Read Cold Lake Online

Authors: Jeff Carson

Tags: #Mystery, #Thriller, #Suspense, #Serial Killer, #Crime, #Police Procedural

Cold Lake (10 page)

BOOK: Cold Lake
6.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

She shook her head.

“Do you suspect he’s come back?”

She shook her head.

“What about that alarm just now? That doesn’t even bother you?”

She shrugged. “I’ve been living alone for so long, I’ve gotten used to it. I was freaked out at the beginning, and now I just know where my guns are, I can see three hundred sixty degrees if I’m inside the house, and I just go on living my life. I figure if my father is out there and wants me dead, he’d have done it a long time ago.”

He nodded and looked at his watch – 8:32 pm.

“Listen, as you’ve probably heard, we found more than just Nick Pollard out there. My father came here with the notion that your father may have killed that boy. Now, we’ve brought up a total of eight bodies.”

She closed her eyes and nodded. “I know. I saw the news.”

“I’ve gotta get back.” He pulled out his card and gave it to her. “I’ll be back in touch, all right?”

She stood and nodded.

Wolf stood and looked down at her, he was a good head-and-a-half taller than she was, but Wolf thought she acted bigger. They stared at each other awkwardly for a moment and then she raised her eyebrows.

“Oh, look.” She pointed next to the phone on the wall.

Wolf looked over and saw a business card that said
Daniel Wolf, Sluice County Sheriff.

“Your father pinned his card right here twenty-two years ago. Told me to use it if I needed it. I’ll just pin yours right under it.”

Wolf nodded, still staring at the plain white card with a raised SCSD logo and address on it, and then the name in simple glossy black.
Daniel Wolf.

“Ma’am, I want to be clear. I’d like to be back in touch with you soon, so if you’d please stay available, I’d appreciate it.”

“Yeah, of course. So don’t go driving off and disappearing?”

“Exactly,” Wolf said.

“I’ll look forward to it.” She looked at Wolf from the sides of her eyes.

Wolf said goodbye and walked down the steps by himself, Kimber retreating back into her house. When he looked back up she was drawing the living room drapes, looking out into the night beyond him.

Outside the night air was damp and chilled to the bone, as if the cold air pooling on the lake had billowed over the lip of the cliff and was now lapping against Wolf. He could hear a faint laughing and chatter of voices coming from the water, and when he looked, he could see a tiny cluster of lights all the way across the lake. He realized the noise was coming from the marina bar on the opposite shoreline. It looked to be miles away across the water.

He sat in the SUV and looked up at the cabin windows. The slit between the drapes fell closed, fingers pulling out of sight.

With a deep breath he fired up the SUV and backed away.



Chapter 14

Wolf’s engine whined hard and the headlight beams bounced against the pines as he left up the dirt road from Kimber Grey’s.

He stopped for a moment at the road that came in from the right, the road to Mr. Olin Heeter’s place, and got out.

Wolf’s feet crunched on the wet dirt road as he walked into the spray of light from his SUV and studied the ground. There were no tire tracks on the road other than Wolf’s incoming tracks. None came or went in the soft earth from Mr. Heeter’s home.

Again, Wolf wondered about the alarm Kimber Grey had heard.

He did a slow circle, studying the dark forest around him and saw nothing. His SUV hummed softly, and billowing exhaust floated through his headlight beams.

With a fresh resolve he got in and turned up the road toward Mr. Heeter’s.

A quarter mile up the road the cabin loomed up on the right, dark and deserted looking, perched at the top of a hill that overlooked much of the lake below.

Wolf pulled in front, angling the SUV toward the house and saw that all the windows were covered with pulled curtains.

He shut off the lights and engine and got out.

There was little sound save a few crickets and the rush of wind through the pines, like a distant waterfall that rose and fell in strength.

The lake, a silver pool in the light of the moon, was visible on either side of the house, and to the right and down Wolf could see the pocket of light from Kimber Grey’s cabin tucked in the trees.

Wolf studied the exterior of the house in front of him. It looked unkempt—overgrown with weeds and wildflowers.

No lights were on. No sign of life, but still, he stepped to the front, climbed onto the squeaking wood porch and pushed the glowing doorbell button.

A classic ding-dong chime sounded within.

There was no answer, though Wolf could have sworn he heard a thump and then the creak of a floorboard.

He knocked. No answer.

Wolf turned and looked into the surrounding forest behind his SUV. The moon passed beneath a cloud, lighting it up around the edges, dropping the ambient light.

He flicked on his flashlight and did a sweep behind his ticking SUV, passing the powerful beam over the edge of the virgin forest, seeing nothing beyond the first tree trunks. He turned to peer into the front window next to the door. It was no use; the drapes were shut tight.

Stepping off the porch, he kicked something. A rock, he realized when he swung the light down into the grass. He reached down and picked it up. It was a geode, cracked in half, with exposed purple crystals on the inside. He set it back down on the porch next to the support beam of the deck and walked along the front of the property to his right, bobbing and swiping the light beam ahead of him and against covered windows as he went. The land inclined down as he walked around the side of the house, revealing a lower level with walkout sliding glass doors in the rear. They were covered as well.

Looking down the rear wall of the house, a low whoosh of wind came from his left, and he swung his flashlight towards it. The beam showed long grass, and then a row of rocks that had been stacked in a three-foot high straight line, like a rear perimeter fence one might see in the rural Irish countryside. Beyond it was nothing but the mercury-pool lake far below.

He walked towards it and the noise grew louder.

Reaching the rock wall, he leaned forward and shone the flashlight, and saw swirling moths and a bat fly past, both riding on a steady wind that climbed up the sheer cliff.

Craning his hand out, he pointed the beam down and saw nothing. He remembered seeing this cliff from the boats on the lake, and knew the drop was more or less straight down and higher than the back of the house was tall, which made the drop at least thirty feet high in his estimation. Though invisible with the flashlight beam now, he remembered the base of the cliff was a steep incline with the shoreline some distance down from that. He peered harder and noticed the end of a dock with a bobbing fishing boat moored to it, looking like a miniature toy from this height.

With a start that raised his pulse, Wolf sensed someone behind him. He lurched back and twisted the beam to his rear. Sweeping it back and forth, he saw nothing but a vacant rear lawn of the house.

He exhaled and shook his head. His history with cliffs was clearly playing with his mind.

Another look at his cell phone confirmed there was still no reception. The screen showed 9:09 pm, and he was now longing for home. Sarah had said this morning that she would come to stay at his house again tonight, and he had the sudden itch to get the heck off this lake and back down to Rocky Points.

He looked down at Kimber Grey’s home, still lit brightly, but obscured somewhat by the trees from his angle, and then he exhaled and headed back across the lawn.

In the corner of his eye he thought he saw movement towards the house. He jabbed the flashlight beam toward the spot, and could have sworn he saw the corner of a drape lower in one of the windows. Now it hung perfectly motionless.

“Hello?” Wolf called out. “Anyone in there?”

His heart was pounding a steady clip.

Wolf took a deep breath and marched toward the window, flashlight beam locked on the lower left corner of the window.

“I’m with the Sheriff’s department! Mr. Heeter?”

He let his eyes wander across the other windows, thinking if the person inside suspected they were spotted they might go look from another vantage.

“Hello?” He called out again. “Sluice County Sheriff. Mr. Heeter? I wanted to talk to you.”

No answer, and no movement.

Wolf flicked the beam to the next window, careful to aim it in the small crack between the two drapes.


He stood stock still, breathing quietly out his mouth.

No sounds from inside.

He flicked off the flashlight and stood silent for three full minutes, listening to the pulsing whoosh of fish-scented air cresting the cliff behind him. Between gusts he heard crickets chirping in the surrounding woods.

If there was someone inside, they were determined to stonewall him, and he had no business making them do otherwise. Defeated by either the person inside, or his own imagination, Wolf exhaled and walked around the house and back up to his awaiting SUV.

He got in and started the engine, and then when he flicked on his headlights he lit up the front of the house once again. The drapes were still and the door was closed.

He reversed out and started to drive when he slammed on the brakes.

The geode rock he’d placed back on the front porch was not there.

With lightning speed he shut off the engine and jumped out. Keeping his hand on his pistol, he pulled his flashlight and pointed it forward, carefully walking to the front porch again.

The rock was sitting burrowed in the grass, the violet crystals reflecting Wolf’s flashlight beam.

Wolf bent down and picked it up, studying the grass around it. He could see a few spots where the grass was flattened. Someone moving toward his SUV? Or were they his footsteps from earlier? Wolf swept the beam back and forth and decided, no. His earlier steps were to the left.

He followed the disturbances to the gravel road. The ground was hard pack rock and gravel, such that stepping on it left no shoe indentions, but there were rocks kicked over, leaving depressions, and a scrape of a shoe or boot.

Wolf shone his light into the forest and listened.

“Is anyone there?” Wolf asked, feeling like an exposed idiot.

He turned full circle and then pulled his pistol and shone the light through each of his windows into his vehicle.

Heart still walloping, Wolf got back in his SUV and drove back down the hill, crawling at under ten miles per hour and keeping a close eye on the forest to the right. It was no use, the trees were too dense, and Wolf wasn’t about to stop and hike in after some unknown person that could be armed and dangerous for all he knew.

At the base of the hill he looked left at the T-Junction. His dash clock said 9:15. He exhaled and took a left back towards Kimber Grey’s.

He was surprised to see her squinting against his headlights, standing halfway up her porch steps as if she was expecting him. He made a wide loop and pulled up with his driver’s side window down.

“You okay?” He asked.

She gave him an expressionless look and a single nod and shrug, as if saying, “Yeah, why?”

“I was just up at your neighbor’s, and thought I saw someone up there. I think there was definitely someone up there. They went off into the woods.”

She lifted her chin to look into the trees and then shrugged.

Wolf waited for a response that never came.

“You … get any alarms on your motion sensors?” He asked.

“If I do, I have a pistol and a rifle. Don’t worry about me, Sheriff.”

Wolf studied her calm expression for a few seconds and then nodded. “Be careful,” he said, shifting into drive.

As he drove away up the steep incline, he studied his rearview mirror, and saw Kimber Grey keep a motionless vigil on her steps until she disappeared out of sight behind the trees.

Wolf shook his head. Who was this woman?

The dash clock read 9:20. Well, she’d survived this long on her own, and she’d survive another night. He hoped.

Shaking his head, staring into the dark forest on either side of him, he used his high beams and kept his speed just south of unsafe through the woods, thoroughly creeped-out by the mystery encounter at the Heeter residence.

When Wolf finally got to the county road 74 junction he checked his phone. Still no reception, and now it read 9:31.

Damn it
. As he began driving along the northern edge of the lake back east, he knew there was still one more stop he needed to make. He was up here, and the marina bar was hopping. Who knew if someone would be there in the morning—a Sunday morning. He’d bet his pension against it. They would have a landline at the bar, the same one that transmitted the mystery call to Kimber’s father all those years ago. He would call Sarah from there and she would just have to wait. But would she?

He pressed the gas a little harder, took the gravel turns with a little more slide, hoped no wildlife stood around the next corner.

BOOK: Cold Lake
6.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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