When Salia’s phone rang and she saw it was his number, she gulped. There was no way Micah could have this number. There was no way he could be calling her. It was impossible.
She turned the phone off and set it on the counter with trembling hands. Memories of the beatings she’d endured flooded back to her. Micah was a violent drunk. How naïve she was to think she’d be rid of him once and for all. It had been a few months. This time she thought she was finally free.
Looking at the back door the compulsion pulled her. She had to be sure he couldn’t come back. What lay beneath the ash tree, buried in the cold ground, could ease her anxiety, but she feared what was there.
You have to go see, her mind screamed.
A small cry escaped her lips. Fear crept through her. With shaking hands she pulled open one of the kitchen drawers and took out a small trowel. The box wasn’t buried too deep. Starting toward the door she realized the blackness beyond made it too dark to see, even with the back porch light on. The moon wasn’t even out tonight. Grabbing the flashlight from the counter she slipped onto the back stoop and made her way down the stairs.
From the front of the house, someone began banging at the front door. Oh God, it was him.
She stifled another involuntary whimper that threatened to escape her lips. In several bounding steps she found herself beneath the ash tree where she dropped to her knees and started digging. The banging at the front door grew louder. It was only a matter of time before he made his way around to the back. She dug faster.
Finally the edge of the trowel hit the wooden container. She quickly dug up the long box and pulled it out of the hole in the ground. Barely able to get her hands to stop trembling, she turned the latch and popped it open, throwing the lid back. The banging stopped and her blood ran cold. Where was he?
Dropping the trowel, she stood and picked up the flashlight then shined it into the box. There they were.
Three of his bones, clean and white.
A rush of relief overwhelmed her. Laughing, she fell to her knees again. She was safe. Those were his bones in the box. They were a reminder that he couldn’t hurt her any more. That’s why she’d kept them.
With this realization she shut the lid and put the box back into the ground, then carefully covered it with dirt. Standing up, she began making her way back into the house but stopped short, feeling the deep chill overtake her body. If those were his bones in the box, then why was he staring at her through the kitchen window?
~~~ © November 2012 by Audrey Brice (aka S. J. Reisner)