Incite Magazine - September 2015

Page 6




t was the shouting that woke me the day the Morrison girl died. The noise, paired with the gentle lapping of the lake, came from my backyard, to use the Morrison’s words for it. Curious, I walked outside, wrapping a thin housecoat around myself, for modesty. Ben and Kate Morrison were standing on the sand clutching one another, encircled by five of our neighbours. They were from the city, and shortly after Emma’s body was found, they moved back there. They often made themselves known for what they owned, which wasn’t much even by country standards. When they first moved in we had many tiffs about how I was to swim on my side of the lake and not theirs. They even threatened to put up a fence which Rick and I chuckled at on our beer nights. I mean, how can you fence off a lake that backs onto ten other houses?

They couldn’t properly admit that it was their fault that they lost Emma, they kept trying to pin it on someone else. After overhearing many heated and panicked questions about kidnappers and pedophiles, my buddy Rick, who lived two doors down, explained the situation. When Kate had gone downstairs to get the morning paper, she had noticed the backdoor wide open, and her daughter Emma missing. She woke Ben, searched the house, called the police and then gathered the neighbours, one of whom had found one of Emma’s little pink sandals being carried away by the waves. I knew it would take a while for the police to arrive, I mean they were also watching over the six towns that made up the county. 6

I don’t know how long it was before I found her. It wasn’t their fault; little girls didn’t disappear around here often, though the Morrisons would argue otherwise. Rick organized a search party. He and I and another fellow were to go into the lake and see what we could find while the others stayed with the Morrisons on the beach, looking for Emma. The Morrisons didn’t see the point of us going out into the lake since they were sure that someone had broken into their home and taken Emma. Even after we found her they couldn’t properly admit that it was their fault that they lost Emma, they kept trying to pin it on someone else. So we paddled out some ways on Rick’s boat, and looked for Emma in the tangled grass at the bottom of the lake. It was surprisingly shallow, but deep enough for a five-year-old to drown. Rick stayed in the boat, using his paddle to break through the plants while the other man and I waded through the weeds. I don’t know how long it was before I found her, slippery and tangled up in the weeds, or how long I held her before Rick noticed. I remember being surprised by how heavy she was, knowing in some distant part of my brain that I should have called out to someone. But all I could do was stare. I thought of all the times I’d seen her playing outside, if you could even call it that. She’d attempt to skip rocks into the lake though Ben told her that wasn’t something little girls did. Then she’d just sit and draw in the sand singing little songs to herself as the water crawled up and soaked her. I’d heard many shouts from Kate about how she was ruining her new clothes, about how she needed to act more like a little girl. And in my silence I remembered how she held my voice in her curled little hand as the other pink sandal slipped off her foot and floated away.  INCITE MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 2015