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A Cold, Cold Death For Thomas Baylor

By:A.R. Wise

A Cold, Cold Death For Thomas Baylor
Author:A.R. Wise

     

A COLD, COLD DEATH FOR THOMAS BAYLOR
A Siren's Song


By: A.R. Wise



Smashwords Edition
Copyright 2011 Aaron Wise


SmashwordsEdition, License Notes
Thisebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook maynot be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like toshare this book with another person, please purchase an additionalcopy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did notpurchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then pleasereturn to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you forrespecting the hard work of this author.

Thomas Baylor bundled up to face the cold. He zipped up his parka andslipped on his gloves. He wrapped a scarf around the lower half ofhis face before he pulled the strings of his hood taut.
His wife stopped him before he could open the door. She held onto hisshoulder, pulled him back, and spun him around. She scowled at him asshe held out her palm, waiting for him to hand something over. Theirtwo-year-old son, Lincoln, had been having trouble sleeping and shedidn't want to wake him now that he had finally gone to bed. Sheshook her hand at Thomas, knowing that he understood what she wasasking for.

     
 

     
Tom sighed and took off his right glove so he could get the keys outof his pocket. Before he gave them to her, he pointed at the ring onher finger. He passed the keys to his left hand and held out hisright. He motioned for her to give him the ring.
She snarled and crossed her arms, but Thomas tightened his grip onthe keys and shook his open hand to insist that she comply. His wifestomped her foot, but did as she was told. She pulled the ring offand slammed it into Tom's hand. They both looked at it in silence.
It was a simple gold ring with a diamond flower cluster. There was nowedding band, as there was, nor ever would be, a wedding. This simplepromise, sitting dead in his hand, fell away from them as he slowlyclosed his fingers. The metal was cold to the touch as he slipped itinto his pocket.
She asked for the keys with a violent gesture and Thomas started tohand them over, but then he let them drop to the floor. They clashedagainst the linoleum of their tiny kitchen and he snickered as shebent to retrieve them. Then he walked out the back door to leave herfor good.
Cold air hit him immediately and stung his eyes as he pulled thestring of his hood tighter. The streetlights shook in the wind as thesnowstorm whistled through the apartment complex. Snow pelted hischeeks and he looked down to avoid their strikes. The mounting snowcrunched beneath his boots as he trudged through the drifts that hadgathered in the small fenced backyard that was connected to theirapartment. Strike that, her apartment.
Tom heard his ex-fiancé lock the door behind him. He glanced back tosee her shape disappear inside the warm glow that emanated from thewindow. Then she turned the light off and left him out in the coldbeneath the wavering streetlight's stark halogen burn.
Their four-door sedan sat outside the gate, but it didn't belong tohim anymore. He swept the snow off the driver's side window andpeered inside to see vestiges of the life he was leaving behind. Apair of Starbuck's cups sat in the center console, a green tree carscent hung from the rearview, pennies littered the floor, a few cdswere scattered across the dash, and the backseat was overloaded withtoys that Lincoln had brought along only to forget upon getting home.He felt a longing for these things, but it was a feeling embitteredby anger.

     
 

     


A COLD, COLD DEATH FOR THOMAS BAYLOR
A Siren's Song


By: A.R. Wise



Smashwords Edition
Copyright 2011 Aaron Wise


SmashwordsEdition, License Notes
Thisebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook maynot be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like toshare this book with another person, please purchase an additionalcopy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did notpurchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then pleasereturn to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you forrespecting the hard work of this author.

Thomas Baylor bundled up to face the cold. He zipped up his parka andslipped on his gloves. He wrapped a scarf around the lower half ofhis face before he pulled the strings of his hood taut.
His wife stopped him before he could open the door. She held onto hisshoulder, pulled him back, and spun him around. She scowled at him asshe held out her palm, waiting for him to hand something over. Theirtwo-year-old son, Lincoln, had been having trouble sleeping and shedidn't want to wake him now that he had finally gone to bed. Sheshook her hand at Thomas, knowing that he understood what she wasasking for.

     
 

     
He set off through the frozen streets toward the nearest hotel heknew of. It was a shady little place called The Pinerest Inn thatcatered to prostitutes with hourly rates, but it would have to do. Itwasn't too far, and he could get there quicker if he cut throughAinsley Woods.
The woods were fenced off and the edge sat up against the parking lotof the apartment complex. Ever since he was a kid he had known of aslit in the fence that allowed easy access to the privately owned lotand he made his way over there to sneak in again. It had been yearssince he'd been in the woods, and the hole in the fence was a lotsmaller than he remembered, but he got down and slid through withouttoo much trouble.
Ainsley Woods was haunted, or so they used to say. When he was a kidhe would sneak into the preserve with his friends to camp out, eachtelling their parents they were sleeping at the other friend's house.They would spend the night beside Kepter Lake and tell the story ofpoor old Widow Winchell whose husband had drowned in the icy waterone night, long ago. No one knows what made him go out onto the ice,but it broke beneath him and swallowed him whole. They say he swambeneath the ice for as long as his lungs could hold out, screamingand pounding against the underside of his frozen coffin. When springcame, and the ice thawed, his body was pulled out to reveal hisfrozen masque of screaming terror and shorn fingertips ripped toshreds from clawing at the unrelenting ice.
Poor old Widow Winchell bought the land around Kepter Lake to keepothers from going near the damned water. She swore it was cursed, butno one paid her any heed, not even her sweet little girl. AinsleyWinchell would visit the lake where her father died every year toleave a bouquet of lilies in remembrance. Her mother begged her tostop, but Ainsley was determined to honor her father's memory withthis small token and she would always manage to slip away from hermother's controlling grip just long enough to keep the traditionalive.
It was twenty years ago that the icy waters claimed Ainsley's lifetoo. Again, no one knows why she went out onto the lake, but she fellin and suffocated just like her father. Her disappearance shook hermother's loose grip on sanity, and the legend says she was last seencrawling out over the ice of Kepter Lake and pounding on it whilescreaming for someone to give them back. Give me back my family. Giveme back my life.

     
 

     
Some say you can still hear her calling, in the dead of winter, fromthe shores of Kepter Lake, "Give me back my family. Give me backmy life."
It was a fun story to tell new friends and was made even better byhaving a hidden prankster ready to scream out, "Give me back mylife," just as the story ended.
Ainsley woods were thick, which lessened the snow on the ground thatThomas had to wade through. He walked easily through the overgrowth,almost as if a path had been formed for him. He didn't remember apath here, but then again, he hadn't been here in years. The brushmust've been worn away by the neighborhood kids sneaking through thesame hole he had found when he was their age. The woods weren'tlarge, and it wouldn't take him long to get through if he kept goingstraight, but it was too inviting to stay on the path. He let hisjourney wander to stay along it to see where it led instead of tryingto crash through the unbroken brush beside him.
The wind let up and Thomas pulled the scarf away from his face whenhe noticed that he was sweating. Even his hands felt hot, and hepulled his gloves off and shoved them in his pocket. The unrelentingblasts of cold that had frozen him at the apartment complexdisappeared and he was shocked to find himself feeling unbearablywarm. He unzipped his parka and fanned it to get some air.
Kepter Lake revealed itself to him like a frozen oasis amid thetwisted wood. The path led to its bank and stopped at its shore. Heplodded down to the end of the path and set his toe atop the solidice. He laughed and shook his head. There was no chance he'd walk outonto that ice, not after the stories he'd heard.
That's when the woman's voice broke the silence. She was humming, orperhaps even singing, somewhere nearby. He struggled to locate thesource, but it was too distinct and beautiful to ignore. Her voicewas soothing and he desperately wanted to discern the words, but shewas too far away.
He trudged out onto the banks of Kepter Lake off the path that hadled him there. The frozen weeds struck his side as he went and everystep was uncertain as the snow gave way beneath him. Finally, hestepped out onto the lake to find surer footing and was surprisedthat his shoes seemed to grip the ice better than expected. He wasable to walk along the bank quickly as long as he stayed on the iceand away from the thick brush.

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