WHAT THE KILLER SAW

The body is not moving. It has not moved in some time. It lies in the dirt under a wad of piled cloth, an old blanket in which it may have at one time been wrapped. The lamplight touches this bundle but only just. The lamp sits on a stump sheared at an angle. Its light touches the long box of a car with its dented bumper, its door hanging open and a song spilling out, guitar and sweat in blues rock howl. 

The light touches the mound of dirt that grows a little with each turn of the shovel. It touches the killer standing in this deepening hole, bending to his work.

The woods around wait beyond the light. A quiet hum of night noise vibrates in the black and then it does not, a deeper hush falling like a quilt thrown across all the world’s chittering things.

The killer stops. He stands still bent and looking, waiting. He straightens, he hefts the shovel like a cudgel of old.

There in the dark stands the suggestion of a man, the hint of shape in deeper shadow. Its form is draped in a coat hanging low and the hat of a man from some forgotten age.

“Hello, friend,” says the stranger.

The killer climbs out of his hole. He moves hunched and marching into the darkness. The song plays on.

In the light the world is still. Here only shadow moves, playing at the edge of things where the light cannot go. Those liminal borders dance while nearer the lamp the richness of the world’s lines holds its sway.

The lamp falls. It slips from its slanted rest and glass breaks and with a huffed whoosh oil takes flame.

The shadows in their horror do gyrate and convulse with a kind of primal ecstasy. In that dark the light begins to spread.

— Craig Rodgers has published a few books and intends to publish a few more before he fakes his own death.