Disclaimer: This was written for a short story contest.
The Sinister Lagoon
“Attention all Springland County residents,” the radio announcer’s voice barked loudly, “we have just received word of an escaped prisoner from the Eastfall Prison. Investigators are not positive precisely when the escape happened, but they believe it was within the last few days. Springland County Sheriff Eric Shaw has issued a warning to all those residing in both Springland County and nearby areas. Please be advised that prisoner Madeline Dunn is considered both armed and very dangerous. If you see her, do not approach her. We repeat, do not approach her. Call the police immediately. Thank you all for your time. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
“Awesome,” she heard Jace say. “We could use some excitement around here.”
“Wait, wasn’t she that chick who killed her cheating fiancé or something like that?” Curtis asked.
“Oh right, I heard she shot him like eighty times or something,” Madison chimed in.
“Great,” Chelsea groaned from the sandbar as she adjusted her tanning position, “just what we need – some unhinged psycho running around.”
Curtis jetted out of the water and sat down beside Chelsea.
“Aw, what’s wrong, Chels? You scared?” He questioned in a mocking tone. Then he leaned in closer and attempted to cop a feel. “Need me to protect you?”
Chelsea pushed his arm away in disgust.
You okay, Avery?” Jace asked as he swam cautiously towards her. It was unusual for Avery to be so silent. She was the girl who could barely go five minutes without uttering a sound. Except for now that is. There was nothing emitting from her except for an eerie silence. No, she wanted so badly to say, she wasn’t okay. After all, there was a known murderer lurking around. How could any of them feel safe right now? Or at least safe enough to be out in the open with little to no protection. She was terrified, absolutely terrified. But she couldn’t let Jace know that. Not popular, charismatic Jace who all the girls in school wanted. Not the Jace that she unexpectedly bagged. Not the Jace she never deserved in the first place.
Avery simply nodded her head in response to his question. Her body stilled as she felt him get behind her and wrap his arms around her waist. His constant cinnamon scent wafting into her nostrils; his hot breath on her neck. It was all she could do to keep her composure.
“You’ll be safe in my bed tonight,” Jace said in the huskiest of voices. “I promise.”
Avery removed herself from his grip long enough to turn around to face him. Then she pulled him into a passionate kiss.
“Okay, seriously, get a room you two,” Madison said from a few feet away.
“We already have one,” Jace responded jokingly as he broke the kiss.
“Then use it.”
“We should be thinking about heading out anyway, bro. We’re seriously low on beer,” Curtis informed his friend.
“And we can’t let that happen, can we Curtis? Heaven forbid there’s no beer.”
“Screw you, Chelsea.”
Jace gave Avery an apologetic look, one she knew all too well. One that said he had to back up his friend.
“Curtis is right. We’ll go for a beer run and you girls can start dinner.”
“Yeah, I’ll get right on that,” Chelsea replied, giving the boys a sarcastic thumbs up.
Jace started to paddle to shore as Madison sidled up alongside Avery.
“Know what I don’t get? Why did she shoot him? Why not just go for his bank account or his reputation instead?”
Avery heard Chelsea snort. “Because cheaters don’t care about their reputations. And he probably was broke. No, she was right in serving up some revenge; however, she was wrong in the way she doled it out. She should have killed them both. I mean, why does the other woman get a free pass?”
Madison shot Avery a shocked look to which Avery responded merely with a shrug. That was Chelsea. Unfiltered, but loyal.
“You don’t know the whole story, Chelsea. Maybe she was lied to as well.” Madison’s voice quivered. “Maybe she thought he was going to leave his girlfriend.”
Chelsea rolled her eyes. “You’re so naïve. I’m sure the two of them were going to live blissfully and unfaithfully ever after.”
“Maybe they were.” It came out barely as a whisper, but Avery heard it nonetheless. She slowed her pace and allowed Madison to walk in front of her. When Madison realized Avery was no longer next to her, she turned around.
“You coming, Aves?”
Avery nodded. “I’ll be there in a second.”
And then she watched them gather their belongings from the ground and head back to the main cabin. She felt sick to her stomach. How stupid could she be? It had been right in front of her face all along. The texts Jace would get and suddenly delete. The way Madison hung on his every word. The quick and darted looks in the hallway at school. They needed to pay for humiliating her this way. Stepping out of the swimming hole, she picked up her bag which had been situated on the rainbow colored beach chair. Sticking her right hand in, she fumbled through it until she felt the item she had so desired. Her lips formed into a smirk as her fingers ran across the sharp blade of the knife. It was poetic justice really. Avery had never seen it coming. And now neither would they.