In BURNT on January 12, 2011 at 8:35 pm


It’s just me and the kid in the cabin now, and he’s not getting up.  But I do and it hurts like nothing ever has.  Even more than the last, what, two? three? days of torture.

I reach the door before my legs stop working.  I can hear Walker’s braying voice on the other side.  “You have to witness the scene to really get it, to really understand these Gatherings.  I’m telling you, Hippie Land is a killing field.  It’s the happy hunting grounds.”

I inch the door open.  Walker is talking to two men.  One is my father.

“No one cares about these people.  The police sure don’t.  The police aren’t going to bother with an investigation if a couple of crazy hippies end up dead.  They’re out there in the middle of nowhere, they’re outside of society by choice. As far as family or friends go, they don’t know anything.  So nobody notices when someone drops all the way out.”

My father interrupts. “What is your point?”

“I’m trying to help you understand your son.  The temptation is too much.  If you’re crazy like that kid partner of mine, or you’re just mean like me, or if you got some shit to work out like your son — man, the opportunity is there!  Eventually, you are going take it.”

I can see the other man now.  It’s Marks.  He’s holding the reins of two horses.

“Now, in the scheme of things, Jay has killed a lot less than most.  Maybe two or three tops.  But, it doesn’t matter.  I can pin a truckload of bodies on him, starting with my partner in there.”

Lucas seems to be studying Walker’s shirt collar.  “What do you want?”

“I want in.”  Walker sounds hungry.  “I want to be part of Blue Light.”

My dad fishes something out of his pocket.  He stuffs the wad carefully into his right ear.  Marks pulls a shotgun from his saddle and hands it to him.  Lucas walks several studied paces backwards.  He raises the shotgun.  He takes a deep breath and slowly lets it out.

Walker screams “wait” and covers his face.  The blast takes off his fingers and most of his face.

Lucas hands the gun to Marks and walks towards me.  He opens the door and I stagger on my feet.

“When was the last time you were in a canoe, son?”

The Story So Far

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