“The Body Farm” by James Glass
Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.
This week, James Glass takes us to a beautiful forest hideaway.
The Body Farm
by James Glass
The sun crept over the horizon as Danny Noonan continued to have sex with Tammy Hayes. His heart beat faster with each thrust. Adrenaline surged across his body. A warm sensation shot through his veins. He balled his toes into fists and exploded inside her.
Exhausted, he collapsed on top of her. A thin film of perspiration formed between their stomachs. “Wow,” Danny said in between breaths. “That was incredible.”
He reached over and retrieved his shirt and a pack of cigarettes, both on the edge of a grassy mound. Dense trees—pine, oak, and dogwood littered the outer fringes of the small clearing, hiding all signs of wildlife within the Blackwater River State Forest.
He used the shirt to wipe his face and the nape of his neck. Flies buzzed around them. He shooed the pesky insects away with the sweat-soaked shirt. Danny stared into her milky eyes for a long moment, then leaned in and kissed her gently on the lips. The foul stench of body odor lingered.
He rested his head on her shoulder and traced a blue vein along her breast with his index finger. Her skin felt cool to the touch, even under the rising heat.
Several birds chirped nearby. A small animal, possibly a squirrel scurried across dried leaves.
Danny rolled onto his back and lit a cigarette. He relished the feel and filter between his lips—savoring the nutty Marlboro flavor as he took his first drag.
“You’re such a beautiful woman. But I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times.” A fresh sheen of perspiration formed on his brow and snaked down his temple. “I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw you walking down Byrom Street at two in the morning. Those apartments on the corner where I picked you up look scary, especially at night.” He laughed. “It’s funny how we happened to cross paths at the same time. Seems fate brought us together.”
Flies hovered as if seeking permission to come in for a landing, but he waved them off. “I suffer from insomnia too, so I go for a drive to clear my thoughts. Sometimes the open road soothes me, but mostly I like the solitude.”
They both looked up into the sky. A silver jetliner sailed across the sea of blue.
He tilted his head. “I’ve always found this particular spot very peaceful. It’s actually poetic if you think about it. We just made love in the grass in the middle of this huge forest without being seen, except by nature. The privacy is why I like to bring women out here. The risk of being caught is negligible.” He stroked her long blonde hair tangled with pine needles.
“Oops, I said women.” He flicked the cigarette. “Sort of spoiled the moment, didn’t I?”
Danny stood and slipped on his jeans and a well-worn pair of running shoes. He stomped out the cancer stick and walked to his car, a faded green Gremlin. He liked the tiny car because it was small enough to drive down the deer trails in the forest as well as go off the beaten path, which is how he’d found this spot two years ago. He popped the truck and retrieved a shovel, a five-pound bag of Quicklime, and a gallon of water. When he returned a swarm of flies covered Tammy’s eyes, nose, and mouth.
After digging several feet, he rolled her body. She came to rest face-up into the hole.
Her dead eyes stared up at him.
“Don’t worry, Tammy. You’re not alone out here.”
He scooped lime onto the shovel and tossed it over her face and neck. “Sorry I have to go to such extremes, but it’s not that I have anything against you.”
He dumped some water onto the lime. It began to fizzle and a wisp of smoke wafted in the air. “I just don’t want any animals to dig up your body and scatter your remains across the landscape. Not to mention the putrid smell of a decaying body would permeate into the woods. Hunters might come upon the scent and check it out.”
A half hour later he finished filling the hole. Sweat glistened over his face, neck and torso.
He glanced around and counted the other shallow graves. Twelve in all.
“Yes, I love this place, Tammy. Now, you will too.”
JAMES GLASS retired from the United States Navy after 22 years of service. After retiring, he exchanged his rifle for a pen. He and his family moved back to Florida. He’s been married for 26 years and has two children. James is also the President of the Panhandle Writer’s Group.
Would you like to submit a story to the Mondays Are Murder series? Here are the guidelines:
—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should be set in a distinct location of any neighborhood in any city, anywhere in the world, but it should be a story that could only be set in the neighborhood you chose.
—Include the neighborhood, city, state, and country next to your byline.
—Your story should be Noir. What is Noir? We’ll know it when we see it.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—Accepted submissions are typically published 6–8 months after their notification date and will be edited for cohesion and to conform to our house style.
—E-mail your submission to [email protected]. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.
Posted: Mar 6, 2017