head no, as her uncle swam back to shore.

Water slid off her uncle as he walked toward them, "Lana, Randi you need to come up to the house, while I call the sheriff's department.  Something's happened to Tana and Jamison."

Randi wrapped her arms around her mom as she swayed as though she was going to fall; she shook off Randi's arms and straightened up, "What do you mean, something's happened?"

Colin reached to turn her toward the house, but she wouldn't budge.  He let his hand fall and ran toward the house.  They continued to stare out at the boats, as the boys stayed in the water, neither saying a word.

She then heard the sounds of the sirens and watched the two firetrucks and ambulance race up the road toward the dock.  Then Tana's  mother, Aunt Jenny, began to scream and her mother fell to the ground.

As I mentioned on Saturday, I want to do a sequel story, to practice picking up the thread of a story.  This story will be continued next week. 

    Tuesday Morning Writings is a project sponsored by Gaelikaa and Judy Harper.  The words are copyright of Judy Harper.  Gaelikaa's story can be found here.   We have MelRoXx back, her story will be found here . Here is Anu's story and we want to welcome Sheeza, she has a good story Here


sheeza said...

ho ..... i cant really wait. i want to know what actually happens why there were fire trucks and ... all

you really hault this story on the height of suspens.

its brillian... now 6 days to wait. nooooooooooo

Judy Harper said...

Sheeza-Thanks! I hope it continues to be worth the wait!

Anna said...

Well next week better get here SOON!!! This is fine writing, very descriptive and I am DYING to know what happened!!!

septembermom said...

Judy, thank you for your nice visit to my blog! I'm glad to find your lovely blog too :)

Wonderful descriptive writing here. I like the way your story flows. I'm excited to see where it goes.

Judy Harper said...

Anna-I will try to make it worth your wait.

Mom-Thanks! I enjoyed you blog as well.