Free (Zombie) Fiction: When We Were Kids

“Remember when we were young and we used to walk on the stones in the stream?”

Brandon had asked that question as they walked along the very stream he spoke of. They were no longer kids and walking outside at any time during the day was more dangerous than ever before. Colby found that thought ironic, considering the state of the world before. 

“Yeah, I remember,” he said. “And when we got tired of walking on the stones, we tried to catch crawdads.”

Brandon laughed at that. It was a sound Colby hadn’t heard in a long while. He had heard screams and yells and crying from people as they died, ran, or ran then died or suffered from that thing called mourning when someone—or everyone—they loved was dead. Colby looked at his longtime friend and couldn’t help but smile. 

“What?” Brandon asked.

“You laughed. I haven’t heard laughter since …”

“Since Micah died,” Brandon finished.

“Yeah.”

They were silent for a few minutes as they walked the stream, coming up on the wide section a short footbridge spanned across. On the other side of the bridge was a path that led through a length of trees and then opened up into a park where no kids played anymore. Micah died at least a month earlier, but Colby could have never told you exactly when—time wasn’t measured in days and nights anymore, but in minute by minute. He closed his eyes, shook off the thought his only other friend who survived for longer than a couple of weeks when the world went to Hell. Boys

Brandon stopped. Colby looked back at his friend, at the deeply tanned skin, the hair much longer than it had ever been and in need of washing (like the rest of his body), his clothes covered in dirt, blood and who knew what else. He looked, as Colby thought everyone who was still alive probably looked, like the homeless of before. “What’s wrong, Brandon?”

“I wish we were kids again.” He stared at the water, at the stones they had walked across in another life. 

“Yeah. Me too.”

“Life was so much easier back then.”

“Everyone was still alive back then.”

“Yeah, that too.”

More silence followed, then ended when Brandon started for the water.

“What are you doing, man?”

“We can’t be kids again,” Brandon said. His green eyes seem to shine as he looked back at Colby. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t try to have a little fun. Heaven knows we could use some.”

With that said, he dropped his pack to the ground, his baseball bat landing beside it. He stepped from dry land onto one of the stones. It wobbled under his foot and Brandon shifted his weight to remain upright. His arms went out, his hands extended, making him look like a stationary airplane. His other foot went onto a flat stone that barely stuck out of the water. Brandon looked back at Colby with a smile that could have belonged to a six-year-old. “You coming?”

Though he knew it was dangerous—anything other than paying attention to one’s surroundings was these days—but Brandon was right. They needed some fun, needed something to make them feel less like the world was ending and more like they had a reason to continue living. 

Colby went to the edge of the stream, dropped his pack and the crowbar he kept in hand. The water was murky and brown and not like it was when they were kids, when you could see the bottom of the stream, the sediment, the rocks, water plants, minnows, and yes, crawdads. The water was cloudy. Though he could see the stones and the mud on them, he didn’t like that he couldn’t see much more than that. Still, he stepped on one of the rocks, pushed on it for good measure to make sure it was sturdy, then put all of his weight onto it. He found another stone, this one with a touch of green moss growing along the edges that stuck out of the water. Then he was stepping from that one to another one, his arms out very much like Brandon’s.

For a few minutes, Colby and Brandon, friends since the first grade, and possibly the last two people alive in their world, were kids again. They laughed. Their feet slipped from time to time, getting submerged in the water before they could get back on the stones. For a few minutes the world was right. 

Colby turned around when he heard the startled ‘whoa,’ from Brandon. He saw his friend’s arms pinwheeling, his eyes wide, as he tipped backward, his left foot slipping out from under him. He landed in the stream with a loud crash, water splashing up and coming back down. Then Brandon laughed. 

“DId you see that?” Brandon asked, still laughing. 

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, man. Nothing like being a kid ag—“

Brandon’s laughter came to a sudden stop. His mouth opened but he didn’t scream. From out of the water came his arm. 

Colby saw the blood before he heard Brandon finally scream. His forearm was missing a chunk of flesh and blood gushed from the wound. Behind Brandon came the corpse that had been hidden by the murky water. It’s bloated head lulled on it’s shoulders. The rest of its upper torso was waterlogged and the same shade of brown as the muddy stream water. It made no noises—the dead’s vocal chords died right along with their bodies. But it bit down on Brandon’s shoulder, sinking its sharp teeth through the wet shirt and pulling it’s head back, ripping cloth and flesh away. 

“No, no, no, no!” Colby yelled and forgot all about trying to stay on the stones. He ran and splashed his way to dry ground, scrambled up the embankment to where Brandon’s pack was. He picked up the aluminum baseball bat with the dented barrel and ran back to the stream. He waded in as Brandon tried to shove the corpse away, but shock and the sudden loss of a lot of blood made him sluggish and unable to pull free. 

A second corpse appeared from the woods. It wore a long sleeve work shirt and what Colby thought was a green pair of pants and heavy workbooks that didn’t seem to fit it’s withered feet. It didn’t so much as walk as it dragged it’s feet across the ground. Somehow, it didn’t fall. 

“No,” Colby whispered to himself as he ran into the water, the bat raised above his head. He brought the barrel down on the muddy corpse. Its head split open with a sickening pop. It fell back into the water, but didn’t sink right away. Colby turned to Mr. Work Clothes, knowing if he stopped to pull Brandon from the stream, he was as good as dead as well. 

Colby met the corpse near the edge of the water. He swung the bat at its knees and Mr. Work Clothes fell onto it’s side. The bat went above Colby’s head again and came down with all the force he could muster. The skull ruptured with a similar gross crack. One eyeball shot from its socket and landed in the water with a plop. Colby swung the bat down several times, screaming as he did so.

The bat slid from his hands when he turned back to the stream to see Brandon floating in the water, his face to the sky, eyes open and blank. Tears filled his eyes and the strength left him. Colby’s legs gave way and he crumpled to the ground, landing on the soft grass of the embankment. 

Colby cried for several minutes, his last friend in the world now dead and soon to be one of the walking corpses that had killed everyone in the world. 

Then, as if a sudden realization swept over him, Colby rolled onto his knees. He grabbed the bat and stood. “I can’t let him change.” His voice was hoarse from crying and his eyes were blurry and the lids puffy from the tears. He looked at the bat and shook his head. 

Colby didn’t cross the stream by hopping from stone to stone. He went to the bridge, crossed over the water and went to his pack. In the front pouch was the .22 and it was fully loaded. He dropped the bat, took the gun from the pack and took the slow and somehow very long walk (though it was only fifteen or so yards from where he stood to where Brandon floated) to the edge of the stream. 

He didn’t want to step back into the water. As he had feared, they didn’t pay attention to their surroundings and one of them ended up dead, and soon to be undead if Colby didn’t hurry. 

No other corpses came out of the water when Brandon fell in or when I splashed around.

The thought should have been reassuring, but it did little to calm his nerves or set his mind at ease as he stood on the embankment, staring. 

If you don’t hurry, he’s going to change and then you’ll really have issues, won’t you?

Issues was a nice way to put it. The freshly dead were faster, stronger and more limber than the stiffs that teetered on falling with each step they took. They were harder to put down—their skulls seemed harder, at least. No knife will do for the fresh ones. 

“Okay. I’m going.”

Colby stepped into the water, his nerves on edge, his head moving from side to side as he searched the water for anything that might move. At one point, his foot struck a submerged stick, dislodging it. It floated to the surface and Colby screamed, fired two shots at where he thought a head should be. When he saw it was a stick, he laughed nervously as his heart beat rapidly in his chest. 

“Get it together,” he said and waded through the stream. He reached into the water, grabbed the back of Brandon’s shirt and started back for dry ground. Once there, he started to slide his hands beneath Brandon’s armpits, then stopped. “All he would have to do is turn his head and then you’re as good as dead.”

Colby looked at the gun in his right hand, then down at his friend. He put the barrel to Brandon’s temple. “I’m sorry, buddy,” he said, closed his eyes and pulled the trigger. The bang sounded like an old party favor they would get as kids—a simple cork-like pop that seemed to echo in a world where noise had become almost obsolete. It was followed by the sound of something striking the water; the bullet, he thought. Brain and skull, as well.

Colby tucked the gun in the back of his belt and grabbed Brandon beneath the armpits. He pulled him to dry ground, then sat beside him.

“Hey, Brandon,” he said. “Do you remember when we dug that grave for Micah?” He nodded, knowing that Brandon didn’t remember. As a matter of fact, he didn’t remember anything at all, and he never would again. “Yeah, well, I’m going to dig another one, so, you know, don’t go anywhere. Okay?” Absentmindedly, he patted Brandon’s leg.

The crowbar was all he had to dig with. He used the claw end to loosen the ground and pulled the clumps out by hand. After what felt like hours, though it had been not even forty minutes, he had a shallow grave dug out right next to the stream, a place of their childhood, one that, at least Colby hoped, Brandon had found some joy and fun at before death claimed him. He pulled his friend’s body to the hole, careful to step into it and drag him along before setting him down gently. 

Covering the hole was easier and took far less time to finish. Colby covered his friend’s body from feet up, ending with his head. He stood, took the baseball bat and drove the barrel into the dirt near where Brandon’s chest was. 

“Rest in peace, my friend. I’ll never forget you.”

Colby took one last look at the grave before grabbing both his and Brandon’s packs and his crowbar and walking away from the stream toward the town they had avoided by following the water. As day gave way to night, Colby sought out refuge in the back of a car that would have been considered old in the before. The owner was long gone, but whoever it had been had left a blanket behind. Colby covered up and used the two packs as pillows. 

Colby closed his eyes, but before falling asleep he said, “Hey, Brandon, remember when we were teens and we took our girls to the old drive in movies in Monetta? Yeah, me too.”

AJB

2/25/2019

2/26/2019

Closing the Wound, The Final Chapter

[[~…life is just a highway, then the soul is just a car…~]]

If you’ve read this far, then I thank you, from the very top of my heart. I never understood why folks say ‘from the bottom of my heart’. To me it makes no sense. The bottom is where you bury things, where you hide the memories you don’t want to recall. The top… the top is where your thoughts and emotions truly lie.

And if you’ve come this far, take one step further with me. There’s one more order of business that needs to be taken care of.

[[~October 29th, 2011~]]

The afternoon was blustery with the wind blowing in. It had rained the night before, but by the time we made it out to the cemetery, the sun was up high and the day had warmed just a little, but not enough to keep the chill off the skin.

Chad was already there in his old Nissan pick-up. We pulled up on the same lane, got out of the car and looked around. It had been a few years since we had visited–too many, to be honest with you.

We had a bag with six tiny pumpkins in them. Catherine had two Ziplocs with a pumpkin in each. Those two had been carved out and a little light had been placed in each one. One of those lights was for Chris. The other one was for a little girl who died shortly after Catherine and I got married and before the conversation Chad and I had that led to this story.

“His grave is on a corner, near a tree,” Catherine said.

The cemetery is huge and finding someone’s grave in there without knowing exactly where it’s at is near impossible. The three of us walked in the wrong direction, looking at the markers in the ground. Somewhere along the line, Catherine turned back and went the other way. Turns out Chris’s grave was less than a hundred feet from where we parked, but in the opposite direction of the way we had originally walked.

Remember what I said about the memory being an interesting thing? Catherine thought his grave was one place and she was mostly right. It was on the corner and there was a tree just a couple feet from it.

[[Sidebar: When I was a teenager, there was a guy who resembled me. Or maybe I resembled him, since he was near two years older. We went to the same school and every once in a while I would get called to the office (and I assume he did as well) for something I had or had not done and/or something he had or had not done. I’m just going to call him J.W. for the sake of this story.

I found out that not too long ago J.W. passed away. I can’t remember how, but I want to say a car accident. I say not too long ago, but as of today, it’s been six years since his death.

While searching for Chris’s grave and before Catherine let me know she found it, I came across J.W.’s marker. It was kind of surreal. There I stood, in a cemetery looking for one person, but finding another–one that could have been my twin if twins were separated by years instead of minutes.

I stood there for a while, not really thinking, just staring down at his name, at the dates of birth and death. Then I moved on, the search continuing for the person I originally came to find, however J.W. wasn’t far from my mind the rest of the time there. End Sidebar.]]

We stood around Chris’s grave. Someone had put flowers on it. His Aunt Barbara, who had cared for him before he died, was buried beside him, her death coming nearly fifteen years after his. For a few minutes we said little, just stood there.

“So, how are we going to do this?” Chad asked.

Honestly, I didn’t know.

“With the candy,” Catherine said. I pulled out a Three Musketeers, gave Chad a bag of M&M’s and handed Catherine her Butter Finger. We opened our candy. Not that it matters, but Catherine dropped half of hers to the ground.

“To Chris,” I said, lifted my Three Musketeers in the air. We touched them together like you would wine glasses and then ate our candy. Chris was fond of the Halloween treats, so what better way to honor him, than by toasting him with our favorites?

For the next few minutes we talked about the events, what happened to Chris. I told them about the goodbye–THE GOODBYE–Chris had given the last time I saw him. I told them my theory on how things went down. Catherine made a good statement, in that it could have been a drug deal gone bad, that Christopher could have been the supplier and Chris the buyer and that Chris may have owed him money. We all know how dealers don’t like not getting paid for their goods.

Yes, that could be the way it happened.

But, that doesn’t explain the goodbye, the way he sounded, the handshake, the lack of a shrug of his shoulders. It doesn’t explain my gut feelings and it doesn’t change my mind.

We talked about suicide, the way I think things unfolded… things became impassioned. That’s a good thing.

Chad left a few minutes later and Catherine and I stood there a moment longer. We placed one of the lighted pumpkins on Chris’s grave, turned the light on. On his Aunt Barbara’s grave we placed one of the six tiny pumpkins.

For the next half hour or so we searched for the little girl who had died after our marriage. We never found her. Or any of the other folks interred there that we hoped to find. So, we did what we always do when visiting the deceased: we left pumpkins on the graves of others, of folks we didn’t know.

Why did we do that? I like to think that for those who had no flowers on their graves, that by leaving some or, in this case, leaving a small pumpkin, they would feel loved, that they would know they were thought of, even if just for a minute.

[[Sidebar: Before we left, I went to one more grave, this time it was J.W.’s. I placed my last pumpkin above his name, gave a nod, then made my way back to the car. Not, that this has anything to do with Chris’s story, but it was like saying hello to an old friend. Then saying goodbye within the same breath. End Sidebar.]]

Our respects paid to Chris and his aunt–a woman who I was told never got over Chris’s death–my wife and I left the cemetery and headed home. The day was still moderately young and there were things to do. That is the way of life, isn’t it? Someone dies, you greave for a while, then the wound begins to heal. Occasionally, you have to go back and pick at the scabs in order to make them heal better. So often after someone dies we go to the funerals and then move on with our lives. It’s the nature of the human being. If we didn’t move on we would be in an eternal state of depression and that’s not living, folks. After a while, you have to move on. There are things to be done, a life to live…

As for Meatloaf and that song, objects in the rearview mirror are always closer than they appear, even if those objects belong in the past. Again, that’s just the way life is. The trick is to not dwell on that past, to not let it get you down and hurt your heart to the point of drowning.

Now, it’s time to let that deep breath out. Let it go. Let it go.

Goodbye holds such finality to it.

So, to you, the reader, I say farewell until we meet again.

To Chris, we all miss you greatly.

Goodbye, my friend…

Closing the Wound Part V

[[~She used her body just like a bandage, she
used my body just like a wound.
I’ll probably never know where she disappeared
But I can see her rising up out of the back seat now
Just like an angel rising up from a tomb…~]]

Life has a way of moving on and for the most part, time does heal wounds. It just leaves scars behind to remind you that you were hurt.

There are no band-aids for death. Those wounds—mental, spiritual, emotional—they never completely go away. Sometimes a memory comes out of nowhere and your mind goes back to that time… that time where you were hurt deeply.

Like flipping through a portfolio of drawings.

I used to draw and paint and experiment with all sorts of imagery. I loved drawing comic book superheroes (and villains). Chris thought it was cool that I could draw Wolverine and Superman and Spiderman and a whole host of others.

“Can you teach me how to draw like that?” he asked me one Sunday before life took its downward spiral.

“Sure.”

And I did. Chris came to my house several times and we’d either sit at the kitchen table or at the picnic table in the back yard drawing. I showed him a few basics on using circles, squares, triangles and rectangles to frame out the characters’ bodies. All simple sketches that created the foundations of the actual pictures.

He got better as time went on. After meeting Christopher, Chris stopped drawing, or at least he stopped coming over for lessons.

While flipping through my portfolio—one my grandmother bought me when I was in high school and wanting to get into a local art school—looking at pictures I had drawn over the years I stumbled across a brown envelope, one I don’t recall putting in there.

I opened it and pulled out several drawings of a superhero, but this one I didn’t draw. They were signed by Chris. My skin tingled as if I had stuck my finger in a light socket. My breath caught and my chest tightened. I wiped my mouth.

The character on the images had a name that could be considered an omen if I had thought about it back when Chris died. His name: Funeral.

No crap. Really.

There were four images, but two of them stuck out. The one of Funeral with his mask pulled over his face, a cape apparently flapping in the wind. His hands were on his hips in that classic Superman stance. Chris had shaded a good chunk of the costume in grays and blacks. It was a good picture.

The second image was simply a casket. Not all that much of a sign you say? What if I told you the casket was closed? That’s right. The casket was closed.

Sometimes little things… little things bring those angels back from the tombs.

Like a picture.

A picture of four guys—two in their early twenties and two in their mid-teens–at a rest stop between Columbia and Charlotte on their way to Carowinds. They stand behind the snack machine bars as if they are prisoners in a slapstick comedy. Four young men, two of them with more in common than I guess they knew and the other two good friends at one time.

Who would have thought that image taken in the summer of 1995 would be the only image of the four of them together? It would also be the last time one of those four seemed genuinely happy with life, however short lived it was.

The picture disappeared long ago and I looked for it every once in a while when Chris came to mind. Then my dad gave it to me one day out of the blue. And memories… oh my goodness the memories that flooded me, that threatened to drown me. All these thoughts and sidebars and random whatevers and lyrics to songs and… and… and events that changed a lot of lives.

They are all things that I never forgot, but pushed way back to the recesses of my mind. They are in one of those books that normally sit on the shelf at the very top where no one else can reach it. But, there it is, sitting on the coffee table of my soul, the pages turning, the images all black and white and some of them a little grainy. If you flip the pages together starting from the beginning of the book, you’ll see the stop motion images play out in a cartoon-like movie. Isn’t that the way of memories?

It doesn’t take much to dislodge The Great Big Book of Memories from the highest shelf.

We live with those memories and we live with the deaths that happen in our lives. If we don’t, then we just die as well, but I’ve said that already. The dead are just that—dead. The living, however, are alive, unless they choose to never let go of the past.

Maybe that’s why I write this. That picture my dad gave me shook those cobwebs off that book of memories and opened up a little sadness that had passed years ago. I haven’t pulled out the images Chris drew. But, I did go back and read the original version of this story. So much was left out before that I tried to put into this one.

This is how I remember things and some may disagree with me on how events unfolded. That’s fine. To each their own and to those I say, have your memories. Again, this is how I recall things. Other folks may have had a different view, but they can tell their own stories, write their own words. This one belongs to me and I tell what I know, what I remember, what I feel…

There’s a lot of negative stuff in here–I’m quite aware of that. It is what it is. But, it’s not always that simple, is it? Chris was a good kid. I can’t stress that enough. Chris was a good kid. Understand that. Know that. Believe that. Like all teenagers, Chris searched for his place among his peers, among those he trusted and liked, among a world that wasn’t necessarily good to him. He and I had a lot of conversations in the course of the short time I knew him. A lot of them centered on that Laura girl I mentioned earlier.

Chris had a lot of questions about life, love, religion and why things happen. Many of those questions no one could answer for him, and to the same, no one can answer them for you. You have to live life to discover them on your own.

In an interesting turn of thoughts, sometimes you don’t realize how sad someone is until they are gone and you spend some time in solitary thought–just you and your mind. That’s when you notice things you missed before. The part of your mind that analyzes things until they are beaten into the ground takes over and you see things for what they were… or your mind tricks you into seeing things that weren’t necessarily there to start with.

I almost feel like Chris was doomed the day his momma gave birth to him. It’s bad to say that. The truth is so many people didn’t listen to him while he was alive. And now that he’s dead, they can still hear his voice…

I’m rambling. The thoughts are all scattered about and there is no real closure to something like this.

October is my favorite month of the year. The leaves are turning colors, the cool breeze is just that: cool. The mornings become nippy and my wife and I tend to snuggle a little closer under the blankets. Should I do one of those smiley face things here?

Halloween has long been my favorite ‘holiday.’ The creepy things, the horror movies, the scary shows, the cheesy songs, the Halloween theme, trick-or-treating and dressing up. I love everything about Halloween. The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is one of my all time favorite Halloween themed shows.

Halloween was also Chris’s favorite…

Maybe at some point this month, my wife and I and maybe even Chad can get to the cemetery and visit him. If we do so, I’d like to do something special. I’m not going to say what that is… just in case. But, if we do make it, I’ll let you know.

***
[[~But it was long ago, and it was far away
Oh God, it seems so very far;
and if life is just a highway, then the soul is just a car. And objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are…~]]

Before reading any further, I would like for you to consider opting out at this point. There is only one other thing that needs to be told, though the actual details of it are a bit sketchy at best.

You see, this story doesn’t have a happy ending. No, it has the type of ending so many senseless deaths have. One with more questions than answers and, really, only two people know the real answers to those questions. One of them is dead. The other one is in jail.

I intentionally left out this part because I felt there was no real need to go into detail with: Chris’s death. I did that because I only have the mixed up confessions of the last person to see him alive as the map to what happened and when it happened.

It was a suicide pact.

It was a drug deal gone bad.

Chris tried to kill Christopher… blah, blah, blah.

Why and how Chris died isn’t the important thing. His life is. Remembering him is.

However, there are those out there who will feel cheated for reading over ten thousand words of this story and not finding out how he died.

Before you read the next couple paragraphs understand something: most of this is speculation, simply because of the information given and where it came from. It is the information put together by word of mouth, the newspapers, the local news stations and the court proceedings that ultimately found Christopher guilty of Chris’s death.

The police searched for a couple days for Christopher. They found him at a friend’s house, a little disoriented, tired and hungry. That’s what happens when you’re on the run and you have no where to go and no way to get there. I’m not certain if the friend called the police to let them know of Christopher’s whereabouts or if the cops had just followed him until he sat still long enough to move in for the arrest. No need for two young adults to die, right?

I gather he was interrogated. With or without an attorney present, I don’t know. I’d like to think he was scared, terrified even. Yeah, that’s what I’m going to say.

His first confession was that it was a suicide pact. That Chris was supposed to shoot Christopher with a shotgun, then turn the gun on himself. But, when it came time to do it, Chris couldn’t pull the trigger, so Christopher did. The problem here is that Christopher then chickened out and instead of following through with the pact, he set the trailer on fire and fled.

He recanted that statement and said it was a drug deal gone bad and that he didn’t even pull the trigger. Someone else did. Then why wasn’t Christopher dead as well? And why couldn’t he give the name of the person who supposedly killed Chris? Fear? Hell, I’d think going to jail or possibly facing the death penalty would be scarier than giving the name of the dealer up, especially if that person could go to jail for a very long time.

He recanted that statement as well and said that Chris tried to kill Christopher, that they struggled and that ultimately Chris was killed.

Whatever.

Then he went back to his original statement, the suicide pact. Only this time he said it was Chris’s idea.

When all the information came out about what happened, I called bullshit on a lot of it. Chris told me he was getting away from Christopher. I believed him. I speculated that Chris told Christopher that he wanted nothing to do with him anymore and Christopher got mad about it. Do I think drugs were involved. It’s possible. But, I also thought that Christopher stood to lose a lot if Chris told anything to anyone about the drugs and wear they came from. In a panic, Christopher took the shotgun and took off part of Chris’s head before setting his body on fire to hide the evidence. That’s what I speculated then.

As I’ve thought about this over the last few weeks, I’m becoming more and more convinced that my speculation was wrong. My thinking has changed. Why?

Goodbye.

Goodbye is so final.

Chris told me goodbye that morning as if he knew–KNEW–that I would never see him again. At least not alive. I keep coming back to that. Do you understand? He said GOODBYE. If I’m completely honest with myself, I think I knew as well, though I might have thought he would run away and not come back. I never thought he would die…

As I’ve pondered this I’m closer and closer to believing that the two boys had a suicide pact. I’m not so certain that it was Chris’s idea. After all, he was a follower, not a leader. I also believe that it was more a murder/suicide pact where one would kill the other then turn the weapon on themselves. Chris wouldn’t have been able to follow through on this. Christopher would have been–or so he may have thought. I believe Christopher shot my friend in the head and the scene that played out in front of him as and after he pulled that trigger was so devastating that he couldn’t follow through. Panic probably set in for him–that Oh Shit factor that we’ve all experienced from time to time–and he had to do something with the body, but have you seen what a shotgun does to a person? There was a mess to clean up and Christopher didn’t have it in him to do that cleaning. Instead, he set Chris on fire and ran, hoping that by burning the body and the trailer that there would be no real evidence that a murder had taken place.

The problem with his thinking is that the fire department was quick to react to the phone call it received about a fire in Starmount. They were able to put the flames out before the trailer was completely burned down. And what they found inside was the body of a teenage boy, shot to death and burned.

There you have it. The somewhat inaccurate/accurate portrayal of the death of a friend. I only wrote this part for those who wanted to know, who would have been angry to not find out, who would have bitched and moaned and groaned about me wasting their time and not giving out the details of the murder/suicide or whatever it was.

I write. I paint pictures for readers by using words and showing them what I see in my head. I give them scenery and try to build characters and try to create situations for my characters to figure out and I let them figure out how to deal with it. But, I’m not painting this picture any more than what I have in these last few paragraphs. If you can picture the scene, go right ahead. I, personally, don’t want to see it anymore than my mind will allow…

There is one final piece to this story, one final thing that needs to be told. Until tomorrow…