Balloon Man

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Chapter 19

Cooter pulled up to the Swarthmore house in Elaine’s car, stepped out, and surveyed the area. Seeing no signs of anyone, he snatched the canvas bag from the floor.

He spat on the ground while opening the bag and yanked Elaine’s hands up so they poked out of the top. He took the pipe out of his back pocket and used Elaine’s hands to make fingerprints on the pipe. Satisfied, Cooter went inside and walked over to Jo Bob’s body, nearly choking on the thick stench of rotting flesh.

Holding his breath, he picked up Jo Bob’s arm a bit, and scraped his nails across the back of Elaine’s dead hand. Satisfied, he put the hands back into the bag and set the pipe next to Jo Bob.

Tilting his head up in the direction of the stairs, Cooter wondered if he should check upstairs, but didn’t do it. The smell would be worse since there were more bodies.

He left and drove Elaine’s car to the public boat ramp exit. He turned down a lone road at the end of the causeway, got out, made sure he was alone, put the gear in neutral and started pushing. After two big heaves, it rolled into the water. Cooter watched while picking at a scab on his face.

He waited until the vehicle disappeared under the dark water, smiling with the knowledge Elaine’s hands were in the back seat inside the bag. Air bubbles danced on the surface for more than ten minutes.

“Sheesh, it took long enough! I should’ve put the bag in the trunk and rolled the windows down. Would’ve made it sink faster.”

Finally, the bubbles disappeared and the water stilled. Feeling satisfied with his work, Cooter stood from the muddy bank, leaving a dirty smear on the seat of his faded jeans. He nonchalantly brushed the dirt with his hand, as if it would help.

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