Vince could see his house in the distance. A sliver of relief cut through the fog of his hangover. He wished he could remember the night before, how much he had drank, where he had gone, but he couldn't. It must have been a crazy party though. Crazy enough for someone to leave him passed out in a ditch. To let him lay there all night with no shoes. To let him wake up cold, and damp with what he hoped was dew and not someone's piss. He thought of Tony. It would be just like that asshole to piss on you while you were out. He told himself to remember to punch Tony in the nuts the next time he saw him.
The engine of a car revved up behind him. He stepped from the edge of the road and into the damp grass. The car pulled past him and slowed as if the driver were about to offer him a ride. Vince locked eyes with the woman behind the wheel, watched her expression turn from curiosity to alarm, then he watched her speed away. A new worry took root in his mind. They had done something to his face. What if he had been walking for over an hour with dicks drawn on his face? Or maybe he was wearing makeup. He imagined himself looking like a psychotic transvestite clown after laying in that ditch all night. He walked on. He kept watching the car until it turned and disappeared from sight. Their community was a nice one. No trouble. No crime. He had probably just raised a red flag for that woman. It wouldn't be long until the police happened by to see what was going on. He just wanted to get home and take a shower without drawing any more attention. He picked up his pace, trying not to notice the pebbles digging into the soles of his feet.
He passed by Ms. McCreedy's house. She was the neighborhood gossip. If she saw the spectacle that was Vince, it would be a matter of hours before everyone knew. He clenched his fists and prayed to any deity that would listen, to let him slip by undetected. He had almost made it past her house when a dog leapt through the air and jerked to a stop just inches away. The old bat had left her damned dog tied to the tree all night. Again. The dog snapped and barked. It was almost choking itself trying to get at him. It wasn't helping him avoid attention, and it did even less to help the pounding in his head. At least, he thought, the sun wasn't high enough yet to add a visual assault to his senses. He kept moving.
His house was closer now. Sue's car sat parked out front. He slowed. What was Sue doing at home? She always worked on Saturdays. His heart dropped a little. She was waiting for him. He would have to walk in and let her see the sloppy mess that he knew he had to be. She had probably been up all night worrying, and he was the asshole stumbling in at sunrise. He felt ashamed of himself. She would probably yell. She might cry. It would tear him apart, and he deserved it.
He reached the front door of his house and froze with his hand on the knob. He took a deep breath and started explaining as he opened the door.
"Listen Sue, I'm really sorry. I have no idea what happened. Tony left me in a ditch." He stopped. Sue wasn't there, waiting as he had expected. "Sue?" He waited. "You here?" Relief. Maybe she had gotten a ride with one of the ladies from work. That meant he could get a shower and a nap. Maybe he would have some time to make the situation better. Sue was still going to be angry, but maybe he could soften it. He thought that maybe he could.
He climbed the stairs, listening for signs that Sue might still be in the house. He peered into the bedroom. It was empty. He grabbed some clean clothes and left. The door to the bathroom was closed. He pressed his ear to the door. No sound came from the other side. He turned the knob and pushed open the door. His stomach lurched. The bathroom was empty, save for blood that covered the tub and trailed up the walls. He backed away, a scream caught in his throat. He didn't stop until his back pressed against the stair rail and he had to grab on to keep from going over. He had never seen so much blood outside of a horror movie. There was so much that it was almost unreal to him. But it was real. It smelled real, metallic and thick. What kind of thing could hold that much blood? A person? Two people? Where the hell was his wife?
"Sue!" He pushed off of the railing and ran down the stairs. "Sue! Sue!" He stopped at the bottom. "Sue!" He said again, and this time was answered with a distant sob. It was her. She was in the basement. "I'm coming baby!" he said, pulling open the basement door so hard that it came loose at the hinges. He took the stairs two at a time. Her cries were louder now. Adrenaline flooded his body. He reached the bottom, ready to fight, or run, or both. There was a grunt behind him, then stars exploded before his eyes. His knees buckled and the ground rushed up to meet his face.
He laid there for a while, not moving, just bleeding a puddle around his head. He could hear Sue crying. He wanted to talk to her, to comfort her, but his jaw felt broken. Another voice cut in.
"Sue," it said, "you have got to get ahold of yourself." The voice was strong and calm. Sue reacted to it right away, her sobs trailing into silence. Vince knew that voice. He had sang with that voice, yelled along with that voice. And right that minute, he hated that voice.
"Tony," said Sue, "is he dead?"
"I doubt it. It usually takes more than that."
"Why is this happening?"
"I don't know," he said, "but we're way too deep to back out now." Vince didn't understand what he was hearing, but he had heard enough. He wanted answers and he wanted to rip out Tony's god damned throat. He began to push himself off of the ground. Pain flooded his back as Tony hit him with something. A shovel? He hit the ground again and this time he didn't move.
Hands grabbed him by the shirt and began to drag him across the ground. He was dropped on the far end of the basement. The rising light through the small window revealed a pile of broken concrete and dirt. A jackhammer and a shovel were propped against the wall. They had been digging a hole all night long, and now, he realized that he was on the edge of that hole. One push and he would be inside. His body tensed and pain flared in his back and face. A moan, the only sound he could force himself to make, escaped from his throat.
"He's not dead." Sue said.
"No. He isn't" Tony said.
"What do we do?"
"We can't just.. You know."
"Do you want to fire up the saw again?" He asked.
"Neither do I. Let's just start filling it up."
A foot collided with Vince's ribs and he toppled into the hole. His whole body screamed in pain. He tried to move his arms but they wouldn't respond. Tony had broken his back, and now he was going to bury him. He was going to die, and there was nothing he could do about it. All he could do was stare up at the face of his best friend, who had left him in a ditch and was now leaving him to die.
"A word of advice." Tony said down into the hole. "Don't come back. Just make it easier on all of us and stop coming back." Vince had no idea what that meant. How the hell was he supposed to come back? Come back from what? Death? The whole idea was ridiculous. He was going to die. There was no coming back from that.
"Please Vince." Sue said, coming to the edge of the hole. "Don't come back." She was cradling something in her arms. She bent down and kissed it, then tossed it into the hole. It landed with a heavy thud somewhere out of his periphery. Then they were both tossing things into the hole.
He began to make out the shapes of what they were tossing in with him. Arms and legs. They were filling the hole with body parts. They had been on some sort of killing spree and now they were hiding the evidence, along with the witness. The bloody bathroom made sense now. How many people had they killed? He wanted to scream, to claw his way out, but his body remained unresponsive. More limbs rained down upon him, followed by torsos.
A torso with the head still attached landed on Vince. He stared up into its dead eyes. He knew its face. He had seen that face every day. It was his face. Then he understood. He would come back.
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