8. The Thing in the Lake
I kept an eye on the new security camera just like I had watched the footage from the doorbell earlier. I didn’t see anything on the camera in the trailer and assumed that the assailant was going to stay away after our encounter.
I got an alert one night that the camera on the front of the trailer had detected movement, though, and I took a look. I had seen foxes, coyotes, deer, and of course racoons on the camera at various times so I didn’t think much of it. At first I thought there was nothing, that perhaps an animal had triggered the motion detector and now it was gone. I checked back a while later, though, and saw what might have made the camera start recording.
There was something floating in the lake.
It wasn’t easy to see. I looked at the earlier footage, though, and saw it pop up out of the water and then fall flat on its back. It was slightly bigger than a human body, I guessed, though I had nothing to compare the size to. The shape jutted out and then fell down, breaking the horizon line of the lake against the night sky.
I wasn’t sure what to do. I texted Ally and asked her what she thought, and she didn’t have any advice.
“It’s probably just junk,” she said.
I was inclined to believe her and let it rest for the night. It had hard geometric features and it did look like some sort of box when I rewatched the video. I was sure that junk like that probably bubbled up to the surface every once in a while even in the cleanest lakes.
When I went to the trailer the next day, though, there were four police cars and a large van parked at the end of Carpenter Ave. I walked to the trailer and saw the police standing on the edge of the lake with a few others. Behind them, the houses up on the ridge looked down on them and my stomach turned, an uneasy feeling.
They had a large container up on the shore. There were two officers in scuba gear, removing their tank and breathing heavily. It was clear that they had just brought in whatever it was that I had seen on my camera.
“What was it?” I asked, to announce my presence.
“Not entirely sure. Do you live here?” One of the officers asked.
“No, I’m just cleaning up the trailer,” I said. “I have a security camera, though, I saw this thing pop up out of the lake last night.”
The officer nodded solemnly. “Okay if I ask you a few questions?”
I agreed, and he asked me where I’d been and if they could get a copy of the footage from the camera.
I asked him again if they knew what it was, and he dodged the question.
I remember writing down my phone number for him and he said that he would follow up with more questions but I never heard from him again. I don’t even remember the officer’s name as he was all around forgettable.
It didn’t take long for me to read about it in the paper, though. Ime and Mr. Stone were talking about it when I walked out of the house the next day, too. Stone wanted to talk about it because the newspaper had reported that a security camera located on a trailer by the lake had recorded the stone coffin emerging from the water. They were calling it a sarcophagus.
I met Laura Reed the following day standing at the edge of the lake. She was pleasant, even after she knew who I was. As I talked to her I started to get the sense that she was on edge about something, though. She kept looking at the houses when she was talking.
Despite her subtle agitation, she was confident. She asked me about my family and where I’d come from. She didn’t ask, as most people did in this part of the country, if I was married or what church I went to.
I asked her about the sarcophagus and what she thought. For whatever reason, I did not feel like I could ask her anything personal.
“I don’t know about it, really, except for what they’ve said in the papers.”
I didn’t exactly believe her, but I did not challenge her either.
She didn’t bring up the trailer, but I volunteered that I was going through the books and documents, which might have given her enough satisfaction to know that I was working on getting it out of there.
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