Reflections

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reflections form a part of everyone's life.

REFLECTIONS

The river never had the same appearance for long. The weather influenced its look incredibly. It could change so quickly from morning to night, just by having the sun shining on it, or clouds chasing each other across the sky. Looking at the river when its banks were covered by snow, was quite an awesome experience, the water was still running, although with ice flows travelling in it. The snow-covered banks gave the river an ethereal air, as if it were a holy place. In the summer everything changed dramatically once again, as the banks were green and there were bathers in the water, however cold it was. For the river water to rise to a comfortable heat for bathers, several weeks were needed of hot sun to penetrate the gloom that came from underneath. The blue sky up above, lent the river added colour, together with the dinghies and other water vehicles that were to be seen. The girls’ summer dresses were like bright spots of pinks, yellows, blues, white, and green, which moved about as if on a giant canvas. 

Scott knew he had always thought of the river as an important part of his life. He didn’t know when that had happened, but at some time he could no more think of not going down to the river bank, which for him was even better than a holiday.

He did both things eventually, but as a small boy and a teen, the river was more than just a large amount of moving water. Scott learned to swim at the early age of five, and went down to the river in the summer to practice. His friends and family were always urging him to dive in, and one day he did. That day, found Scott staring at his reflection in the water, and it was then he made up his mind to dive into himself. As his head pierced the surface and his body went down, his feet being the last to enter, he then understood another thing about the river - that it was dark and murky. When his head rose out to feel the fresh air on it, he breathed deeply, and began swimming to where everyone was waiting for him.

“Well, now are you all satisfied with my new achievement?” Scott asked them.

“We’re all very proud of you. What’s it like down there?” his mother, Debbie, asked him.

“It’s dark and gloomy, and light doesn’t penetrate, and there’s the silence. It’s all a bit spooky,” Scott told them.

“When you think you’ve had enough, we’ll go home and have something to eat,” Debbie told him.

Scott said that he wanted to stay a bit longer. For the next hour or so, Scott, his family and friends, spent their time splashing around in the river, till it got too cold to stay in the water. They all had a brisk rub down, and then got on their bikes for the ride home.

 

Debbie prepared a good hot supper for her family and afterwards the children sat and watched television or played. Scott was the middle one, and he was not up to playing video games or watching television. He went up to the bathroom and stared at his reflection in the mirror. He stared as hard as he could, trying to discover what the difference was, between his face reflected in water from that in the mirror. He saw that the glass was static and that the water moved. He was happy with the movement of the water, it gave an extra something to his face. He wasn’t the same old Scott. That night he went to bed, content in the knowledge that he had a new aspect to his life.

Scott spent the rest of his youth peering in the river and mirrors, to try and discern what subtle differences there were.

 

He left home at eighteen to go away to college as far away as he was able to find. His life of his reflection, had led to photography, and he got a great deal of pleasure when photographing things or people in water or in glass. He had already exhibited some of his work in a local show, and had received a glowing report. Before leaving home, Scott took many photos of the surrounding water elements, but especially the river. The long slim black moving band of water outlined by the snow in winter was, for a reason best known to him, how he wanted to remember the river.

Scott went to a college that had no river to distract him from his studies. Nevertheless, he made up his mind to find one when he could. At that point in his life, away from his family, he said practically nothing about his new-found friends. Scott wasn’t into drinking himself into oblivion - so he didn’t. He just concentrated on his studies, and when and how to find a decent strip of water to take photos of. 

 

Carly first saw the light of day in the house by the lake. It was large and forbidding and gave the sensation of being a miniature sea. The only time the lake surface moved was when the wind was strong enough to whip up the water into waves. Tall dark trees bordered the expanse of water, they were so dark they never got paler, even in spring or summer. The water at the edge lapped against stones and earth. Feet got wet when pushing a boat out before jumping into it, and move out towards the centre. Carly had never lived anywhere else, and as she grew up, the lake formed part of her landscape and territory.

As she got older and bigger, her father took her out on the lake in a small rowing boat to fish. Carly also discovered her reflection on the surface of the lake. The reflection held the scudding white clouds against a blue sky behind her face. When she moved her head she was able to see the underside of the little boat and her father. Carly didn’t try to look into the depths of the lake because it was too big and too deep. She felt a great respect for the lake itself. What she liked most of all, was the double effect that the reflection on the water gave the trees surrounding it. The storms were good at disturbing the usual glass-like surface, and made any reflections too difficult to see clearly.

On her twelfth birthday, Carly was presented with a box of watercolour paints, and a camera. Then two things happened - she began taking photos and painting small pictures of the lake. Carly painted more than she took photos of the lake, and had an exhibition called ‘Carly’s reflections of the lake.’ By the time she went away to college, Carly’s collection of watercolours had grown quite considerably. Her paintings were on sale in the local art shop where she bought her materials. The walls in Carly’s family home, told the story of Carly’s life around the lake from when she was twelve. Not all her watercolours were for sale in the art shop, only those deemed saleable. Her parents felt that by having some of her pictures on the walls, she was still living at home, and had never left.

 

Scott was supremely happy when he discovered a river in near proximity to the college. “Scott, can you swim?” asked his new friend, Milo, whom he had met at a photography class.

“Yes, I can.”

The two young men were standing on a small launch that belonged to Milo’s father.

“How did you get this boat up here?” Scott asked.

“It was brought up here on a truck. I’m used to the launch and I prefer it to driving a car around on dusty and overcrowded roads. Do you know anything about boats?”

“No, but I’m willing to learn,” Scott told Milo.

“Cast off the mooring ropes, and we’ll be on our way,” Milo said, as he took hold of the wheel.

“Are we going anywhere in particular?”

“It occurred to me that you like photographing water, so here we are on the water. You will be able to take as many pictures as you care to.”

“Thanks a lot. I really appreciate your gesture.”

The boat glided gently out into the wider part of the river. There were plants growing in the water which obscured the river bank. The river also had a muddy texture to it. Nothing at all like the river Scott had grown up with. He stared down into the murky depths, wondering what lay below. The day was warm and sunny and they stripped down to their swimming trunks to sunbathe. Scott took some photos of the plants that grew out of the water and soon began moving in closer. The tall reeds stroked the sides of the boat but didn’t impede its movement. Scott sat down on the deck, and thought about what else he might be able to photograph. Milo was asleep - or at least that’s what he seemed to be doing. Scott stood up and looked down into the river to see his reflection. What he saw would stay with him for the rest of his life. As he looked down, instead of his face staring back at him, he saw a girl or a young woman. He nearly fainted with shock, but managed to get Milo and shake him awake.

“Milo, wake up! There’s a girl in the water. Come and have a look”.

Milo, who had been dozing just a few minutes before, awoke quickly, and said, “What are you talking about? Why should there be a girl in the river? Show me where she is,” Milo told Scott.

They went to where Scott had been standing before waking Milo up. “See, that’s a girl, or isn’t it?”

Milo stared down into the river in the direction that Scott was pointing, and saw a face that had no colour to it. He picked up his mobile and rang the local police, telling them that he and his friend had found the body of a girl. The police told them to stay right there and not to move.

 

It was midday when Milo and Scott saw the police launch move in beside them. The two young men pointed to where the body had been seen, and let the police do the rest of attending to the corpse.

The captain of the police told them, “We’d like you to come and see us at the police station when you get back, to give a full report of what happened this morning.”

“Officer, we’ve already told you how we got here, and Scott was taking photos, and then we saw the face in the water.”

“Very well, for the moment, but please remember to come to the station if you remember something, however insignificant it may appear to you. All right?”

“Yes, Officer,” Milo said, as he started up the engine for the journey back.

Neither Scott nor Milo spoke as they made their way back to where the launch would be left in its berth near the river.

 

The police spoke to the dean of the college to ask about the girl, and were told that nobody had been reported missing. The cadaver was taken to the forensic department of the police station, awaiting an in-depth examination. Once washed and placed on a table, some photos were taken of her. They were put on the internet in an attempt to discover her identity. There was no indication that she had been stabbed or shot, so the police asked the forensics what could have possibly caused her death. The doctor in charge of the forensic department, said. “I think she was held under. I must carry out a more intense examination before giving my final answer.”

 

That night all the students at the college saw the local news, and the photo of the female whose body had been found by Scott and Milo, to establish her identity. The news reporter stated that two students had come across the body when going for a ride in a launch on the river. Scott was in his room looking at the photos of the reflections he had seen in the river. He didn’t think they were very good, and if it hadn’t been for the cadaver, he would have thrown them all out. The police had taken his camera, and transferred his photos to their own system, in order to get a better picture. Scott sat down on his bed and tried to make some sense of what had actually happened. He then thought that what had taken place must have occurred quite some time before.

“I prefer taking photos of water and reflections than cadavers,” he said to himself. “I sincerely hope that this kind of excitement doesn’t happen again.”

 

The walls in Carly’s room at college when she had got there had been bare of any decoration, but had recently been painted, and it didn’t take long for her to hang some of her watercolours on them. That was when she felt less of a new-comer and stranger. The news on television about the finding of a female body floating and caught up in the rushes, caused Carly to begin searching among her paintings for evidence. She loved water so much that it was an ever-present temptation to paint it and at times take photos.

Carly lay down on top of her bed and closed her eyes. She cast her mind back to when she’d been walking beside the river and had seen a man and a girl arguing. She got off the bed and looked at the photos of the dead girl in the online news. She was convinced it was the same face of the girl who had been arguing with the man.

Carly rang the police to inform them of what she had seen. They asked her to go to the police station, and she took the photos and paintings that she had done on that day. It was soon established that the girl in the rushes was Alicia Atkins, the girl friend of another student, called Jefferson Blakely. When questioned by the police, Jefferson said he hadn’t been out with Alicia in some weeks, because she was seeing another young man from the nearest town.

 

Scott and Milo had been put off making more trips on the river, as the police were out patrolling it at all times. Instead, Scott decided to have an exhibition of his photos at the college. Carly went to see the exhibition, and saw what he was aiming at. She returned to her room and looked through her work. She remembered how the trees that bordered the lake were reflected in it, and then her own reflection, too.

 

Jefferson and Alicia’s father, Martin Atkins, went into the town to see if anyone could help them find the man she had been seen talking to. There were photos of Alicia everywhere. They found out that the man in question was Darrell Stevens, about the worst no-good anywhere. No one had a good word to say for him. The police went up to them in a police car and asked them what they were up to. Martin answered, “We want to know and find the man Alicia had been seeing. She never told me anything about him. We just want to find out what happened, that’s all.”

“Sir, we understand how you must feel, but it hasn’t been officially confirmed how come your daughter was found in the water.”

“That’s the reason we’re desperate to find this man and speak to him. The only thing we know about him is, that it appears he has a bad reputation in this area,” Martin said.

“Well, don’t go getting yourselves into trouble. If you do think you’re onto something, please let us know immediately. Good afternoon.”

The police drove off and Jefferson turned to Martin and said, “Well, that’s a surprise. I thought we’d be in for a rollicking.”

“They obviously know something we don’t, and therefore aren’t afraid of us roaming around asking questions, that will probably turn out to be fruitless.”

“What I don’t understand is what Alicia found attractive in such a low-life as the one we’re looking for. I’m finding it very hard to get my head around any rhyme or reason about the subject of Alicia going off with such a bad person,” Martin said unhappily.

“I really don’t know either. It’s getting dark, so we’d better drive along here a bit longer before heading off for the college.”

They drove along the motorway which led right out of the town. In every shop, pub, or restaurant they showed Alicia’s photo. The reaction was always the same, they recognized her face, and knew the nasty bit of work she had been involved with.

 

Carly looked closely at the few photos she’d taken by the river. The water plants grew abundantly there, and it was difficult to see through them and what was behind them, in a photo. They were so thick and there were no reflections. She knew who Scott was, and went along to his room.

“I’ve a feeling that I’ve missed something. The plants grow so thick in some parts of the river, the bank can’t be seen,” Carly told him.

Scott looked at her photos carefully. “It’s too late to go out now on the river, but tomorrow after breakfast, I’ll get Milo to take us in his launch up the river, to see if we can find anything of interest. By the way, do you take many photos?”

“Some, but not so many. I’m really a watercolour painter.”

“Can I see your work?”

“Yes, the ones I’ve done here are hanging in my room. Before coming here, I sold a lot in a shop near where we live. My parents have some hanging at home.”

“Your name is rather odd.”

“It’s really Carlota, but as I was a small baby they called me Carly for short.”

 

Next morning Carly, Scott, and Milo boarded his launch and set off up-river. Carly and Scott were both peering through binoculars, while Milo steered the launch cautiously through the thick foliage and concentrating on not hitting the river bank. Milo slowed the launch down as they neared the spot where Alicia’s body had been discovered. Sufficient time had passed since the sad finding, to make it free of police.

Carly said, “Aren’t we getting rather a long way from where you found the body?”

Milo said, “I’m trying to find a way through the plants to the bank. Then we can see what there is to be seen, as it’s not far from where she was found in the water. This looks promising.”

Carly and Scott gazed to where Milo was heading the launch, it was a gap in the rushes. The launch slid through the gap easily, until it bumped against the bank.

The trio climbed off the launch and looked around to see where they had landed. There was evidence of flattened plants and churned up earth as if a vehicle had passed over it. The silence to be expected in such a serene spot was broken by the sound of motor vehicles. They all turned their heads this way and that, endeavouring to find the origin. Having discovered where it had to be coming from, they began walking towards it. Eventually they saw that they had made it to a motorway full of fast moving traffic. It would have proved to be no problem at all for anyone to drive off, onto the lay by, go down to the undergrowth, and the river. The close proximity of the motorway and the river meant that he would be able to perpetrate a crime, dump a dead body in the river, and continue on his way.

Carly said, “I don’t like this place. Someone has just walked over my grave.”

“It certainly seems to be an easy place to dump a body, or anything else, come to that,” Milo said staring at the traffic.

“The police must know about this area. It was, perhaps, one of the first places searched for evidence.”

“We still haven’t been told how she died,” Scott said.

“I saw her arguing with a man down there, not up here,” Carly added.

“Maybe they drove here and went for a walk down there,” Milo said.

 

Scott and Milo went to Carly’s room to see her paintings. They found them to be enchanting, and delicate in execution.

Scott said, “Let’s go to the photo and film lab, and see right into the photos.”

When they were all inside the lab, Scott asked a friend of his who spent the majority of his time in there, to do what he could with Carly’s photos.

“We’d like to see if there’s anything the eye misses. I know it’s happened in the past, and forensics use it a lot, and discover very small details the eye can’t even force itself to see,” Scott said.

“Would you mind waiting a few moments?”

The lab technician switched on a very powerful magnifier, and slipped Carly’s photos under the lens one by one. He called to them, and said, “What do you make of this?”

They stood staring at what was a picture of a man and a woman arguing, the man’s face became clear under the new intense magnifying light.

“We’d better call the police,” Milo said.

“Yes, I quite agree. Now I remember why I always knew reflections were important. That has to be the face of the man who put Alicia into the river,” Scott said.

“I still don’t think it means anyone knows who it is,” Carly added.

They all stared at her.

“Does anyone know who that person is?” Carly asked.

Scott got on his mobile and rang the police, and told them of the find in one of Carly’s photos.

The police arrived at the film and photo lab in the college in a short time, and stared at the image of the unknown man’s face reflected in the river.

“Who took this photo? It wasn’t handed in with the others.”

“That’s because it’s mine, not Scott’s. Nobody asked me for any photos. I showed you my watercolours,” Carly said, feeling rather irritated.

“Are there any more photos you haven’t mentioned?” the police asked Carly.

“No, there aren’t,” she replied curtly.

 

Jefferson and Martin were very happy about the person who had ended Alicia’s life having been found in the reflection which showed up in the photo taken of the water. The police who later arrested Darrell Stevens in another town further out along the motorway, were able to get a confession out of him. He stated that he had flirted with Alicia in order to get her to be his girl friend. He had used her credit card and got the money out of her that he wanted, till she got suspicious, and they had a row down by the river, and he dumped her body in the river. He had seen the launch approaching and pushed her body into the rushes to hide it. Unluckily for him, Scott had seen her face in the water. Stevens had wanted to better himself and had picked on Alicia to do so, and when she discovered what his game was, had tried to give him up - to no avail. So he made her pay the price. He had kept her kidnapped for a while, till deciding what to do with her. He said her death was an accident. Nobody believed him. The judge said criminals in future should be more careful of reflections, they could happen anywhere, in water and in glass, for example - shop windows.

 

Carly stayed on at the college till her course ended, and then went back to pursue her career as a painter of watercolours. The life at college had been too extreme for her.

 

Scott continued with his reflections in black and white photos. He was a big success, which didn’t surprise anyone - not even him. 


Submitted: May 03, 2015

© Copyright 2022 Georgina V Solly. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Georgina V Solly

As you would say to one of your comments received. "Thanks very much for the comment."
Glad you enjoyed it.
Georgina

Mon, May 4th, 2015 9:37am

Chris Green

The story has a lovely reflective air and the attention to detail is very good throughout. The plot builds nicely and there is an air of mystery to it. All in all a very accomplished work.
Regards
Chris

Tue, May 5th, 2015 7:02am

Georgina V Solly

Hello Chris,

thanks for the lovely comment. It's nice to see you are another lover of the short sentence, the simple complexity and the sweet ending of The Cats tale made me laugh. We have two tabbies here at home but no snakes.
Regards, Georgina.

Tue, May 5th, 2015 2:06pm

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