Really. I can take it.
It rained on the day I killed Marcus.
His grave looks almost the same as it did after I buried him. The kudzu's a little thicker, that's all. Sometimes I dream that he wasn't really dead when I planted him and he's slowly digging his way up out of the ground, earth deep under his fingernails as he claws his way free. But whenever I visit the spot, I know all is well. He's exactly where he belongs.
He'd had it coming for a while.
We were friends. Just friends, that's all. He wanted more, I didn't. Sometimes he'd push the issue and I'd push back, distance myself for a day or two. He'd sulk and then seek me out, laughing and joking, his old self again.
Sometimes he'd kiss me. I'd let him, if I was feeling particularly mellow, but I never kissed back. I'm not into that.
That's not why I killed him though. What, do you think I'm crazy or something? I killed him for running his mouth. He just wouldn't shut up.
Image via WikipediaThere was an abandoned house where we'd hang out sometimes. It had some tattered old furniture and some rugs and stuff, nothing much. He'd dragged in this enormous cedar chest he'd found God knows where and we used it as a footrest in front of the sofa.
On our last day there, I waited until he went into the bathroom. A few weeks earlier, I'd put a deadbolt on the outside of the bathroom door. I got it from a door I'd found in the junkyard, so it wasn't all shiny and new looking. He probably never even noticed it. Yeah, this was premeditated. You can put that in your report. Premeditated.
He was looking at himself in the mirror. He was a good looking guy, and he knew it. Spent hours just preening and smiling at himself, making different faces: happy, sad, surprised. Yeah, he was asking for it.
His back was to me as he checked out his teeth. He saw me at the door and his reflection smiled at me. I smiled back.
When I got the deadbolt, I'd also found a half-filled container of lighter fluid. Now I'm no expert on accelerants and all that, but I figured that would be enough to at least get the party started. After that, it'd be up to the rest of the bathroom to continue my little blaze. Hair spray, toilet cleaner...that stuff's all flammable, right?
I'd dumped the little metal can of fluid into a short garbage can. Added an old sheet I'd found in the house. I think it was a painter's tarp or something. The sheet soaked up all of that lovely fluid. Pulled the sheet out. I went into the bathroom, smiling at him. As he started to turn toward me, reaching out, I draped the sheet over his head. He must have thought I was playing some game because he didn't struggle to remove it. Not at first. I lit the corner of the sheet. Watched flames begin to devour it. That fluid worked better than I'd ever expected. It took him a while to react. It seemed like he stood there for hours, just burning. Then he started to flail. Silently, his arms swiped at the sheet. I went out the door, slammed it and bolted it. It wasn't long before he got to the door and start pounding on it...
As long as I stood there watching, he never screamed. Just that incessant pounding. Thank God the door was solid or he might have broken it down. Finally I left the house, stopping on the front walk to see the view from the outside. The bathroom was burning brightly now, great plumes of smoke pouring out the barred windows. As far as I know, he never made a sound. I wonder what he thought as he burned. Was he confused? Expecting it? Did he welcome death like some martyr? It bothers me to think he might have died hating me. I didn't hate him.
The windows exploded, glass shooting out towards me. I could feel the heat of the fire baking the side of my face. The fire had spread, moving to the living room and then to the kitchen. I could hear things breaking with little melodic tinkling sounds. It was actually kind of pretty, the house flaming, the black smoke and the roaring of the fire, punctuated by a sort of off-kilter music. I let my mind record it, painting a picture to save for the future.
Then I left.
Our place was in the middle of nowhere, so it could just burn and burn all day and no one would care. No one would know, really. I went to a movie. Some cartoon. It was stupid. Later, I went back to the house. It had burned completely down, just a few bright embers glowing here and there. I found what was left of his body. I think I cried a little. I lay down next to him, even though the rubble was still hot and smoking in some places. I got burns on me. I think I slept a little. I really did love him, you know. Even though he was a rotten excuse for a human being, I loved him.
Morning was started to lighten the sky when I finally woke completely up. Abandoned or not, sooner or later somebody was going to discover the rubble. And if they were a little bit curious, maybe they'd discover Marcus, too.
I went and got some supplies from the dump. Another sheet, a shovel. It's amazing what some people throw away.
I went back to Marcus' body, and got him in the sheet. That's something I'm not ready to talk about. It wasn't really him, it was just flesh. Burnt flesh. I wrapped it up good so I wouldn't be able to smell it, but I could still smell it. I can still smell it.
I already knew the perfect spot: there's a stream not far from our place where the ground would be nice and soft, easy for digging. Moisture equals quicker decomposition. Also, the kudzu. Kudzu's amazing stuff, did you know? It's almost impossible to kill and it grows so fast some folks call it the "foot-a-night vine."
I dug a hole. I wanted to make it six feet deep, a proper grave but water kept filling it in. I kept at it anyway, I got blisters, they broke and bled. I got to about 4 feet before I gave up. I was exhausted. Rolled him in, he splashed to the bottom. Shoved in the mud and dirt on top of him. Pulled up some of that kudzu and arranged it all around the grave. He would have liked it here.
I fell asleep again, curled up on the bank of the stream like a fox.