Manslaughterer – Chapter Six

Britain to leave the EU. Trump to be President. Will the concluding chapter to this story bring an even bigger surprise? Find out below….

With notable lethargy Rick fumbled through the front door of Russell’s house and sat at the bottom of the stairs a few feet from the door. His body gave way to a slight tilt and his head rested with weight on the oak bannister. He’d been awake most of the last forty-eight hours but it was the anxiety that pushed his head to the wood. Russell followed him in shortly after, his step immeasurably lighter, unburdened by the considerations of the future that plagued Rick. Upon closing the door Russell bent down and gathered the day’s mail from the haphazard pile on the floor. The usual collection of bills and pamphlets with one exception. A letter in a pink envelope, scented with something faint and alluring. It was absent of an address or stamp, evidence of its delivery by hand. With the vigour of a small child at Christmas, Russell tore through the envelope to reveal what was hidden inside. A single A4 piece of paper, folded twice, sat blank in Russell’s hand. Blank except for a single line of text handwritten at the top and a faded paw print, pressed in ink at the bottom. The text read:

We got your message. Meet us at the abandoned Nexaco warehouse. If you don’t know where it is, find it.

As Russell read the message aloud Rick’s head parted from the bannister, a worried yet curious frown began to show on his face.

“Who sent you that?”

“I have no idea…”

“You’ve never got anything like it before?”

“I get letters everyday Rick, just like mo-“

“I meant letters like that! Have you ever got a letter like that one?”

“No.” Rick stood up from the foot of the stairs and leant with one hand on the adjacent wall. The silence that accompanied this moment was broken when Rick turned from the wall and returned his gaze to Russell.

“It has to be about Jeff.”

“Why?”

“Because coincidences like this don’t happen. But I don’t understand about the message, when and to who did we send a message?”

“Maybe it was by trying to kill Jeff?”

“That does seem the most likely but it’s not really a message. Unless the message they took from it is that we want Jeff dead.”

“Yeah. That.”

“Does the message have a time on it?”

“Not that I can see.”

“Let’s go now then.”

“Ok but do we want Jeff dead?”

“Do you really think he’ll stay quiet for the rest of his life? I’m not taking that chance.”

The roads out this side of town were worn and neglected. The erratic effect this had on the suspension of Rick’s aged Acura TSX mirrored perfectly the panicked nature of his and Russell’s heartbeat. Their journey was filled with a back and forth of questions all of which led to no destination. A single line in a single letter had led them here. A faint hope that this was the solution and the end to their ordeal. They pulled into the industrial estate that housed the abandoned Nexaco warehouse. Not much else stood here. Three unattached trailers missing their trucks lay to the east and a rust-laden water tank dwelled in the west. Sitting indecisively between them was the warehouse. Windows boarded, branding smeared. All but one entrance was dressed in chains and padlocked. The west side door remained ajar, its dressing of chains slumped on the floor alongside a pair of bolt cutters. Rick eased the car to a stop behind the water tank, out of sight of the road. He then ushered his gaze from the steering wheel over to Russell, who was holding ‘MC Hammer’ with a tightness of grip they both wished they had on the currently unfolding events, and said “shall we?” They both exited the car with feigned confidence, their surroundings firmly harboured in their awareness. It was a quiet part of town, if it could even be consider part of town, with the only sound being the drone of a nearby highway. Only the occasional pickup truck bearing a family’s supply of firewood would disturb the peace of the immediate vicinity. In spite of this the two of them moved with haste towards west side door. Arriving at it they carefully slid the fallen chains out of the path of door and opened it fully. They went inside.

The darkness of the warehouse, of which the light switch placed beside the entrance provided no sanctuary, was overwhelming. It masked a large majority of the inside, only subsiding in the few places where rays of sunshine fought through the boarded windows. The air was dank and thick, the rancid smell belied the emptiness of the warehouse. “Hello?” Rick called out. The echo to which was the only response. “Go over there and try to find a working light switch, I’ll check over here. If there’s no one here we’ll just have wait.” They headed off in different directions and it was not long before the dark obscured them from each other’s vision. Starting at one end of the north wall, Rick scoured his eyes over every steel shelf, every work bench, every wall cabinet. All that populated them were a mass of rusty tools, empty paint cans and other things that would be at home, unused in a garden shed. Getting to the other end of the wall took Rick time and it bore no fruit as his hope for any source of light dwindled away to the point where it had almost vanished. It was at that point he reached a large lever-style switch with a thick wire climbing up from it towards the ceiling. “I’ve found a switch!” Rick shouted out into the darkness yet from the darkness, no reply came. “Russell?!” This time a reply came but in the sound of a metal object falling to the floor. The sound rang throughout the warehouse making its already immense size seem infinite. Immediately after, one of the beams of light from the boarded windows was broken by a shape that disappeared as soon as it was seen. One final call “Russell?! What are you doing?!” was the last thing Rick remembered.

His return to consciousness was accompanied by the touch of something light and coarse brushing across his face. This was sharply contrasted by the blunt force of the fist that followed. His head rocked back and vacantly gazed at the now present light coming from the ceiling. As his head returned to its natural position, thick blood dripped from his mouth. The blood’s destination was an object perched on Rick’s lap. A ball of string. Formerly white, it now resembled a globe with countries marked in red. More disturbingly, however, were his fellow occupants of the warehouse. In front of him stood a group of cats or, more accurately, a group of people dressed as cats. An assortment of vibrant pastel and fluorescent costumes juxtapositioned with the industrial weapons hanging by their side.

“Wake up.” The evident leader of the group’s voice was cleared of any diction by the mask he wore. The angled length of pipe that rest atop his shoulder swung down to his side as he approached Rick. He grabbed Rick’s chin, checked his eyes for cognisance and then grabbed the ball of string before heading back to his position at the front of his group. “Why do you challenge us?”

“Challenge wha- What the fuck are you?!?” Rick finally managed to break silence but the words were yet to flow with the same ease as the blood.
The leader laughed a slow laugh.

“You cannot rescind a challenge just because you have been caught.”

“I seriously don’t know what you’re talking abo-“

“DO NOT PLAY COY WITH ME!” His voice was a sudden eruption that echoed around the room.

“Two nights ago, you were seen leaving THIS ball of string on our turf, therefore challenging us for that turf.”

“This is crazy, you’ve got it all wrong.”

“Is that so?”

“Yeah, yeah. Just let me explain.” The leader swung the pipe around, testing its weight.

“We are not known for our mercy. For good reason. However, I would like the entertainment of watching you try and talk you way out of this. So, Rick, please, tell us how you mistakenly challenged a gang of Furries.”

“Furries?! That’s what you are?! I thought Furries just fucked in costumes?”

“We’re aware of the public perception of us. It only describes the surface. Do you no longer wish to explain yourself?”

“Sorry, I’ll start.” Rick recounted the events of that night, not a single detail amiss. It drained him, both of energy and hope. For the first time the precariousness of the situation hit him. He’d escaped one sentence into the jaws of one far worse. During the course of Rick’s story, the leader had been brought a chair in which he now sat. One hand sat on the angled pipe and the other supported his head.

“I liked it” he said, rising from the chair, the pip returning to its origin on his shoulder. “But I did say earlier that we are not known for our mercy. Regardless of whether you intended the challenge, the fact is the challenge was made and we must respond.”

Rick, seeing no reprieve, bowed his head in acceptance. His thoughts raced back to the moment he accepted Russell’s request for help. Jolted to speech he asked “where’s Russell?” his question was met by silent staring. “At least let him go, he’s just an idiot.”

“It’s a little late for that.” The words held the leader’s hidden command as two others moved forwards to either side of Rick. With ease they lifted his chair and turned him one-hundred-and-eighty degrees. Now he stared directly into what used to be Russell’s face, the dripping remnants of his childhood friend. His body slumped and tied to a chair. Rick cried softly as a hand squeezed his shoulder, then progressed up his neck, nestling in his hair, pulling his head back, hard. At the moment Rick expected the knife, he was instead deafened by explosions. The room now appeared infinite, blinding white light stretched out omnidirectionally. As the room came back into view Rick could only see what was transpiring due to his chair lying flush on the floor, his head tilted back, viewing the scene upside down. Half the Furries lay bloody and dead, the others scurrying in disarray, being picked off one by one, bullets passing through their skulls meeting no resistance. They all fell. The bodies strewn across the warehouse floor. Men in tactical gear then converged on Rick. The first to arrive above him looked down with a wry smile, he peeled off his goggles and removed his helmet, the policeman from the hospital wiped the beads of sweat off his head and spoke.

“I think it’s time to discuss ongoing investigations.”

Rick sat dirty and despondent in the police interrogation room as a procession of officers interchanged in a blur. The end of this procession was marked by the return of the policeman from the hospital. He started talking at Rick.

“Who’d have thought months of tracking that gang would’ve led to you. We saw them post that letter at Russell’s home and needless to say, we read it. Then we had to move quick. We got to the warehouse before anyone else and bugged it. I’ll get to the point. We have your whole confession on tape so feel free to sit there in silence because this investigation is over. You’re done.”

Manslaughterer – Chapter Five

“Jeffery!” Jeff’s Mum was pouring over the bed clinging to her sons arm.
“How is he?!” she directed her question towards the doctor.
“We’re still doing tests. He’s lucky, it could have been worse.” The doctor who’d come to do his rounds in what he was expecting to be an empty room had been standing there in a constant state of perplexity as he continued “There really shouldn’t be this many peop…” he was cut off by an excessive howl from Jeff’s mother. A man walked from the group up to the bed, Rick assumed it must have been Jeff’s father.
“We’re going to find the bastards that did this to you Jeffery.” there was a noise of agreement from the group of family members standing by the door “bastards” one of the chimed in with.
“Bastards.” said Russell who seemingly just wanted to join in.
“Who are you?” Jeff’s father asked of Russell who sheepishly looked at Rick for help.
“That’s Russell and I’m Rick…” the father looked at Rick then back to Russell who was holding out a cookie the nurse had given him with his coffee.
“Cookie?” he offered. The father, clearly confused accepted the offering and was about to enquire about them further but was interrupted by the Doctor, who was becoming annoyed with the situation.
“I must insist that everyone…” he was once again cut off by another howl from Jeff’s mother who, still leaning over the bed gripping on to her son for grim life seemed to be enjoying all the attention the crowded room was giving her. The father had just noticed the police officer standing uncomfortably in the middle of the room.
“Are there any suspects?”
“I can’t discuss on going investigations”
Russell was squirming in his boots, all the talk of finding the culprit was clearly making him uncomfortable.
“You can’t talk about ongoing investigations.” it was said with an air of sarcasm and was Russell’s attempt to end the discussion, however it only succeeded in drawing attention to himself.
“I’m sorry, who are you?” the father had turned to him again was keen to probe the issue further. Russell gave him a blank look as if to say ‘how have you forgotten?’
“Uh I’m Russell? I just gave you a cookie.”
Rick, who had actually just understood the question butted in.
“We’re Jeff’s friends, when we heard what had happened we came here to make sure he was okay.” he paused as he realised the opportunity for them to make their escape.
“And now we’ve seen that he’s fine…” he looked down at Jeff whose eyes seemed as though they were swimming around his skull and was muttering to himself about how he liked turtles, “we’ll be on our way.”
The two of them squeezed their way through the gaggle of family members and reached the door. They were passing through as Russell turned around and waved.
“Bye, Jeff!” perhaps surprisingly Jeff looked up with a big smile and waved back. The unassuming lack of mental acuteness these two possessed would be endearing if it weren’t so worrying. The police officer had helpfully lost interest in Rick and Russell as he was being hounded by questions from the group that still filled the room.
They made it downstairs, exited the hospital and began a walk, which turned into a run towards the car. Closing the car doors behind them they sat pondering over what had happened.
“Well, then,” chirped Russell cheerfully, “that’s that taken care of”.
“How?”
“He said he wouldn’t say anything.”
“You believe that?”
“Sure.” Russell sat with a smile on his face, he clearly did believe it. Rick wasn’t so credulous, but what else could they do about it now? The events of the last 48 hours swirled around Rick’s head. The apprehension of being caught was starting to dissipate with a lack of sleep, the worry that had plagued him was slowly being replaced with a kind of apathetic lethargy.
“So?” Russell’s question shook Rick from his languid state. The truth was he didn’t know how to answer him, all he knew was that somehow they had to put an end this.

Manslaughterer – Chapter Four

Here is Chapter Four! Remember to come back next week as the story continues!

“Russell?” The man in the bed’s eyes stared at Russell narrowly avoiding eye contact. Not an intentional avoidance, more a forgivable result of being shot in the head. “You shot me.” Russell looked at Rick, then back at Jeff. He moved a few steps towards Jeff and sized up the blood stained bandage occupying the space above his left eye. Russell reached out his hand and started to poke the bandage. “What are you doing?” Jeff asked, his eyes becoming more crossed with each dab of the finger.

“How are you still alive?” Russell’s question carried the same naive wonder as a child asking how a plane flies.

“The bullet missed the brain ventricles and was confined to the left side limiting damage to minor language and speech functions.” Said Rick in dismay to room filled with disbelief. “His medical chart is on the end of his bed.”

The following silence was broken by Jeff “Can you get the policeman at the door, I need to tell him that Russell shot me.” There was no threatening overtone to the question, just a genuine request and it was at this point that Rick realised Jeff was thicker than pig shit. Russell seemed, by comparison, a scholar. Along with this revelation came an idea.

“You’re not going to tell the police anything Jeff.”

“Wh..”

“You’re a drug dealer.”

“Scum.” Russell chimed in.

“You’ll do life in prison if they find out.”

“I was only selling prescription Valium from Thailand.”

“The law doesn’t care Jeff.”

“Shit.” Right on the cue the policeman strolled back into the room.

“Who the hell are you two?”

Rick took the lead in responding to the questions. “We’re Jeff’s friends, as soon as we saw the news report we rushed straight over.”

“Then why are you holding a hammer?”

Rick took a look down at the hammer in his hand and without think answered. “We found. In the car park.”

“And you just picked it up and carried it into the hospital room of a man at the centre of an ongoing police investigation?”

“It was Jeff’s, it’s his favourite hammer. He never goes anywhere without it.” Said Russell.

“I call him MC Hammer.” Added Jeff.

“It must have fallen out of Jeff’s jacket when they brought him in from the Ambulance.” Rick now felt oddly smug, especially considering everything needed to convict him and Russell of murder was standing in that room. The door opened once again, this time at the arrival of the doctor. He glanced at Rick and Russell, then at the policeman, then at the hammer and finally at Jeff, whose eyes were now simultaneously pointing towards the opposite sides of the room and a delicate dribble of saliva glistened on his chin. The doctor, admirably, managed to carry on his duties despite the unusual circumstances in the room.

“How are you feeling Jeff?”

“Excuse me doctor, do you mind if we have to room alone with Jeff for a few minutes?”

“Not right no… I’m sorry who are you?”

“I’m Rick, this is Russell, we’re Jeff’s closest friends.”

“Well Rick and Russell, Jeff’s health is paramount at the moment. Whatever you need to say to him will have to wait.” The current situation was a far cry from the stealthy ‘convincing’ Rick had anticipated. The only saving grace was that they’d somehow managed to coerce Jeff into withholding the incriminating information. Luckily it had been easy. If ever a person were needed as evidence of the effects of drugs on intelligence then Jeff was that person. Although it could be argued a bullet lodged in the brain wouldn’t have helped either. Despite Jeff’s coercion Rick was filled with an overwhelming desire to get out of the hospital. The policeman was far from convinced of their story and the Doctor would surely probe them further after he finished his checks.

“Ok then. Me and Russell will probably head home to get some rest then.” The policeman opened his mouth to object but before sound could get out the door swung open.

“I hope you’re hungry Jeff.” The words rang out melodically as a nurse who looked the type to invest as much time into OK! magazine as her career ushered in a tray consisting largely of bread and jelly. She was followed in by a second, clearly less senior nurse. “You’ve got quite the crowd going on here. Can I get anyone a coffee?”

“No thank you, we’re just heading off actua…”

“Nonsense! I’ll be quick. We just got this new machine installed down the hall. It’s rather good.” Without giving them a chance to respond she rushed back out the room leaving her timid follower behind.

Russell whispered to Rick “Rick, I wanna go.”

“Yeah, me too.” In an instant the nurse reappeared, a coffee in each hand. She handed them to Rick and Russell. The relief filled Rick’s body the same way the warmth from the coffee did. All they needed to do was finish their coffee and they could escape. Or at least they thought they could. Yet again the door opened and this time a group of people walked in. Their expressions showed a battle between worry and relief. A 50-plus woman broke from the group and ran over to Jeff, tears in here eyes. It was Jeff’s Mum. It was Jeff’s family.

Manslaughterer – Chapter Three

“What the fuck happened?!” shouted Rick.
They had been sitting watching the TV incredulously until Rick jumped up and started pacing up and down the room.
“How can he possibly be alive?” he continued, “he had a hole in his head.”
“Sometimes people survive being shot in the head…” said Russell nonchalantly.
“Shut the fuck up Russell” Rick snapped.
He sat back down and they both sat in silence.
“So, what are we going to do?” Russell finally pipped up.
“He’s going to tell them what happened and we’re screwed” he was becoming incensed, “we can’t let this happen,” he paused as he tried to wrap his head around what was going on, “the News said that he hasn’t said anything else, right? Because he had to be taken to hospital.”
“Maybe he can’t remember what happened on account of serve brain damage.”
“Can’t risk it.” Rick was both envious and irritated at Russell’s apparent calmness at the situation.
“Well, then we have to go to the hospital and convince him not to talk,” Russell put extra emphasis on the word ‘convince’, “he would only need a bit of convincing” again he put the extra emphasis on the word.
“Why are you saying it like that?”
Russell leaned right up to Rick with a wild look in his eye.
“All we need to do is ‘convince’ him.”
“Is this you’re way of saying we go and kill him?”
“Have you got a better idea?”
“No.” he really didn’t.
“Then it’s settled, as soon as it gets dark we go.”

It was dark, they were driving in Ricks car. Again they found themselves sitting without saying a word. Russell turned to him as if he was trying to break an awkward silence
“Remember that time we were shot at?”
“You mean the time last night? Yes I remember.”
“Well, he can place us at the scene of the crime” he started nodding to himself as though he was trying to substantiate what he was about to say, “we’re going to have to convince him too.”
Rick didn’t reply. One thing at a time.

Rick pulled his car up outside the hospital, it was about 11PM and the hospital seemed eerily quiet. They didn’t speak for a moment, Russell was fidgeting uneasily in the passenger seat. Rick’s heart was beating faster than he ever remembered it beating before.
“I’ve been having second thoughts” said Russell turning to him.
“We can’t back out now” Rick was trying to supress a quiver in his voice.
“Maybe, we could bribe him into not talking.”
“Bribe him with what?”
Russell instantly began reaching into his pockets.
“I have $2 and 76 cents, a stick of gum, a library card that expired in March 2008,” he continued rummaging around in his pockets as Rick sighed painfully “oh, and $50… these must be your pants.”
“Somehow I don’t think that’s going to cut it.” said Rick.
“You’re probably right” replied Russell mournfully, “lets get on with it then.”
Russell reached around to the back seat and grabbed some hospital scrubs.
“Remind me again why you have these?” inquired Rick
“Role play.”
“Never mind” he instantly regretted asking.
They changed in the car then strolled through the main entrance trying to act as though they were supposed to be there. Now all they had to do was find him. They headed for the Rehabilitation Unit and began the process of casually peaking through the windows down the corridor trying to spot him.
“Over there” Rick hissed. At the end of the corridor sat a police officer outside of a door.
“That has to be it” he continued, “but how do we get passed him”
“We could bribe him…” said Russell waving the expired library card in his face.
Rick smacked his hand away. Having barely taken their eyes off the police officer he suddenly stood up, stretched out and walked off down the hallway and out of sight. They seized their moment and jolted forwards into a brisk walk, they walked as fast as inconspicuousness would allow. They reached the door, opened it and slid in, locking it behind them and drawing the blinds on the window.
“That was fortunate” quipped Russell.
“Yeah, maybe our luck is finally starting to change”.
They turned their attention to the bed and more specifically the man on the bed, his head was covered in bandages but as they closed in it was obvious it was him. They stood either side of the bed looking down at the man. Russell put his hands down into his scrubs and brought out a hammer. Rick was still annoyed he couldn’t find anything less brutal but a gun would have made too much noise. Russell, who stood opposite Rick had begun to squirm.
“I don’t think I can do it” he whined.
“Yes you can. You killed him once and you can do it again.”
“I can’t.”
Rick was only too aware of the short window of opportunity they had and they didn’t have time for this. He reached over and grabbed the hammer.
“Give it to me, I’ll do it”.
He looked down at the man, took in a long protracted breath. Then he raised the hammer unnecessarily high above his head then closed his eyes, gritted his teeth and had begun to bring the weapon cascading down when Russell stopped him.
“Wait!”
“What?!” Rick stood there hammer still stretched out, staring at Russell.
“Don’t you think we should say something first.”
Rick stood with his mouth wide open.
“Say what?!”
“You know, some nice words before we send him on his way.”
Rick was astounded by how Russell’s mind works. All he knew was that knowing Russell, arguing with it would take longer that going along with it.
“What was his name?” he asked.
“Jeff.”
“Jeff the drug dealer?”
Russell nodded in the affirmative.
“What was his last name?”
“I was working under the assumption he only had one name.”
“Who the fuck only has one name?”
“Cher…”
Rick quickly broke out of a fantasy in which he was beating Russell to death with the hammer. He then began reciting an obituary off the top of his head which mostly consisted of how he didn’t know Jeff in life but he was sure he would have preferred him to the blood stained pain in the arse he’d come to know over the past two days. He ended with a sarcastic “Amen” and waited for Russell to finish his moment of silence.
“That was nice.”
“Now do you mind?” Rick gestured towards the man on the bed
Russell signalled that there would be no more interruptions and Rick once again went about setting himself up for the kill. He raised the hammer high in the air anew and was again getting ready to bring it thundering down. However after not having moved for what must have been about two minutes he was beginning to realise he couldn’t do it.
“Shit.”
“What are we going to do now?”

Manslaughterer – Chapter Two

So here’s the next chapter. Hope you enjoy it. Come back next week for part 3!

“It should be just up here on the left.” Rick’s eyes were fixed firmly on the road ahead whilst Russell’s were equally fixed on the loose end of the ball of string sitting in his lap.

“How do you know about this place?” Russell questioned.

“When I was young I always wanted to come here. I saw it on a map when we were planning a camping trip, the lake was huge. It seemed like a great place to take some friends.”

“Surely others would’ve had that thought…. There might be people there.”

“It’s unlikely. The reason we never went was that the lake was too heavily polluted to swim in. No one goes there.”

They pulled into a dirt track leading down about a mile into the thick forest surrounding the area. Once they reached the end of the track Rick turned to Russell and handed him a torch.

“Walk for five minutes in that direction and then you’ll see it. Make sure everything’s clear. We don’t want to drag the body all the way there and then have to bring it back.”

“Why do I have to go?”

“You’re right. It’s completely unreasonable for me to suggest that you, the murderer, be the one to do this little task.”

“Hey come on…. Manslaughterer.” Rick answered Russell with a look that questioned which body he was wanting to dump in the lake.

He sat in silence awaiting Russell’s return. It was more than once that the thought of just getting out and walking away crossed his mind. All that stopped him was the certainty that, left to Russell, this was only going to spiral even further out of control and now he was implicated. A light shone briefly through the passenger window before the door swung open and Russell climbed in.

“Is it safe?”

“We’ll it’s safe if you’re looking for a reasonably priced, luxury getaway suitable for all the family, less so if you wanting to dump a corpse in a lake.”

“What??”

“It’s been converted into a glamping resort. You know? Where people pay money to be sheltered from nature in a natural setting.”

“Fuck.. Did anyone see you?”

“I don’t think so, they might have seen the light from the torch but they’d probably just assume I was a pervert sneaking around. Which just to clarify I’m not.”

“No you’re above that, you’re just a murderer.”

“Rick, please. Manslaughterer.”

“So it looks like we’re going to have to bury it.”

“You didn’t let me finish. I checked the other direction while I was out there. There’s a small lake, more of a large pond really, with nothing else around it. We’ll be safe.”

“I appreciate the introduction to glamping but next time lead with that. Now, let’s get this done with.”

They learned quickly that carrying a body any distance farther than that between the front door and the car was no easy task. They were not fit men and they ached. The lake couldn’t have come sooner. Russell was right, it was more of a pond. It sat in a small opening in the trees with slowly declining banks leading to the almost circular body of water in the middle. They lay the body at the edge of the water and tried to stretch their aches away.

“Go that way and find any stones or rocks you can, he’ll float like this.”

Russell returned with two armfuls of rocks, about the same amount that Rick had scavenged whilst waiting. They stuffed each one in between the bed sheet and the former drug dealer. With just a look and no words they each picked up an end of the body.

“Three swings and then throw?”

“Sure.” Russell said with a nod.

“One… Two…. Three!”

The body landed in the water with feeble splash, the water rose barely half way up the shoulder the result resembling someone who had fallen asleep in a puddle. They both stared at the body for close to a minute. Russell stepped into the water and started to roll body over with kicks, only succeeding in make sure the bed sheet was fully soaked through.”Really?” Rick’s frustration dripped off the word. He pushed Russell aside and picked up the head of the body. “Get the feet, we’re going to have to wade it into the centre.” Russell followed the orders and moments later they were chest deep in dirty, freezing water. “This will do, it’s not like he’s going to just wake up and wade out.” Seconds after they let the corpse fall beneath the surface they were lit up but a powerful torch and the words that followed it.

“It’s a bit late for a swim isn’t it?” An old man stood there holding the light, his confusion mirroring Rick and Russell’s shock.

“Uh no, the water’s nice… you should come in.” As the words left Russell’s mouth Rick’s shock was redirected towards him.

“..No thank you. You two shouldn’t stay in there long, you’ll freeze to death.”

“We won’t, don’t worry.”

“I’ll leave you to it then.”

The old man walked off and Rick finally managed to gather some words together. “We’re going to have to kill him.”

“Who’s the murderer now?”

“Shut the fuck up Russell! That was too suspicious a thing to walk in on.”

“Ok, ok. Let’s follow the direction he walked off in. He’ll probably have a lodge where he’s gone back to bed.”

About ten minutes later they arrived at the lodge. The only building around, the light from its window had been visible for a good few hundred metres. Rick turned to Russell and started to detail the plan.

“Ok, so I’ll knock on the door and say our car is broken down, I’ll lead him out of the lodge and then you jump him from behind. Got it?”

“Got it.”

Rick took a moment to breathe and make a grab at the last remnants of normality. Realising that he was as far from normality as the drug dealer was from having a face he gave up and approached the door. He went to knock but just as his fist was about to make contact with the wood a hole exploded just passed his face. His ears rang like a fire alarm but he could just make the old man’s voice.

“Get the fuck away from my property!”

Russell was already running and screaming at the same time. Rick stumbled side to side before he managed to break into a run himself. They ran all the way back to the car without concern for their tiredness. They piled into the front seats, drenched head to toe in sweat. They sat in silence for a short while before Rick’s anger burst out. He shook in his seat and punched the steering wheel over and over again. “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” Russell bent down and picked up the ball of string and tried to speak but Rick immediately cut him off, snatched the ball off him and threw it out the window. The look on his face now showed he was certain that he’d dumped the wrong body in the lake.

The next morning Russell woke Rick with a cup of coffee and said “Rick, you need to see this.” Rick reluctantly got up and followed Russell to the kitchen where the TV was showing the news.

** FROM THE TV **

“Breaking news. A man has survived attempted murder after being shot in the face and left in a lake. When questioned by the police on how he managed to survive the man had this to say “I just woke up and waded out.””

Manslaughterer – Chapter One

Here is the first chapter of our second story. Look out for the next chapter next Friday!

It was 2 A.M. and Rick was driving his old beat up car down the highway, street lamps intermittently illuminated the inside of the car. Next to him in the passenger seat was Russell, he’d known Russell since he was a child and had also known that at some point Russell would get him into serious trouble. Tonight was that night. In the back of the car, slumped over and covered in a bloody sheet, was a dead body.
It had started two hours ago when he’d gotten a call from Russell who had urgently pleaded with him to come over. Begrudgingly he did, although soon he wished he hadn’t.
“What’s going on?”
“I have a problem, through here.”
He was led into Russell’s living room where sure enough his ‘problem’ lay in a bloody heap against the wall. Rick had somehow managed to remain remarkably calm, he stood staring at the lifeless form with an admitted amount of terror but mostly curiosity. They remained in silence for a time until Russell ran out of the room muttering “I think I’m going to be sick.” Rick was left alone with the lump of former person. He was not surprised that Russell could have gotten himself in such a situation, he was after all completely incorrigible. However that didn’t make the fact it had actually happened any less shocking. Russell had returned and had taken his place next to Rick staring down at the body.
“So?” he inquired.
“So, you have a dead person in your living room.” replied Rick.
Russell drew in a big ponderous breath. “What are we going to do?” he asked.
“We? There is no ‘we’. You are going to call the police.” Rick sounded alarmed that Russell considered him to be a part of this problem.
“I can’t call the police.” Russell stood looking indignant
“Why not?”
“Because they’ll think I did it.” remarked Russell as though it were self evident.
“Why would they think that?”
“Because I did do it!” he said exasperated.
“What even happened?!”
Russell’s original answer of “I may have accidentally shot him in the face.” was not really adequate and he was pressed to recount the full version of what had happened. How the man was a drug dealer who he was trying to score from and how he had taken offence to (an admittedly hilarious) joke about his mother and pulled out a gun. There was then a struggle, he had accidentally pulled the trigger and sent a bullet excavating through the mans skull. He had then called Rick because he didn’t know what else to do and that’s all there was to it.
“You have to help me.” pleaded Russell.
“No, I don’t.” Replied Rick intently.
“After all the things I’ve done for you.” said Russell ruefully.
It was a low blow, trying to guilt him into being an accessory to murder, but he was not wrong. Russell had after all helped him through the toughest periods of his life, but even so, this was a step beyond that. He didn’t know what to do so he simply stood there in silence.
“Are you going to call the police then?” Russell asked mournfully
“No.”
“What then?” interrogated Russell.
“Well I can’t just go home with this shit on my mind,” said Rick anguishing between both sides of his conscience, “I can’t believe I’m going to say this…”
He stood there contemplating in his mind whether he was actually going to say it.
“Yes, damn it I’ll help.”
“Thank you! For a moment I didn’t know what you were going to do.”
“Just get something to wrap him up in and be quite.”
Russell returned with a bed sheet and they wrapped him in it like a mummy. They had decided that their best course of action would be to dump the body in a lake, which lake, they did not know. Russell grabbed the legs and Rick the head and they carried the body outside and towards Rick’s car. It was heavier than Rick was expecting and it slipped from his grasp and clattered onto the floor.
“Careful!” hissed Russell.
“He has a hole in his head, I hardly think he minds.” retorted Rick.
Russell was entrusted with putting the body in the back of the car, Rick sat in the front and started the engine.
“What are you doing?” Asked Rick
“I’m putting him in the back?”
“When I said put it in the back I didn’t mean sit him up and buckle his seat belt!”
“Well, I don’t know. I’ve never done this before.”
“We’re going to need something to weigh him down with,” said Rick contemplatively, “a cinder block maybe… and some rope.”
“Where are we going to find those things?”
“I don’t know, go look.”
“I don’t think they’re readily available items, Rick.”
“Just go look!” Russell scoffed and walked off into the night. “And a shovel,” Rick fiercely whispered, “just in case.”
Russell returned with a ball of string and a brick. “It’s all I could find.” By now Rick was well accustomed to Russell’s incompetence and they decided they’d figure it out on the way. After all they couldn’t sit here for ever.
“So,” asked Russell, “where now?”