An Assignment


Kelvin Abbott dusted his hands against his stone washed jeans before examining them in the waning light. He’d gotten blood under his fingernails again and now the dirt from digging had mingled with it to create black arcs at the tips of his fingers. He’d have to wash up before he went back inside. Jillian knew better than to stick her sniveling nose in his business but still, he didn’t need to invite questions. It had already taken him two and a half hours to dig the hole- much more time than was realistically needed to burry a junkyard dog. His dim-witted wife wouldn’t know the difference anyway, she’d never suspect looking at the size of the hole. She’d be too stupid to consider that it was the depth of the hole, not the width that mattered. The duffle bag containing the folded child took up no space at all but it had to be buried deep. After the duffle bag was inside, he’d need to cover it with two feet of dirt before adding the stinking dog he’d run down that day. Filling the hole would be the culmination of all his hard work. It would make the thing final – a success.

Kelvin wiped the sweat from his brow with his forearm and straightened is aching back. At forty-four, he was fit and strong enough to be digging holes in the stony earth of Woodlake Californian, but it was still hard work. He kicked the loose dirt from his work boots and moseyed over to the blue duffle bag that was tucked just underneath the house. The bag was brand new – had never been used- on account of the fact he’d bought it just yesterday. Kelvin grasped the black handles and dragged the bag along the ground towards the hole. As he neared the edge, he had to come around and spread his legs on either side, before grabbing the bag handles again and pulling the bag inside. It landed with a wet thud.

Kelvin took two steps backwards, steadying himself with his shovel, wedged in the mound of dirt he’d extracted from the hole. Pulling it out, he pushed the top layer of soil into the hole. He did this until a quarter of the mound had disappeared. Finally he stood back, scratched his head and surveyed the yard.

The dog lay out in the open only a few feet away, its vacant black eyes staring up at Kelvin as he made his way over. He kicked it in the belly and sent it launching towards the hole. He’d overshot it. The dead dog landed on the edge of the hole but didn’t fall inside. Prickling pins of rage sent a burning sensation over Kelvin’s shoulders and into his arms. It made him stronger and more determined, like a bull that has seen the flash of the matador’s red cape.

Kelvin marched over to the hole, grasping the shovel on the way and brought the edge down hard on the dog’s neck, lopping it clean off. The rest of the dogs body slid into the hole as Kelvin gritted his yellowed teeth in a horrific smile. He then turned the bloody tool in his hands and held it like a golf putter, gently knocking the dog’s head into the hole. He grinned with tight lips and then spat into the hole, before taking a shovel full of dirt and unloading it onto the bloody mess beneath him.

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