Lament IV

By Attila Zønn

Ludy  kept a small shovel in the trunk of his Mercedes as part of an emergency kit.  I pulled his body out of the stream to the island, found a spot of soft earth and started digging. I felt confident that no one walking their dog would cross the fast flowing stream to this island—it’s always some guy walking his dog that discovers a body in the woods.

The sandy soil made it easy digging.

The afternoon wore into evening.

As I dug, I thought of the people that might have seen me with Ludy today. Big Barb and Daisy, but they saw me, not Ludy. And how would the cops know to come out here anyway? I thought of the Indian guy at the Shawarma Queen. But even there, how would the cops know to go there?  They’ll come to the shop. They’ll talk to all of us. They’ll come to me, but I can handle cops.  If you’re calm, and keep your mouth shut, they’ll never get you without a witness.

I dug with gusto, sweating, overheating, trying to beat the sunset. The deeper I dug, the harder the soil felt till I was no longer loosening shovel fulls of earth but chipping off chunks. I was three feet deep. I calculated that with Ludy’s fat body in the grave, he’d only be a foot and a half below the soil. It wasn’t enough but it had to be. I couldn’t dig anymore. It was at that moment that I felt I was being watched.

I looked to the left, to the right, I looked behind me. I followed the cliff face up to the top and  saw a boy and a girl watching me. The girl stood, the boy was crouched. The setting sun was behind them so the oncoming dusk obscured their features.

What now?

“Hey!” I yelled. The boy stood and they faced each other, then backed away and were gone.

I hurried up the slope, reached the top but there were no kids in sight. I walked to the car and found it undisturbed. What were they doing out here? I didn’t see any houses or any evidence that anybody lived out here in the brush. With no kids in sight, I walked to where I had seen them standing and looked down at the island. There they were. Already they had managed to get Ludy across the stream. Each had one of Ludy’s legs as they pulled him along the ground towards a cluster of trees.

“HEY!” I yelled . . .

Copyright©2021 by Attila Zønn