Two Yards Below | Amy Short

Thomas did a bad, bad thing


Two Yards Below

Amy Short

The Trilogy Award Part: 1


He dragged his foot along the road, his hand clutched around his thigh as he whimpered in pain. He could feel the blood seeping through his fingers and he glanced behind him, energy pumping through his veins as he caught sight of the incoming Corsa. The man edged around the bend, his shadow reflected onto the tarmac by the car lights.

“You really thought you stood a chance?” A second man asked, chuckling as he slammed the car door shut. “You thought you could just scuttle away? Hide away like a little boy? Not a chance.”
“It’s not like that,” he tried to bargain, squealing as the other man pressed deep into the leg wound.
“Walk. Walk forward until I tell you to stop. We’re going on a little journey; only I’ve just had my seats refurbished and I’m not letting you ruin them.”
“Please, just let me explain. Please.”
“Start walking.”

The man walked, stumbled, for just over a mile. They travelled farther into the woods, the trees becoming denser and the light diminishing with every step. The car pulled to a stop and the lights flicked off, leaving them in complete darkness.

“Come on then, Thomas,” the man said. “Let’s take a trip into the woods.”
“No, no, please no.”
“Dear Thomas, you can’t run, you can’t hide, you have no hope. Now, into the woods like a good boy.”

Thomas entered the forest, his senses heightened in the darkness. He came upon an opening, the trees parted and a circle of rocks arranged, as if for a campfire and a group of children on a summer camp. In front, lay a blanket and an ensemble of tools, gardening equipment mostly.

“Today’s master class is in grave digging. I’ve already gone to the liberty of marking out the measurements; the rest is up to you.”
“Grave digging?” Thomas stuttered, the colour draining from his face and his teeth chattering from fear.
“You heard me. And I’ll give you a clue, there’s only two people here and the grave’s not for me.”

Thomas was silenced by the revelation and headed towards the tools, grabbing a shovel and beginning to break into the woodland grounds. His leg trailed behind him as he dug into the forest, following the markers as he began to dig himself six feet under.

Sweat beads began to form over his eyebrows and his breathing turned into panting. Dehydration was setting in and the make shift tourniquet he had made, midway through digging, was soaked through. Behind him stood a pile of mud and leaves, the heap growing larger as the night wore on.

“Thomas, I think it’s time you took a break.”
“Oh, but I’ve almost finished coating the walls with a nice sheen on blood, sweat and tears,” he replied sarcastically, his fear coated with lashings of a witty tongue.
“Oh, Thomas, what a mistake you’ve made.”

The man walked towards him and offered him a hand up, the grave too deep to climb out of alone. Thomas looked warily but accepted, releasing a sigh as he stood on stable ground. The man hid a smirk as he handed over a bottle of water.

Thomas drank greedily, the liquid soothing on his dry throat. Droplets slid down his chin and disappeared into his shirt, the remnants missed as the water ran out. Thomas chucked the bottle into the grave, staring silently at the man as he waited for his next move.

The woods fell silent, the only sound coming from the birds flapping away. Thomas lay in the grave, blood spilling out of his temple and seeping into the ground below, a bullet lodged between his eyes. The man grabbed the shovel and began to transfer the pile of mud back to where it came from; the only difference the body now laying beneath it.

As the last of the mud settled, he grabbed the blanket and the tools, tucking them under his arm and walking away, the body left behind as if nothing had ever happened.

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