The Lake-Chapter 5

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“This was us, back where we were eight,” Mrs. Winston said, pointing to the old photo album that sat on her lap and tapping on one picture in particular.  Laura leaned in to see the old photograph better.  Two little girls, standing by a lake, smiled back at her from the page.

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“As twins, we shared a special bond,” Mrs. Winston said, fondly tracing her fingers over the old image.  “We were very close…the best of friends.  When she died that summer, I was left all alone.”  Mrs. Winston sat, staring at the photo for a minute before speaking again.  “It’s very difficult to lose a twin.”

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Laura sat, staring at the photo as well.  The two girls seemed to be so happy and carefree.  “How did Lilith die,” she asked timidly, almost afraid to upset Mrs. Winston, but at the same time needing to know.  “It was in the lake, wasn’t it?”

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Mrs. Winston closed her eyes on that terrible memory for a moment and then looked back at the photo on her lap, nodding.  “Yes.  One summer, right after our eighth birthday party, we had decided to go out swimming down at the lake.  We were both good swimmers and our parents let us swim together down there as often as we wanted to.  The only rule was that we had to swim together, in case…in case something happened.”  Her voice broke and she stared guiltily at the picture.

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Laura and Marc sat there, watching Mrs. Winston, as she told the tale.  They both leaned in slightly to catch her words, mesmerized.  She continued on.  “Well, we got down to the lake and then realized that we had both left our new sailboats down at the house, which had been birthday presents from our Aunt Beth.  I offered to run back to the house and grab them while Lilith waited at the lake for my return.  Lilith must have decided I was taking too long and ended up going into the lake without me.”  She stopped and traced her finger along the picture again, letting her finger rest on the image of her twin sister.

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“There was a swinging rope tied to the willow tree that protrudes from the center of the lake,” her voice broke as she spoke.  She paused and then continued.  “We found Lily’s body near that spot, a deep gash along the side of her head.  From what it looked like, Lily must have decided to swing from the rope out into the lake, but slipped from it and hit her head on one of the rocks there.”  Mrs. Winston squeezed her eyes shut for a second and then looked up imploringly at the Holstens.  “If I would have been there, she would have been fine,” she said in a near whisper. 

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“So, since Lilith is all alone and Lily was leaving, she decided that she would take our Lily with her?”  Laura asked in a whisper.  Mrs. Winston nodded.  Marc and Laura just sat there, stupefied, with a mixture of sadness and horror at the old woman’s tale.  Finally, Laura let out a heavy sigh and leaned back in the couch.  She thought of the tragedy that had almost befallen her own family that day and shuddered.  She wondered what it would be like to have to live through something like that. 

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She hoped that Lily wouldn’t be scarred by this horrific event.  The doctor that had examined her earlier had said that things like this affect each child differently.  He had said that sometimes the brain even blocks these types of events and she may not even have memory of it later.  She hoped this was the case.

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