(The following story is prompted by ‘it was a misty night’ line.)
I never thought I’d end up here. A shovel in hand, a dark raincoat supposedly keeping me safe from the downpour. In the middle of a forest with barely any light to see the ground where I stand. How did I end up here? I turned to stare at the body just a stretch way from me. A shiver coursed through my body. Never ever had I thought I’d be the one digging the shallow grave, slipping and sliding on the muddying ground.
I could occasionally hear the vehicle on the highway meters away. Every time one whizzed by, I’d be in a state of panic, afraid they’d hear the sound of the shovel hitting the wet, squelching ground. I was a law abiding citizen for heaven’s sake, not the cold blooded murderer I suddenly felt I was.
I worked through the straining muscle aches curtesy of a hard gym work out with Clive this night before. When the hole was big enough, I found myself in it, pulling the corpse till it pinned me to the bottom of the pit with its weight, forcing me to struggle to free myself.
I stood, covered head to toe in mud. Where had I ended up? This morning, I had been just another newshound chasing my headlines, and now… I resumed the dirt moving, unable to allow myself that thought. The sound of the rain hitting the coat provided some sort of solace, something I could focus my mind on, and I kept shoveling and shoveling the dirt till a small hint of a mound formed.
I stared at it. What had I done?
I sat in the car for ages. Couldn’t possibly bring myself to get out. Before I knew it, I was sprawled across the back seat, twisted like a pretzel, half falling into the gap between the seats. A hard knock had rapt on my window, startling me awake. Somehow, it was morning. I hit my head on the window handle hard as I went to get up. I looked out the window and there was Clive, staring at me through the glass.
‘You’d rather sleep in the car?’
I straightened and struggled to get out of the car, scrambling to free my feet of the raincoat I had used as a blanket. We had had a fight last night before I left work. ‘I must have dozed off.’
Clive’s eyebrows rose high. ‘In the backseat?’
‘I was really tired,’ I offered by way of explaining.
‘Why do you look like you went mud wrestling last night?’ He eyed me from toe to the top of my hair. I went rigid. How did I look? Was I looking suspicious? I mean, yes, I had muddy clothes and all, but no one would pin a murder on me, right? Right?
‘I went to interview for a story outback, and the tyre got bogged in the downpour,’ I lied. Big deal. I wasn’t about to tell him the truth, whether he was my soul mate or not.
‘Why didn’t you call road side assist?’
Shit! My phone! The last I remember of my phone was when Clive had called me in the middle of my digging session. What did I do after that? I patted myself down, every pocket I had.
‘You lost your phone?’
I looked up, utterly panicked. ‘Yes.’
‘Where did you last use it?’
An image of being pinned down by the very thing I was trying to bury sprung to mind. Shit.