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, angled pell-mell. 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. Continue reading “Ordinary Handsome: Driving in shadows”
When he tripped over what appeared to be a ribcage, Ricky clutched his Nikon close to his chest. He saw the bones and wondered if a ground angle shot would work best. Maybe a shallow focus. The light was thin and the shadows were heavy, but….
And then he realized these were human bones. His first thought was that he had discovered a deer carcass. Up close and at ground level, he understood.
A few feet away, there were even more bones: a femur, a dissevered pelvis, a skull. The skull had been shattered, and the remaining bones were weathered and splintered, stained an ugly corrosive brown. They were scraped and punctured by teeth. The ground around him was a makeshift burial circle.
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It took us about twenty minutes to find a decent place. The ground was flat and hard, but it yielded to a shovel without too much effort. There was a circle of old pines surrounding the spot. You can tell the strength of soil by the strength of the trees that have set their roots. Not even a heavy rain was going to wash away the dirt.
I pointed the flashlight at Kincaid’s shoes. Were you planning to dig a hole wearing wingtips, I asked. My temper was not soft, and it was firming up every minute I had to spend with him. Continue reading “Digging”
He hitched his pants. They were too big and baggy on his lean frame. Then he rubbed his hands on his knees. I couldn’t tell if he was trying to clean his hands or wipe off the flakes of dried blood from his pants. He moved slowly, like he was in a trance. All the crazy energy he had when I drove up was gone. Continue reading “A Shooting”
Among all my other tools, I kept a fifty-pound bag of lime and an empty coffee can in the back of the Jeep. Nobody would pay any mind to it, since there were a lot of dirt basements in Handsome. After a rain like this, the dampness stunk up houses and clouded backyards with septic overflows.
I needed to keep Jackson as fresh as I could. I’d sprinkle it over him like pepper in a soup pot. It helped, but only a little. Continue reading “Ordinary Handsome: Preparation”
What Jack didn’t understand about LuAnne was her stubborn streak. He may have understood a little about her pride and arrogance, but the brute determination to be right was beyond him. He could be soft and compromising in just about everything (particularly his wedding vows), but he couldn’t see past the woman who exchanged gossip with other like-minded women. He thought it was a grubby little hobby, but to LuAnne, it was a means to stay on top of the lonely and petty women she called friends. Set-backs were nothing but opportunities waiting to bloom. Continue reading “Branchwater – Disposal, part 2”