Minutes after the photo was taken, Gary squeezed the life out of the bird and threw its body in the trash.
He was bored with animals. Cats, gophers, and whatever wildlife he could get his hands on no longer satisfied him. He stared out of the window, thinking of the children in his neighborhood; wondering at the logistics of pulling off such a crime.
The Lovely Bones, Gary recalled, depicted an exciting underground possibility. With sly purpose, he withdrew a piece of paper from the nearby printer, thumbed the lead of a pencil, and proceeded to draw up plans.
Holly stood on the bow. Was it the bow? Or the stern? Did ferries have those things, she wondered. She had purposely taken the last trip to Tangier Island to escape Roger, feeling simultaneously anxious and guilty. Their boys slept in the empty cabin, aware of the urgency and the reasons but after a long road trip, they could ask no more questions. Holly touched her black eye and imagined a life without fear or rebuke for her little family.
The dock approached but Holly froze; her father lay motionless on the ground. Beside him, Roger waited, gun in hand.
April stared forlornly at the arrangements. The tall one was a bit sparse and the little one looked like something her Grandmother might have on the dining room table. Still, she longed for someone to think enough of her to send flowers to work.
Imagine her coworkers’ reactions! “She’s just the receptionist.” They’d say, incredulous. “She lives alone with her cats, and wears dowdy clothes!”
Maybe, April thought, she’d fix it so that “someone” did think of her that way.
She continued staring at the flowers, knowing full well that the deception would only serve to make her more miserable.
Lesley eyed the building while she polished the antiques. Its bleak façade hung like a gaping maw; rotted teeth below empty sockets, and its tongue rolled rock-strewn into the river.
Her gaze returned to inspect the wares on the windowsill; all polished and shiny, ready for another day of business. Lesley knew though, that by morning they would all be tarnished again.
That night, as every night, Hell’s presence rose through the devil’s portal, imparting its ancient malice into the water. Fetid fumes seeped up river banks, swarmed over trees and bled into buildings, coating everything in a dark patina.
Gregory watched from across the street as the second floor apartment burned. He shoved his hands in his pockets and glanced at the growing crowd. Murmurs of concern and questions about the occupants swirled around him. He backed away slowly, nodding, and slipped unnoticed down the street.
Gregory had known Mr. Viggers well. That old twerp had caused so much trouble; always complaining about Gregory’s car and how it got in the way of his precious street sweeper. Idiot had even taken him to court, and got that stupid sign erected.
Well, Gregory grinned, not anymore, Mr. Viggers. Not anymore.
Erica slung the beanbag over her back and declared that she was going to be a hobo and live on a train. It didn’t matter that the beanbag was as big as her, or that it was missing the stick, or that it really wasn’t a sack at all. However, it was purple with white spots and that was enough of a spark.
I stopped washing dishes and looked at her. All she needed was a pair of baggy trousers with old suspenders and a cloth cap, and I laughed; she had a vivid imagination.
Lily stood, wondrous. Her mother had assured her that the tales were true; fairies did live beneath that stump in the woods, but Lily considered herself too old to believe in her mother’s “fairy” tales.
After her Mother died suddenly, Lily walked in the woods alone; memories of their time together trailing like gold dust. Perhaps it was the beam of sunlight on the stump that made Lily pause on the bridge; she’d never be sure, but there they were – hundreds of fairies waving. Lily stood, wondrous. She wept; wishing she had believed sooner.