So here’s my answer to the Author Aerobics: Dialogue Punctuation Exercise. I managed to stick to the time and word limits this week! Whew. Good thing no 3 act plot structures were required.
by T.S. Bazelli
“He was always a cold-hearted old bastard.” Summer licked a fleck of ruby blood from her lips. Her floral cotton day-dress was streaked with red and her hair had come half undone, but still she smiled.
“That doesn’t mean that this was right,” I said. My hands were clammy with sweat as I gripped the knife. Every hair on my body was standing on end as I stared at the body spread eagle on the ground.
Summer crouched. “The deed’s done. It’s too late now. It was your plan, wasn’t it? Where are we going to hide the body?”
“Let’s just get the old man off the path,” I said with a grimace, “before some idiot jogger comes along.”
We each grabbed hold of a tweed clad arm and dragged. He was heavy. We left a trail of upturned rocks and crushed plants behind us. Summer dropped the old man face down beside a thorny blackberry busy and walked back to the trail.
Dark pools of blood were sticky on the gravel. Summer kicked at the path with her sandals as I scraped up the dirt with a stick. My clothes grew damp with moisture as I hacked at the hard packed earth. Summer whistled a tune, leaving the hard work to me. It had been my plan after all.
An eternity later, the trail lay scarred with freshly overturned soil, but I could still smell the iron in the air.
“Looks good!” Summer plopped down on a mound of moss, and massaged her feet. I couldn’t fathom why she’d dressed so inappropriately for the occasion. Death, I thought, should require gravitas – even if it came down to murder.
My expression did not escape Summer. She patted the mossy mound, inviting me to sit. “Hon, the old man just got what he deserved…”
“But still –“
Summer interrupted. “You’re just bringing karma back into alignment. Old man Winters always gave me the creeps, the way he’d watch everyone with those crazy gray eyes.
“He didn’t care about anyone. You saw what he did to Autumn. He just let her waste away. He didn’t lift a bony old finger to help her.
I interrupted. “I didn’t like him either, but there must have been another way.”
“He was a cold blooded as any murderer.”
I wrapped my arms around my body, concealing the stains that soaked to the skin. Above the trees, clouds billowed, casting shadows and light, sprinkling us with cleansing rain. Summer grimaced. It was not her favorite season.
Out of the corner of my eye I watched her palm the knife. It disappeared into a deep pocket.
She glanced over and wrapped a warm arm around my shoulders. “Let’s get you cleaned up Spring.” Summer smiled, knowing her time would come soon enough.