Winter 1994 – Who Sleeps Beneath the Lilies?

Old Ryan leaned on the wall and looked over the pond. He said, “The stories vary. In one, she’s a young mother who sent her children out to play because she wanted to take a nap. The babies drowned why she was sleeping and then she drowned herself out of grief. In another, she’s a witch that got hung in that tree on the island. Or maybe she’s a lady troll with a taste for child flesh. It all depends on which old lady you talk to.” 

“Have there been a lot of drownings in the pond?” I asked. 

Young Ryan laughed. “That is the question, isn’t it?” he said. “Maybe there have been hundreds. Maybe three or four. Maybe none. How deep do you think that water is?”

I tried to judge. The water was murky and still. A half dozen ducks lazily paddled across the surface. I shrugged. “Ten feet? Twenty?” I guessed. 

Old Ryan nodded. He said, “I don’t think there’s a spot lower than fifteen feet and that’s after a good spot of rain. The trouble is …” 

“There’s never been a body found,” Young Ryan completed his father’s sentence. “Even when a kid’s gone down in front of witnesses, no bodies ever come up. The pond’s been dragged a dozen times. No bones. No clothes. Nothing.”