A humble pontoon boat that bobbed unassumingly behind them on the serene lake. The little fiberglass vessel was quite small, could only hold about two or three people, but it didn’t seem to belong to the fateful couple that stood vigil beside it.
The two both were in summer wear, one in a pair of cargo shorts with a brown baseball cap and the other in a tastefully short dress perfect for a date night. Both were barefoot, feet newly cleaned in the lake water. They were both staring out over the water in cold silence with their red hands intertwined. If anything were on their minds, one wouldn’t be able to tell just by the pure serenity on their brows.
The two were like statues of a picturesque summertime honeymoon on that dock. Like a Hallmark card or a romantic movie poster. Neither of them made a single move, even when other boats past by. Fishermen, speedboats, police, yachts. They didn’t care about anything but each other, and it would seem to anyone that saw them there.
“Hey. Do you smell something weird in the water? Like… oil?” One passing boater in a grey vest asked his fellow companion, who was intently watching his bobber cast in the other direction dancing on the murky water. This man ignored his friend’s question entirely as the little foam ball tucked fully below. Their meager little row boat shock as the old man laughed heartily into the night air and jumped up with a buck. The action was nearly causing the boat to capsize.
Behind them were shining lights blue, red, and white, flashing against the evening sky from the other side of the lake. The colors danced off the water along with the falling sunlight. Men and women swarmed the woods, a few talking on their phones as other guided dogs between trees and picnic tables.
On the water, a dragonfly buzzed peacefully amongst some cattails. The water around them had a strange color to them, flowing colors of a thin oil spill spreading out. Fish below the surface swam through the mess, oblivious to the toxins flooding into their world.
Into the water fell a hunting knife. Its cascade down into the murky depths was followed by a scarlet ribbon fading away. A curious bass approached the blade, nicking its dorsal fin in the innocent process.
An elderly couple sat on a bench, throwing bread crumbs to the lingering ducks that hadn’t gone away for the night yet. They were laughing and chatting and enjoying the last of moments of the day as it faded away from them slowly.
As the sun finally fell past the horizon line in the distance, night falling on the waterfront. All of the boaters were gone by then, and the flashing lights had departed to another part of the area. Long after everyone else was gone, the two by the pontoon boat looked to each other in silence, sharing one last kiss before departing, hand in hand as the bow of the vessel ignited.
Inside the pontoon boat, on the wooden deck floor, lay a man in a pool of drying red. His mouth agape, liquid dripping from his lips, this cooling corpse reached out into the night for an object his unblinking eyes stared towards. On his tongue, a word was trapped that would never be heard, stuck as an uncompleted confession.
A small velvet box lay on its side, thrown from his hand as he had crashed to the ground in front of him. Bloody footprints wavered on the white wood-patterned linoleum floor that was warming from the smoke rising around this crime scene. Two pairs of water skis were acting as more fuel for the growing fire on the deck of the boat. The glow of the growing flames glinted off of the shining stone inside before the crackling embers covered it in hiding ash.
The man removed the teethers holding the pontoon to the dock, and he and his lover watched as it departed from them and ever so slowly began to collapse into the lake, gone from the picture.