Fern’s laugh was still ringing in his ears, so he found a rock station on the radio and turned it up loud. He sped down to the locked gates, the tires crunched to a stop and he swung open the door and got out. Going to open the lock, he looked back at the dark house and questioned what he was going to do about Fern.
With the lock and gates open he drove the taxi through then stopped and got out to re-lock them. Getting back in, he rushed down to the first set, the car bumping along. Stopping again, he got out and this time couldn’t make out much of the house. He opened the lock and gates, drove through, got out, relocked them and drove on.
‘It really wasn’t meant to be like this,’ Brook said through clenched teeth.
He turned on the headlights and pushed the car up to the speed limit on the empty, dark countryside road. He drove from an hour, just following the road and not really thinking where he could dump the body. A for sale sign flashed up and Brook hit the brakes hard. The car slammed to a halt, flinging Brook over the steering wheel and the body against his seat.
Groaning, Brook sat up and looked at the sign in the rear view mirror.
He reversed back and read the notice fully; farm for sale. Four bed roomed house and fifty acres of land. View by appointment only. Brook tapped his fingers on the steering wheel and gave it some deep thought. Glancing in the mirror at the slumped body, Brook shook his head and drove off.
‘It’s too close,’ he muttered, ‘what else is around here? The old cemetery? The abandon plastics factory? The river?’
Book hummed and as a crossroads came up, marking the farm for sale to his left and a village to his right, he drove straight on towards a campsite. Passed that, he kept his eyes out for the direction signs to the forest. The radio fuzzed out and after a few seconds of trying to find another station, he give up and hit the CD button. The Eagles came on. Brook shrugged and slowed to take a blind bend.
The sign for a humped bridge flashed up and he slowed even more. As soon as he crossed over it, a soft rain began falling. He glanced around the wheel, put the indicator on and off then put the windscreen wipes on. They squeaked loudly, till he had turned them down. Easing back into the seat he drove on and half an hour later spotted the first sign for the forest. A small smile crept onto his lips. At the mini roundabout he took the first exist and carried on following the signs.
Forty minutes later, Brook parked the taxi in an empty car park and turned off the engine. Shadows of tree branches swept about above him and the rain came down heavier. He rested back and shut his eyes for a few minutes. He listened to the rain on the roof and thought about his next steps.
Getting out, he closed the door quietly and opened the passenger door. He grabbed an arm and pulled the body out with a severe tug. It only half shifted. Putting more weight into it and getting his other arm in, Brook pulled the body completely out and down onto the ground. He closed the door gently then locking the taxi, locked his arms around the chest of the dead man and dragged him into the forest.
Wet leafy branches brushed against Brook’s back and he struggled to get through. His mind tumbled with an incomplete map of the forest and river as he tried to figure out the best place to head for. Finally, he decided on the largest of the waterfalls and headed in that direction. He didn’t stop once, but carried on walking backwards for almost an hour dragging the body undergrowth. Around him owls and other night birds were still calling, their daytime relatives still asleep. A fox called for a few moments before being answered by another in the distance. The rain patted on the leaves and ground, adding to the rush of water somewhere in front of them.
Brook sank down at the river’s edge, dropping the dead weight. He wiped rain from his face and shook it from his hair. He looked at the sky and guessed that daylight was a few hours away, which meant he was becoming pressed for time. He turned to the body, now mud covered and with a collection of fallen leaves and branches. The idea of burying him re-entered Brook’s mind, but he had nothing other than his hands and nature’s tools to carry out that task. Instead, he was going to have to risk the water level being high enough to carry the body away.
Taking an arm and a leg, Brook put the taxi man into the river and watched the current swept him away. He saw a flash of colour going over the waterfall and walked as close to the edge as possible. Looking down he could see nothing but the foamy churned up water. Slipping his hands into his pockets, he turned and started walking back the way he had come.
He got into the car and closing the door, listened to the rain and wind once more. He checked the taxi over again and finding nothing else, debated what to do. He thought he could almost hear Fern calling his name. She probably was. A few seconds went by, he put the keys in the ignition and got out, closing the door. He shoved his hands in his pockets and walked away.
The rain grew heavier, soaking through his clothes as he left the carpark. Brook glanced back at the taxi then shook his head. You’d only have to get rid of if later, he thought. He picked up his pace and breaking into a run sped through the night. He followed the roads he had driven and halfway home felt the first sense of dawn. He didn’t pause, but race onwards, making a note to try harder at materialisation soon.
Brook slipped through the first gate and the second one, having no need to unlock and open them now he was alone. He ran to the door, vanished and reappeared on the other side. Fern’s voice rapidly hit him from the garage and shouted in his ears.
‘Brook? Let me out!’
Ignoring her, he climbed the stairs and went to his room. Fern’s voice trailed after him, pleading with him and yet whispering things that sound forbidden underneath. He shook his head and closed the bedroom door. It only quietened the words a little. He pulled off his boots and jacket, dumping them as he went over to a large desk. He switched on the CD player letting the first song on whatever album was still in there blast out.
He undressed, throwing the clothes alongside the boots and jacket. Flinging himself on the double bed, he looked up at the all too familiar ceiling. The dappled pale blue coating of paint still bore the slight marks of sticky tape and blue tack. Beck tried to recall what had once stared down at him on his childhood and teenage ceiling, but he couldn’t recall.
He shut his eyes, listening to the rock music rumbling around him and the taxi driver’s blood humming through him. Below, he could just hear Fern’s cries for release and her fists bounding the wooden door. He sensed the dawn breaking and recalled how the sun lit up the sky. He pulled a sheet over his naked body and wondered how long it would take for Fern to settle down.
To Be Continued…