Slipping away

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It’s still dark, and there’s still a dead body in the back of the pickup. We have to do something before sunup, and time’s running out. Time is greasy and melting like candle wax. The lines on the road are skewed, faded and wildly uneven. The sky is a thunderous canopy, blackened and bruised and moving like smoke. The wind smells sour and wet, and the road looks hand-drawn. Tree branches are too close and too low to the truck, and they scrape against the sides, sounding like scratched tinfoil.

I don’t see anything clearly in the truck bed, just heaps of old branches and the shape of a man wrapped in a dirty robe, his face obscured by deep shadows.

I have someone coming to take a look at it, he said. I turn my head, but there’s no one with me; voices sliding through the night.

And then the dead man sat up, and Vernon Kincaid planted a shovel into his rotting leg, and the sound was a screech, metal against dead bone.

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