Monday, July 30, 2007

Entry #41

Beautiful Places
by Stephen Blackmoore


At least he buried her in a beautiful place.

We step off the trail into a grove of pine and walnut, early morning dew covering every surface. Sunlight burns through the canopy like stained glass, yellows and burnished reds. We can't help but be quiet.

"My cathedral," Earl says. His shackles clank, shattering the silence. He tries to lift his arms as if to say hallelujah, but they won't go above his waist.

"You're a sick fuck."

"Marshal Dugan," he says, "I hadn't thought you'd noticed."

There are six of us. Me, three other Marshals, Doc Ferguson, and Earl Breen, rapist and murderer of Shelly Patterson, a college student. Nineteen. Pulled her into a van one night. Walked into my office with a video of what he'd done to her.

"Where?"

"Three trees thataway," Earl says. I can see the mound. Her glasses wedged between two stones, woven pine needles to hold them together. The devil's own macrame.

Doesn't take long, though we're careful. More precious than Tut's tomb.

Also doesn't take long for everything to shatter.

"It's not her," Ferguson says. "A boy. Maybe thirteen. Been here a while, too."

"You sure?"

"Pelvis, skull sutures. It's a boy."

"But this dirt's recent."

"I tend my graves," Earl says.

Plural. Now I know what to look for, I can see them. Tiny shrines. A diary, the glint of a ring, a small framed photo.

"How many?"

Earl answers me with Satan's grin and says nothing.

26 comments:

Jaye Wells said...

"The devil's own macrame."

That's the kind of writing that makes me grit my teeth and wonder why I didn't think of it first. This is an amazing piece, especially given the word count. Well done!

Katherine Napier said...

Ah, Stephen, a nice case of the creeps. Good take on the photo.

Victor J. Banis said...

Nicely macabre - first rate stuff

cool_st_elizabeth said...

Chilling and beautiful. Great story!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Chilling and creepy - really well done. Loved that line "the devil's own macrame" - inspired!

wrath999 said...

I always enjoy a creepy read. Nicely done

Beth said...

I'm amazed with how many writers saw the woods as a gravesite, but how completely different the stories are ... amazed!

I loved the bit about the stained glass, burnished reds, cathedral ... nice writing. Some writers don't to over-describe, but you've done it just right.

SzélsőFa said...

what a surprising contrast in the colorful and almost religious description of nature and the people who entered it.

Jeff said...

Chilling. Nicely done.

angel said...

wonderful and frightening!

SF Johnston said...

Whoa! Great!

Chanpheng said...

Good writing, in a creepy kind of way. Makes me want to get up and check the doors and windows are locked.

Be right back.

JLB said...

Yowza. I'm with Chanpheng. :)

takoda said...

I didn't read this one til the end. Liked the whole thing. Loved the last line! I felt sufficiently scared at the end.

tea and cake said...

You used the word count really well to tell us the whole story.

Not sure we needed the other officers' names.(v.small niggle)

Wonderful description of etheral madness.

Bernita said...

Nice original description and serial killer variant.
Very well done!

Pearl said...

The last line's a killer.

Thérèse said...

Wow, Stephen.

You said so much with so few words; yours is the kind of writing that I really love to read. It moves forward, and it moves.

Great piece.

briliantdonkey said...

Nice work Stephen. I Can't decide if this was a case of 'killed and buried so many I get confused as to where I buried whom.' OR if it is a matter of rubbing the marshal's nose in it. A kind of 'yeah you caught me, but you have NO idea how deep this thing goes' sort of way. Either way, rather chilling to say the least.Thanks for sharing.

BD

RachaelfromNJ said...

Wonderful piece. I could definetely see this becoming a book. Congrats on winning FIRST PLACE!

Victor J. Banis said...

Stephen, congratulations on your double wins - well deserved. Good stuff. I just looked at your blog (but hadn't the foggiest notion how to use it - I'm way too low tech). Nice stuff. I have a feeling our paths have crossed somewhere, but don't know where.
Victor
vjbanis@verizon.net

SzélsőFa said...

congratulations!

Sarah Hina said...

Great job, Stephen. You burnished this creepy tale with many brilliant flourishes. Congrats on your wins!

Victor J. Banis said...

Well, congratulations again.

Ann Ostrander, #37 said...

Wanted to stop back to say congratulations to you on your double wins.

jason evans said...

A skillfully contained piece. Very good characterization. Each person feels genuine. Excellent!!

High marks!

Congratulations on the double win: 1st Place and Readers' Choice Award! A rare achievement.