November 21, 2014

He didn’t want to go out on such a night….

He didn’t want to go out on such a night, but some errands are simply unavoidable. And so it was with a heavy sigh and a mildly unpleasant sense of duty that he put on his boots, crouching down on the small stool by the door and forcing his creaky old knees to bend as he maneuvered the footwear onto his feet.

Finally, after much trouble, the boots were on. Next came the coat and scarf. Not his best coat, certainly, but his second-best would do for an unpleasant task like this one. Besides, he noted with satisfaction, his second-best was a good deal warmer.

It wouldn’t do to stain one’s best coat, he thought, especially when the social season was just starting. There would be Christmas parties and fundraisers and dinner parties – he’d definitely need his best for those. He was, above all things, a gentleman.

And so it was, appropriately coated, booted, gloved and scarfed that he set about the task at hand. He was quite glad that they’d kept the large plastic sheeting when they’d bought that new mattress. It made unpleasant tasks like this much easier.

He dragged the plastic out of the closet and down the hall to the kitchen. The thing lay, heavy and inert, on the kitchen floor. With as much care as he could manage, given his somewhat advanced years, he scooped the thing up and rolled it in the plastic sheets.

He was huffing and puffing by the time he was done. Sixty, after all, is no spring chicken. But somehow, with much effort, he managed to pick the thing up and carry it to the car, using the kind of fireman’s carry he’d seen on TV so many times.

Much heavier than it used to be, he thought, as it landed in his trunk with a heavy thud. He was grateful that it fit easily. Trunk space hadn’t really been a consideration when purchasing this car and he’d never had to haul anything big or heavy before, but just now he was grateful for the space.

As an afterthought, he wrapped up the baseball bat and threw that in the trunk as well.

Baseball bat. He considered it briefly. Such a common thing. So low-class of him. Come to think of it, he had no idea how they’d even come into possession of a baseball bat. He’d certainly never bought one. Maybe one of the kids had left it.

Oh, well. No matter now.

It had served its’ purpose.

The drive to the forest preserve was not a long one, but he made sure to drive a little ways further into it, just in case.

It was late and dark and the rain was coming down in a heavy, unpleasant drizzle, like having someone spitting on the back of your neck. No one should be out. No one should see. But it was always best to be careful.

Breathing heavily, he hauled the thing out of the trunk and carried it some small distance into the woods, dropping it, finally, with a rather unappealing grunt. He made a second trip back to the car and dropped the bat in the woods as well. Not like he’d need it anymore.

He dusted off his gloves and peeled them off. They would, of course, have to be disposed of later.

The drive home was short and he found himself, uncharacteristically, turning on the radio and singing along. He unlocked the door, took off his coat and hung it neatly in the closet, wrapping the scarf around the hanger.

He pulled off his boots and walked back into the kitchen, a man confident in a job well done.

He looked critically at the sizeable blood stain on the floor. That could stay, he decided.

Finally, he pulled out his cellphone and carefully dialled the three digits. A polite female voice answered.

“911. What is the nature of your emergency?”

He allowed tears and a note of panic to creep into his voice as he answered.

“My wife,” he said. “She’s missing. I just got home from work and she’s not here…. and…. there’s a big bloodstain on the kitchen floor.”

“Calm down, sir,” she said. “I’ve dispatched a unit. Help is on the way.”

“Come quickly,” he said, voice quivering. “I don’t know what happened to her and I’m so scared.”

First line writing prompt courtesy of:

http://shortstoryideas.herb.me.uk/firstlines.htm

(and possibly influenced by my recent reading of Gone Girl…)

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