She always went at night. At night when the moon was full, the stars bright in the sky, a dense mist slowly ebbing across the water. She always went at night because it was at night when she first met him, it was at night when she fell in love with him. It was at night when he died.
She had to take the side roads to get to where she wanted to be, the ones that were grass and gravel, bumpy from the many potholes made by the tires of past lovers and party-goers. The front entrance was always chained off at night to keep the general public out. But the back roads were not, and the locals knew where to find them. It was one of these roads that she took to get to the lake.
The evening had grown cool as she stepped from her car, and she shivered, not knowing if the fog bothered her or the chill in the air. Or perhaps it was the darkness that surrounded her. Or maybe it was the thought of what she was about to do.
The lake was quiet. She was sure the water temperature was frigid, and no one would be coming here tonight to swim. Winter was just around the corner. The leaves had already turned their brilliant shades of red, gold, and brown and were slowly dying and falling to the ground. The snow would come next. The lake would freeze over, and the earth would become hard with ice and snow.
McKenna closed the car door quietly. She didn’t know why. There was no one around to hear it. It was just the thought of any loud noise in the stillness of the night that made her jumpy.
She was already nervous, to begin with, but this was different. She didn’t usually go to dark, lonely places by herself. Something inside her, perhaps the need to be close to Dane again, compelled her to return here. And she refused to let fear drive her away.
Deep inside, she felt dark and lonely. She missed him. She needed to feel his presence, needed to be where all the memories of him were. At times she felt like she was dying inside, and sometimes, wished she would.
“Dane.” Without realizing it, his name passed her lips in a whisper. “Where are you, Dane?”
For a moment, she stood still, leaning on the car for support. She felt dizzy. The memories were flowing through her hard and fast now. It was too much emotion to grasp at one time. She lifted a hand to her head to slow them, but it did no good.
Her legs grew too weak to hold her and her feet slid slowly out from under her. She let her bottom hit the gravel beneath her feet, not caring if her jeans got muddy or stained. Not caring about anything but the thoughts of Dane and the summer that she met him at Mosquito Lake.