Friday, April 22, 2016

The hole

Taking a break isn't the same as quitting.  I rested my arm on top of the shovel's handle and surveyed my handiwork.  Five hours of digging, three liters of sweat and screaming muscles in shoulders, back and legs only got me a hole less than knee deep.

I dropped the shovel and stepped down into the hole.  I lay down in the hard dirt and stretched out - or tried to.  I'm 5'7".  If I cut my feet off around mid-shin, I'd be able to lie flat.  My shoulders had to hunch and my hips rubbed against the sides. The hole wasn't wide enough.

I sat up then climbed out of the ground. A slight breeze blew hot air around me. It was cooler down in the earth.

I blinked the sweat out of my eyes and wished I'd had the sense to wear a hat. With a loud sigh, I dug back into the hard clay.  The hole wasn't going to dig itself. If I walked away it would never get done.

I had about four hours of daylight left. Time enough to widen the hole, maybe lengthen it.  It would be shallow, there was no getting around that. I still hadn't figured out how I would disguise the freshly dug pit.  The darkness would have to cover my tracks. It wouldn't matter in the daylight.

I'd be gone by then.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Can't. breathe.

I clutch my hand to my throat - like that's going to help - and stagger down the stairs.  The lobby is empty.

Each breath feels like being stabbed with a serrated knife.  There's not enough oxygen reaching my brain. I don't know what's happening. I don't know what caused it. I definitely don't care.

I need air.

I struggle to the front door. Outside the sun is shining. It's a crisp Autumn day and the cold air will revive me.

I trip over the couch by the door. My sternum hits the arm and I gasp. Air rushes from my lungs, the world tilts and suddenly I can breathe.

I drag as much air into my lungs as possible. Leaning on the sofa arm helps me orient myself. The oxygen rush to my brain is exhilarating.  I slowly roll and collapse onto the couch.

A man's face fills my vision. With his nose almost pressed against mine, I can't help but see the rage in his eyes.  "You did this to yourself."

With gloved hands, he picks up both of my hands.  He wraps one of my hands around a paring knife and slowly forces me to slice across one wrist then switches hands. Weakened from the loss of air, stunned by his presence, I don't fight.

My hands drop to my lap, blood weeps onto my nightgown.

My gaze is glued to his, watching myself die in the reflection of his eyes.

He's right. I deserve this. I deserve worse.

I killed his son.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Barn dance

Andy spun Gwen through the dance floor in the middle of the barn.  It wasn't a livestock barn.  Used mostly to store antique cars and expensive convertibles, the barn doors were opened wide when Spring came and the cars left to purr down the country roads. Bales of hay were hauled inside, a small stage lined the back wall and the barn dances began.

Andy swung Gwen out for a twirl, dropped to one knee and brought her to rest there just as the song ended. Breathless with laughter, Gwen kissed him.  The other barn dancers whooped at their display.

Andy's hip gave out and they fell to the floor in a tangle of limbs. The hooting turned to concern but Gwen waved them off. She levered herself up with the finesse of the gymnast she'd been in her youth.  Andy struggled to his feet then took Gwen's hand. They bowed once to loud applause then moved back to the hay bale reserved just for them - the original owners of the 1945 Ford Coupe that Andy bought with his army severance cheque after the war.