Christina C. Franklin | Mark Reihill
I knew where I was going even before I smelled the moist dirt pelting my face. I was falling, and falling fast and hard. I couldn’t move nor scream for help. I was paralyzed, me, immobilized. Hell wasn’t exactly what I had expected.
She was 4’9” but swung a three foot spade shovel with chutzpah. I didn’t realize what had pierced the back of my head until I rolled off of her granddaughter’s battered body wincing in pain. Stunned and seeing stars, I wiped the blood from my brow just in time to see the pint sized 65 year old swing again. This time I heard a crack between my ears and that’s when I went under, my head hit the ground, and my world went black. The last thing I remember seeing was her well-worn red boots standing just out of my reach.
Suspended in limbo, my body no longer mine, I saw my ankles being roped and hog tied. I watched them work quickly and with the strength and skill that comes natural with years of farm life. My once able bodied shell, from this prize winning bull rider, was being dragged behind the pickup like a burlap sack of coal, dust billowing up screening the scene. No one saw this, no one in sight to even care. My silly mistake to rape a girl who lived on a 250 acre ranch, at dusk.
They drove along the edge of the pasture where the crops ended and the tree line started, until the brand new dualies came to a halting stop. The girl was still crying when she exited from the passenger side door. Her tears streaked down her dirt caked face, striping it like the white lines of a zebra. Her shirt was ripped at the left shoulder where my coveted copper belt buckle had caught. She shouldn’t have tried to struggle beneath my grip. A 105 lb. teenager had been no match for my 230 lb. frame. But she shouldn’t have flaunted her young body around me at the rodeo. That was her mistake, not mine. She and her girlfriends sat in the bleachers in their tight T-shirts and short shorts, her long blond hair flowing in the wind. When I looked up at her she laughed and turned to her friend. What were they saying? Were they laughing at me? By the time her sweet bubblegum smelling perfume reached my nose, I knew she needed to be taught a lesson. She had thrown me off of my game. I was startled by the horn. One buck was all it took and before I knew it I had landed flat on my ass. I turned to look into the crowd and I saw her leaning forward in her seat, still laughing, her perky breasts jiggling with her hearty heaves. She would not look at me. She was looking at her friends, and they were laughing too.
It had been easy to follow her home. She walked the mile back with her girlfriends; I stayed back in the distance following on foot. When they reached the four way stop, the three girls went their separate ways. My girl jumped the fence about a quarter mile down the road and headed towards the barn. What a trickster she was, I had thought.
When the coast was clear, I continued towards her place following where she had led me. I ducked behind the combine. No vehicles were in the stone drive and the place looked deserted of anything other than livestock. That’s when I found her brushing her horse. She looked startled when she saw me, as if she didn’t know I was following. I knew she wanted it, so I simply complied. She tried to fight me, but I needed to put her in her place.
That’s when grandma showed up.
I looked at them now, as they pulled two shovels out of the pickup’s bed, one edged with a sticky maroon substance. I realized it was my blood. They put to work quite briskly a tedious laboring job. The ground crunched with each swift stroke of the handle. My life, and all traces of it, was being erased one dirt filled shovel at a time.
As they continued to dig, the sun threatened to set. The still quiet of dusk was now broken by a chorus of rhythmic crickets that energetically sung out encouraging my nemesis like a coxswain yelling “row”.
“Hellene?” a male voice called over the CB radio.
Grandma threw the last shovelful of dirt on my grave and made sure that it was stamped down good and hard before returning to the truck. The girl’s face was now painted with anger where her fear was once displayed. I watched her hock up a luger and spit in the spot where my buried head now lay.
I knew I was damned for sure when a thrill raced through my blacked soul as I saw the girl’s rounded cheeks peek out from beneath her short cutoffs as she bent over to pick up her tools.
The voice from the radio beckoned again, “Helle? Are you there?”
“I’m here Dan.” Grandma replied having made her way back to the driver’s seat. “I just had to put a dead pig under. Are you on your way home?”
“Yep. Be there in twenty, Helle,” he replied.
I was already there.