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Red Winged Black Bird on a fence post in a field.

Death on the Roadside Part 2

2004-08-02

Category: prose

The last bit of twilight was gone and the rain had let up. Peter made it pretty far and, at his current rate, would make back into town by morning, or possibly a week from next Friday. He wasn't really sure. He was sure that he was cold, wet, and miserable. His feet hurt and his legs screamed about exhaustion. Each step fell heavily and uncontrolled on the gravel of the road. It would be a long night.

He noticed a log in the ditch. It looked solid and horizontal. Though it was undoubtedly wet, it probably wasn't muddy. Regardless of those other qualities, it was inviting. Peter hobbled off the road and plopped down on the log. His feet thanked him.

He intended to sit there for only a minute or two. It was still night when he awoke. The clouds had drifted off to leave a bright full moon in their place. The sound of a far off engine slipped into his brain and brought him drowsily back to the night.

There was another sound. He couldn't quite place it. It was familiar but too far away to identify. It had a sort of "ah" quality. It made him think of dentistry or proctology, but he wasn't sure why. He exhaustedly sat up.

Yes, there was definitely a sound. It was too dark to see very far. He cocked his head to figure out the direction. It seemed to be more of an upward thing.

The screaming man fell through the branches of the nearby trees and crashed into the mud of the ditch. The screaming stopped.

"Oh crap!" shouted Peter. He pushed himself up and lumbered over to the place where the man fell. Everything was quiet. The moonlight outlined a clear, man-shaped hole in the mud and weeds. Peter just stared at it. His tired mind tried desperately to find the words, "What the?" but failed.

A moan came from the hole. Then another. Then, the arm came out.

Peter took a step back.


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