Cold Water

Christopher Westlake

As the boat slowly moved further in to the icy depths of the lake, breath condensing in the glacial wind, she took a moment to inspect her cargo. Having ensured it was secure she continued on, the only sound the gentle lapping of the dark water around the oars. It was perfect she thought. But then again, of course it was perfect, she had planned everything down to the last detail. That is how she operated, it was the reason she had been able to go on for so long never being noticed. It was all about time. She knew the best time to locate her prey, the best time to subdue them and the best time to move on to the next town. From the moment she had chosen him, she had been in complete control.

It had been snowing that morning, not heavily, more like the first snows of winter signalling the coming of the yearly deep freeze. She had stopped off to get a coffee in a local café, trying to warm up a bit, when she saw him sat at a table opposite her reading something on his phone. He had removed his thick coat so she could see that he was a slight man only a bit taller than she was, in a place like this he seemed more out of place than she did, all the other men she had seen were large outdoorsmen nearly twice her size. He wore blue jeans and a t-shirt with what she assumed was a reference to something he liked but she didn’t understand, she also took note of his shoes, they were flimsy shoes, not made for this weather at all, he must have driven in to town. The more she observed him, the more he reminded her of someone, she couldn’t remember who, like a niggling memory at the back of her mind she couldn’t quite recall. The memory she was searching for may not have been uncovered but she suddenly began to feel fear and panic, she could feel a crushing weight on her chest as she struggled to breathe, feeling utterly helpless. She forced these feelings aside and regained her composure, taking a sip of her black coffee to settle herself. It was decided, she had chosen and would now ingratiate herself with her prey.
It had been easy for her to shake off her usual aloof nature and put on a warm and friendly face. She was well practiced at this. He was taken aback at first, she got the sense that he was unaccustomed to women approaching him. He kept tripping over himself while he was talking, he was obviously interested and very nervous, some women may have found him endearing in a strange way but she just found it irritating. She didn’t let him know that of course, she played along, laughing at his jokes and blushing like a schoolgirl when he attempted to flirt with her. She played in to his fantasy.

Getting herself back to his place just outside of town didn’t take long, he was very accommodating. Once he was asleep, she recovered her bag and began to enact her plan as she had done many times before. Rendering him unconscious and immobile she dragged him out to his car, carefully going back and covering up any evidence of her presence in the house and placed him in the boot with the indifference of as if she was placing her shopping. As the snow began to fall she knew that any imprints in the snow indicating what had happened would soon be indistinguishable in the rising ocean of white. The drive to the lake took around an hour, enough time for her to check the local weather reports just to double and triple check her plans. The only sign of any emotion on her face was the slight look of excitement at the thought of all of her hard work coming to fruition, as it wasn’t the act itself that gave her pleasure but the power and control, she had over the situation.
Pulling up next to the lake she took a moment to savour the silence in the snow and enjoy the chill in the air. The boat she had left by the shore had not moved at all from when she was last here, the relative seclusion of this area and the time of year warding off any possible intruders. She dropped him into the back of the boat and covered him with a blanket she found in the back of the car, she didn’t want him to freeze to death. Slowly rowing out to the middle of the lake he began to stir. She paid him no attention, the frozen features of her face entirely focused on her task. When she reached the centre of the lake she pulled in the oars and turned to face her unwilling passenger. Pulling back the blanket, allowing him to see and understand the predicament he was in, she stared coldly at him, her eyes betraying no feeling, no emotion of any kind. The look of panic in his eyes, the flushness of his face and the muffled nature of his pleas did nothing to break through the ice that gripped her bloodless heart. As she carefully lifted him over the side, taking care not to capsize the boat, and watched him slowly sink into the dark, pitiless water, a slight smile cracked her face, knowing that by the time people start to look for him she would have moved on and he would be trapped under ice. Frozen in the cold water.

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