It must have been at that precise moment that i had ventured back from the abyss that was my absolute breaking point, and realized that what I had done was irreversible, it was permanent and final. My hands seemed to be purple from lack of blood flow through them. As I slowly unhanded my target of red primal rage, the body lifelessly slipped onto the cold tile floor, there was a slight thud. I reached down and checked for a pulse, but there wasn’t one, quickly I stood to my feet, my knees creaked in rebellion against my hasty decision. As I cursed the day I was born, the victim sprawled beneath me stared at me in ashen death white, my hand prints, once red around the victims neck now turned brutal shades of black, purple, and black.
With reality slowly seeping in, the pangs of «fight vs flight» now kicked in, what should I do? Should I do the right thing, and notify the police? Or should I wrap the cold and lifeless body in a shower curtain, put it in the trunk, drive it to an undisclosed location and dispose of it? I felt dizzy and nauseous; the thoughts of what to do swam through my brain, seemingly at the sickening speed of light. But the decision came to me at a rapid clip, and I became no longer felt frightened but cold and methodical. I ran upstairs ripped off the shower curtain, I sped back down stairs like a man possessed, and spread the damp navy blue shower curtain across the kitchen floor. On impulse I then rolled the body into the plastic confines of the curtain.
Fumbling through the kitchen drawers, I located a large gray roll of duct tape in which I hastily proceeded to wrap the shower curtains lifeless contents up. Starting with the feet, four wraps with tape and sliced through it with my pocket knife; I repeated the process around the victim’s torso and neck, until the package was bundled firm and secure. I then drug the weighty package to the back door, where I usually kept my ATV parked. The head of the corpse made a dull thud as I cleared it over the doors flood guard.
As the body lies in wait, I quickly unlocked the trunk. The night was starless and there was a nip in the cool crisp air, the fall season was well upon the land. Even though the air was chilled and my every breath frosted, I still managed to sweat profusely, was it due to the guilt of what I had done or the physicality of what I have done? I came to the inevitable conclusion that it must have been a bit of both. After a few deep breaths I carefully loaded the body into the ATV and gathered my supplies, a flashlight, shovel, and a red plastic container of gasoline. My lighter was in the front left hand side pocket, where it usually stayed tucked into the cigarette box. With everything now loaded, I sauntered over to the ATV’s driver’s side, climbed in, belted up, and sped off into the emotionless night, one big bundle of nerves and adrenaline combined.
It was a Monday morning at about 1:15 am, the streets were worse for ware and as the vehicle danced and swayed from the myriad of loose gravel and shallow potholes. I could swear that on occasion, that I could sometimes hear the body in the trunk, slide ever so slightly from side to side, in a vengeful haunting protest. The traffic on my chosen rout of travel was next to nothing, with the exception of the occasional semi-truck or automobile, this was of course a since of great relive to myself. It gave me great comfort to know that the gruesome task was not only over and done with, but also that I was sheltered by the darkness of a clouded starless and moonless night.
Not long after my voyage started, it seemed as if hours had now passed between my point of origin and my terminus point. I nervously peered at the digital clock on the ATV’s radio panel, only to find myself relived to know that it was only 2:20 am, my destination was now only moments away. My mind once again switched into overdrive as I rounded the last curve off the main highway and onto the tiny, uninhabited forest concealed lane where I would lye the body of my poor victim to rest for all eternity. Spotting the perfect clearing in the otherwise predominantly tree and brush covered forest, I pulled off the trail, quickly I parked the vehicle and flung open the door. I bolted to the trunk, opened it, and threw all my supplies on the small forest clearing floor. I drug the body out of the vehicle, and off to the Spanish moss covered ground.
With the shovel now tightly clutched in my pale sweaty hands, I now began to dig the grave, off in the distance a wolf howled. By the time I was finished with what must have been a four foot grave, the dull rumble of thunder could now be heard, undeterred I leaped out of the shallow grave like a man possessed. As I drug the corpse to the grave, twigs snapped underneath my feet, while dead oak leaves and pine needles shuffled in the concoction of dirt and Spanish moss laden ground. Stopping at the mouth of the grave , I decided to take one last look at the deceased before into the cold grasp of mother earth it was flung. I took out my pocket knife and carefully lifted the shower curtain up making an incision in it. With my quivering hands I ripped the curtain until the victims face was visible.
When I gaze down upon my victims face, I felt an electric light jolt consumed my entire body, instantaneously I recoiled. The back of my heels must have been caught by a tree root or small pot hole in the ground. I quickly rebound from the soft forest floor and slowly made my way up to the corpse once again, in horror I gazed down at the face. The face that somehow looked just like mine. Instinctively a yell broke from my lips; composing myself I saw that the corpse was a spitting image of me. The same nose, mouth medium brown hair hair color, body frame, head and face shape. Gasping for air I quickly took the shovel and gave the corpse a few good whacks with it. Once in the face and a few more around the torso area.
As I pushed the corpse into the grave, it landed with a might thud, somehow it managed to land face up ! The corpse seemed to be smiling at me! Quickly I took the red plastic gas container, poured the entire contents onto the dead body and grabbed some foliage from the Forest floor. A few feet away I spotted on a mound of moss my pack of cigarettes. Grabbing them I flicked the lid open, luckily my lighter was still in sight. I then lit the dry foliage, rapidly it set ablaze. I wasted no time hurling it into the grave. The corpse burst into flames and there was a blood curdling scream, I thought at first it was me, but then I realized that I was too much in a state of shock to speak, much less scream.
I gathered more decaying straw, small branches; leaves and whatever would burn and tossed it into the grave. The flames rose higher and what I had thought to be the corpses screams ceased to be. I must have been knocked unconscious from behind or blacked out. I awoke moments later to the sound of a shovel scraping, and the feeling of cool earth against my very own flesh. I felt the uneasy since of claustrophobia settle in and attempted to cry out, with a new found sense of urgency. No one came to my aide, the earth encased me, and everything went into a permanent trail of blackness.
© L. Wayne Russell
Photo © Weegee/International Center of Photography. Inspecting trunk that contained body of William Hessler, who had been stabbed to death, Brooklyn, August 5, 1936.
Wayne has been dabbling with creative writing since childhood, however only started taking the craft more seriously in early adulthood.Wayne’s muse has been published in The Rattle Snake Press, 10 K Poets, Harbingers Asylum, and Rolling Thunder Press, among others. Wayne can be reached on his Face Book page at the following link. https://www.facebook.com/wayne.russell.378