An inch of water in a pool closed for the season, and a young man face down in it, wrists tied together behind his back with duct tape. They found him when the snow melted in the spring, seven months after he’d disappeared, after the whole county had turned out to search for him, after his name and photo had spread for a thousand miles in any direction, after fourteen press conferences by the police. The snow melted, and the country club opened, and when they pulled the cover back there he was, preserved by the cold for the most part.
A suicide, the cops said, and refused to answer questions.
Years later, and miles away across the state, another young man face down in a river. Disappeared in the winter, disappeared from an empty car, leaving behind a laptop, a phone, a change of clothes. No search parties, no news coverage, no updates; a father making the rounds from precinct to silent precinct and church to church, pleading. A handful of mourners wandering the banks, calling his name, hours past sunset. The river never froze, but there he was in the spring, newly dead.
Suicide, said the cops, and closed the file.