NOTE: Today ONLY, Jan 9th, you can download the Kindle ebook The Divorce and Doom of Simon Pastor for FREE. Enjoy!
“Aunt Jess, why is my mom crying?”
“Just go back to the living room, RJ. Watch some tv or something.” Jess said, pushing the boy out of sight.
“Mary, don’t get so upset. He’s not going to be in trouble. Didn’t he just call to say that they’re finally releasing him after all these weeks?”
Just then the two women heard the garage door motor hum. Mary started bawling again. RJ slunk deeper into the couch. A car door slammed and the door to the laundry room opened cautiously.
“HOW COULD YOU!” Mary screamed, running up to Rick. “How could you?”
Rick put up no defense to the slap that shocked him with its violence. Eyes closed and head unmoving, he left his cheek exposed as he waited with uncertainty for her next move.
After what seemed like an eternity without noise, he first peeked out of his left eye before opening them both. He watched her run off in tears back to the kitchen with Jess. As he entered the kitchen, he saw Jess pull back from her embrace with the crying Mary and join RJ in the living room.
Mary turned to the cabinets and began to open them as if searching for something. She balked and then straightened up. Next she pulled a stack of plates out and dropped them to the ground. And another. Then she just reached her entire left arm in and swept the bowls out. And the salad plates. Another cabinet open, another set of dishes dashed against the tile. Rick pursed his lips as he tried not to cry.
Finally, he said, “Mary. Oh Mary.” Emotion overcame him and he looked away.
Unable to speak, he bent down and began to pick up the pieces.
“Not a hatchet–an actual ax.”
“Oh. I had heard he used a hatchet. Picturing Mark swinging an ax is even more difficult.”
“Yeah, well he loved Rebecca.”
“Really? You’re saying it’s okay to do what he did because he loved her? I’m not saying the killer should be walking around, but there is a little thing called rule of law. He should’ve had his day in court.”
“Please. You know as well as I do that the system is broken, especially in this case. They gave up.”
“Fine. Either way, I can’t believe it.”
“I know. Apparently when the police told him the trail went cold, Mark just quit his job, sold a bunch of stuff, and secretly tracked down that mother fucker. Search and destroy.”
“I meant that I can’t believe he turned himself in.”
“Really. Now he’s probably going to prison. He had essentially gotten away with murder. And then he turns himself in. It doesn’t make sense.”
“No, it doesn’t. Have you talked to Rick much?”
“Yeah, me neither.”
“Mark called me that morning to ask if I’d help him.”
“I guess he learned pretty quickly who his real friend was.”
“I just have the wife and kids, you know? I can’t get involved in something like unearthing a dead body.”
“You’re right. You are right.”
“Everyone’s saying Rick is something special for risking everything to help Mark though.”
“I’ve heard the same talk.”
“Well, what can you do?”
“Not much anyone can do at this point.”
“Not at this point.”
“Are you sure you want to do this,” Rick began, anxiously. “No one even knows he’s gone.”
Mark just stood there, his hand outstretched and holding a shovel.
“Okay,” Rick said, taking the shovel. “Okay. I said I’d help. So I’m helping,” he said, still talking himself into his decision.
Mark reached into the trunk for a second shovel. He slammed the trunk shut and the men began to walk into the woods.
“How far is it?” asked Rick, turning back to see the car fade from view.
“At least I have my comfortable boots on,” Rick said, trying to make the best of it. “Aw shit,” he said, stepping calf deep into an unexpected puddle.
Mark just rolled his eyes.
Shaking his leg, Rick hurriedly returned to Mark’s side, more worried about the setting sun than a wet boot. He looked around them and noticed the trees were thinning out. About to comment on this, he bumped into Mark who had stopped.
Unaffected, Mark said, “It’s here.”
“Here? Right here? How do you know?”
“Whelp, I guess it’s time to dig,” Rick said as his shovel slid into the earth.
“I guess it is.”
Sweating and feeling like they were making no progress, Rick said, “Jesus, Mark. How deep did you bury him? Are you sure we’re in the right spot?”
Just then Mark struck an object.
“Finally,” said Rick. Without Mark’s cool exterior, Rick would have been terrified to be this deep into the woods at night. “Are you sure you want to go through with this?” he asked.
It took everything the two men had to lift the box from the hole, but they did.
As Mark pulled up on his handle, Rick asked, “Aren’t we going to fill in the hole?”
“Nope. They’re going to want to see where he was for themselves.”
Mark began, “Rick-”
“Thanks again for doing this. All the others refused. You’re the only one who understood.”
“You’re welcome. But really, it’s nothing. Everyone can see that you’re a different man since Rebecca was-” Rick stopped himself.
“Sorry. I won’t. But yes, you’re welcome.”
Rick struggled to square the box alongside the car as Mark called the police.