Come on, you seriously don’t expect anything less than twisted from me, do you?
Edward Parsons was concerned at the way the colour suddenly drained from Eric’s face. He wondered if he would be picking Eric up off the ground in a minute.
‘Are you okay, boy? You don’t look good.’ Parsons reached out his arm to try and steady a wobbly looking Eric.
He nodded, and lied. ‘Yeah, I’m fine, Mr. Parsons. It, uh, it happens a bit since the accident.’
They stood in silence looking out over the river. In forty years, it had pretty much stayed the same. In summer, it was a draw card for families on vacation. It was a quiet, family-friendly area, despite the unsolved disappearance of little Jenny Parsons. Its popularity had never waned. In the winter, everything in these parts shut down, and it was only the long-time residents who could be found here.
He was lucky, he thought. Eric had a lot of luck in his life. No one other than Amy had seen what he did to Jenny Parsons. No one had ever discovered her body. Eric was incredibly lucky, that on the day he dove into the river to rescue his sister, he didn’t completely break his neck. The fractured vertebrae never impeded his life until ten years ago, when they fully collapsed while he was driving on a deserted back road. He crashed his car and was almost left a quadriplegic. Amy said that it was Karma’s way of telling him she never forgot what he did. Eric didn’t need Karma to tell him that; he never forgot.
‘You ever find out what happened to Jenny, sir?’
The old man sighed. His family had prayed every day of every year since her disappearance that she would be found. He solemnly shook his head. There had never been any news about Jenny since she disappeared. Even the police had given up on the case. Jenny Parsons only ever existed in the minds of those who knew her, and most of those people had moved on or died. Some had chosen to forget, the pain of losing a beautiful young soul just too much to bear.
‘You should come up to the cottage for coffee, Eric. Mrs. Parsons would be delighted to see you again. She was always comforted by your visits, especially after Jenny was lost to us.’ Edward patted Eric on the shoulder and retreated back towards his cottage.
Eric stood for a moment longer, staring out into the middle of the river, a chill running the length of his spine. He pulled his jacket collar up around his ears, knowing that it was not the weather that had chilled him to the core. Following Edward Parsons, he called out to the old man.
‘You know, Mr. Parsons, I do believe I’d like to stay for coffee, if it’s alright with you.’ He smiled as the old man turned his head towards the voice.
Watching the two men strolling towards the house from the kitchen window, Mrs. Parsons also smiled. She had been waiting near on forty years for this moment. Eric Cooper had returned to Carver’s Brook. Here and now, she would meter out the punishment he so deserved for taking the life of her granddaughter. She had known it was Eric. She had always known, the way a woman does know things. And it was why she had never wanted to move away from this place. Jenny was out there, in the middle of the river, cold and lifeless. But she would never be alone. She knew that one day, Eric Cooper would return, and when he did, he would spend eternity out in the middle of the river, with her beloved Jenny.
Twenty miles down the highway, Andrea Carver was already resting at the bottom of Carver’s Lake.
. . . The end . . .