tossed the shovel aside. He was
finally finished. He hadn’t planned on being in the field all morning, but he
couldn’t stop until the hole was at least four feet deep.
He climbed out and rolled over onto his back, completely out of
breath. The trees may have blocked the road, but they provided little shelter
from the sun. With no clouds in the sky, its blinding light had burned his skin.
He didn’t care; he needed to rest, even if for just a few minutes.
was still sinking in. Ashley was
David must have been in horrible pain, probably sitting in the
attic smoking a cigarette hoping his parents wouldn’t notice. Maybe listening
to some 90’s grunge music or 70’s acid rock. It didn’t matter. What was done
Kurt sat up and reached into his pocket for his own pack of
cigarettes, wondering if David could even appreciate the enormity of the favor
he was doing for him.
He left the shovel lying and walked back to his car. He finished
the cigarette and crushed it out on the ground as he took the keys out of his
pocket. Fighting the trembling, he inserted the key into the lock.
The trunk popped open and Kurt looked at the burlap sack inside.
He hesitated, hoping that he could talk himself out of uncovering her face, but
he couldn’t avoid it. He uncovered just enough of Ashley to see her eyes;
stopping before he could see the slit across her neck.
He could see her pleading for her life; crying and begging,
unable to understand why she had to die.
He looked away, and then covered her back up. The knife was
there too, in a plastic bag next to her body. He put it in his back pocket.
“One...two...three,” he lifted in one breath, trying his
damnedest not to let her slip. He started down the hundred-yard trek to the
hole, almost breaking out into a jog, afraid that if he stopped moving he
wouldn’t be able start up again. He skidded to a halt as he reached the hole,
allowing the momentum to take Ashley forward as he threw her in, almost falling
in himself. He collapsed and launched a fit of coughing.
he was crying, he wouldn’t admit it
to himself; there was too much work left to do. He picked up the shovel and
started scooping dirt over her body. Not enough time had passed for the sun to
start creeping behind the trees. The back of his neck started to blister and
sweat dripped from every pore on his body. But he kept scooping the dirt.
some point, Kurt realized that he could
no longer see the burlap sack. The realization of what he was doing was finally
starting to sink in. Just a few hours ago, Ashley was alive. Probably laughing
and watching reality shows on TLC. Now she was stuffed in burlap sack under
four feet of dirt.
the dirt was back in the hole
where it belonged, Kurt flattened as much as he could with the head of the
shovel, and then found enough branches to cover up the mound.
else is left?” he asked himself,
picking up the knife. “The clothes.”
walking back to the car to
retrieve the clothing that was stained with Ashley’s blood, he walked over to a
small pond not too far away from the grave. He aimed for the center of the pond
and threw the knife. It made a perfect landing.
himself for taking so long to
finish and forgetting to grab the clothes earlier, he went back to the trunk of
the car and took the duffle bag from the back seat. “Time for another smoke,”
he said and lit one. He saw the cigarette butt left over from his previous one,
picked it up, and put it in his pocket.
returned to the lake and opened the
duffle bag. Inside with the bloody clothing was a bottle of lighter fluid. He
lit it up and waited until the bag was sufficiently burnt, then tossed its
remains into the lake.
walked back to the makeshift
gravesite and said goodbye to Ashley one last time. “I’m sorry this had to
happen, Ashley.” Bowing his head, he said a short prayer.
The front door to the house was unlocked. Kurt went in and then
walked to David's room. "It's over."
"Good," David said, without looking up from his
Kurt lingered at the doorway for moment, then asked, "Why
did you kill her?"
That time David did look up from his phone. "Let me ask you
something. Did you love her?"
David chucked. "It's okay. She's dead. No hard
"I don't under--"
"Serious. No hard feelings. Not anymore."
David waved him off. "Hey, let me ask you something else.
When you were burying her, did you remember to turn off the deer cam?"
Kurt blinked. "What are you talking about?"
"You know, the motion sensor. Uh, yeah, maybe I forgot to
tell you about that. I was probably too preoccupied with the fact that my best
friend was fucking my girlfriend."
"You...you knew?" Kurt asked.
David held up his phone. "Check it out. There you are,
burying her body. It was so easy to send the video to the police. They're
actually on the way right now."
David shrugged. "Sorry, dude. I forwarded the video and
texted 911 when you got here. You probably don't have a lot of time."
Kurt turned to flee as he heard
the sirens approaching.
short stories have
appeared in over twenty-five markets, including Devilfish Review and Mad
Scientist Journal. His YA novel, Holy
Fudgesicles, was published in 2015 by Wings ePress. In addition to his own
writing, he is the owner and editor of Theme
of Absence, an online magazine of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. He
also runs WriteGoodBooks.com, a blog and podcast for new and aspiring writers.