Mystery and Crime Fiction posted March 25, 2018 Chapters: -1- 2 


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A body is dumped in the swamp

A chapter in the book The Hardening

The Swamp

by mbroyles2


Chapter 1
 
Her blood ruined his clothes.

He’d burn them later.  He liked fire.  The bright, orange-red glow sending ash into the sky like dancing fairies.  The smell intoxicated him.  Except, when he burned the bodies.  Which he should have done with hers.  Or, he could have dropped her in the pit.  It would have been better than this.

At night, deep in the Louisiana swamps was no place to be.  At least, during the day, you could spot the menacing crown of an alligator’s head, or the outline of a water moccasin as it snaked its way through the forested wetlands. Here in the black, with only the faint light of a miners carbide lamp, you’d be lucky not to crash into a cypress stump, or run aground among the hedgerows and shallow bogs.

The Gator-Tail mud motor hummed as it pushed the heavy duty aluminum boat through shallow water, cutting through the duckweed and salvinia ferns, and coming to a stop on the edge of a protruding bank.  The vessel rocked as the killer rolled the beaten and mangled body of the woman onto the shore.  Shoots of Sawgrass slapped at him as he wrestled to balance himself.  Mud and water sloshed over his boots. The muck made a sucking sound as it entered the opening and soaked his socks.


She’d put up a good fight, defiant to the end.  He needed answers.  She gave none.  His frustration was clear in her torture.  Lifeless eyes hung loose in their sockets, milky white with enlarged ash-colored pupils.  Both arms extended from the shoulder joints at different angles.  Her torso, once tanned the color of ginger ale, exhibited deep blue and black bruises, as did her hands that were so badly crushed they looked like chopsticks. 

The exit of the swamp approached, and the Red River waited.  The killer got back in the boat.  He frowned, like a child at the end of an amusement ride when he realized it wasn’t all that good, unfulfilled, as if he wasted his time standing in line.

The month-long alligator season was in its last week.  Hunters would be out in full force trying to fill their empty tags and claim a last trophy.  He knew how they were.  He tried fishing for gators once.  His hands bore the price of under protection, scarred from hooks, gator bites, and snapped fishing lines.
It’s possible they'd find her before the creatures of the swamp had finished with her.  This had been a mistake.  He had a perfect place for her.

He should have dropped her in the pit.

But, he needed the room for the rest of them.

 


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This is a revised chapter from The Last Laugh as promised.
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