Lee acted as though he were reaching for the door handle of the ancient Ford truck. Instead, he pulled the large blade the Reverend had given him from beneath his jacket.
Lee and Jeremiah had discussed the best way to dispatch prey as large as David Downing. Jeremiah had much more experience in killing things. He had sacrificed stray dogs as large as one hundred pounds. Jeremiah had advised Lee, “Slit his throat, Lee. It’ll be messy, yes, but he’ll bleed out faster if you slash him straight across the jugular vein and the carotid artery. Take his body and remove the leg. Cut it off, if you have to. Bring the peg leg here. Throw his body in a ditch where no one will see you do it. Dump the knife in the Rock River. Take his truck, but when you finally abandon it, wipe it down for fingerprints. Can you remember all that?”
Jeremiah looked dubiously at Lee, wondering if Lee had the intelligence and chutzpah to pull this off. The Reverend had been grooming Lee for this for months now. The lucky coincidence of the migrating European starlings had given Jeremiah the perfect opportunity to prey on the ignorance and naiveté of this child-man. Jeremiah could hardly believe his good fortune when the poor boy had
stumbled into his tent that warm June night, following his mother, Cassie. Jeremiah knew right away that he had found his patsy.
The knife sliced through Dave’s neck so cleanly that Dave didn’t even cry out. The blood spray from the violence splashed on the interior of the windshield. On Dave’s clothes. On Lee’s clothes. All over the interior of the truck. Lee walked around the outside of the truck to the driver’s side. He pulled Dave Downing’s limp body from the truck. Dave was still making a gurgling sound. He put up little fight before lapsing into unconsciousness, hands clutching at his hemorrhaging neck. The decorated veteran was taken completely by surprise.
Lee dragged Dave’s body to the ditch. He threw him headfirst into its depths. There was a small amount of water in the bottom of the four-foot ditch. It was into this blackish murk that Lee plunged after his prey, carrying out the plan to remove Dave’s fake right leg. The leg came off easily. Lee did not have to use the knife again. He was grateful for that. Lee tried to rinse his blood-soaked hands and face in the black water.
Lee was breathing heavily. He was splattered with blood. His heart was pounding so loudly in his chest that he was certain it could be heard miles away. Lee heard a voice in his head shouting, “YOU KILLED HIM! YOU KILLED HIM! YOU KILLED HIM!” The voice was louder than those he routinely heard,
but the message was a recrimination. The voice didn't say it, but Lee felt as though the voice would soon add, “YOU STUPID IDIOT! YOU STUPID IDIOT! YOU STUPID IDIOT!”
When Lee had Dave’s peg leg firmly in his bloody grasp, he expected to find green bills spilling forth from the truncated area where the peg leg had been attached. But there was nothing in the leg. Nothing concealed under the leg, either. This surprised Lee, as Jeremiah had painted a picture of large amounts of cash that the veteran would have secreted inside his wooden leg.
Lee threw the peg leg into the truck bed. He climbed behind the wheel, glancing furtively to his left and right, looking for the tell-tale sign of a taillight heading away or headlights coming towards him. Lee was feeling guilty and he was feeling queasy. The voice in his head kept screaming, “YOU KILLED HIM! YOU KILLED HIM!” Lee just wanted the voice to stop.
So this book was provided to me for an honest review...
This is a collection of short stories...of the horror variety...We are told in the beginning that we will travel through Dante's 9 circles of hell..and then we jump right in! Each story is quickly and directly told and they are Quick, Fun Horror, reads! Just enough to draw the reader in, make you think, and then conclude and rush on to the next one...
What a great collection of short stories. I just love a collection of short stories now and then don't you? Just the thing to take you away when you don't have much time but want to see a story have a beginning middle and end in the time frame that you do have. Like maybe at lunch, or before bed, for instance, if you dare!
Great collection! Pick it up! Oh and I hear there are Hell and Damnation I and II also...