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Twist: Chapter 20


  04:03:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 1059 words  
Categories: Twist

Twist: Chapter 20

I woke up deeply depressive. My life was spiraling out of control- out of even any kind of recognizable reality. I was at best culpable in the death of my dog, and accessory to the death of my grandfather. And it was becoming hard not to assume that I'd hurt Hanah. That in a moment where I was at my lower, where I needed tenderness above all else, she spat on me, heaped more guilt than I could bear onto my shoulders and...

I was damned. I knew it. This was purgatory, and I was being hunted, because I deserved to be hunted. But now that I was certain that what itches was a scab, I needed to pick at it.

That bin out front. I put on a dirty set of clothes, because I knew I wasn't going to stay clean doing this.

I marched across the street with renewed purpose. I almost hoped one of those things would come after me. I'd spent so much time running, so much time crippled by my own fear, I felt strong, recklessly so.

I scoffed at the sign posted on the bin, that said it was only supposed to be used for leaves, because I was fairly certain I had violated that rule.

I entered the bin, and the smell hit me almost immediately. The leaves near the entrance were fluffy and crunchy, the newest-fallen. But beneath them was a soggy, decomposing mess, halfway to be soil. The leaves fell so thick, here, that many of the residents gave up, at a certain point, and just let them decay in the street. Because of the bin, people had scraped these already putrid leaves up with snow shovels, and poured them inside.

The further back I got, the heavier the leaves were, the wetter, the more decayed. It was almost like wading through a swamp, and I felt the putrid runoff from molten leaves pour into my shoe, plastering my sock to my ankle. I was halfway through the bin, but it was still too shallow.

I had to start throwing leaves by the handful behind me, digging as I went to make enough room to go further. At two-thirds of the way in, the leaves and in particular the wet leaves, were deep enough to hide a body.

That thought seemed insane, but... it had been a while since my thoughts hadn't. I wished I'd brought gloves for an instant, but the muck would ruin them, and I told myself that I didn't deserve the protection. If I found what I was looking for- since I was so damned I would that I was out here just after the sunrise- I need to do this with my own, bare hands.

I started methodically. I wanted to rush, to find it and be done. But I knew that if, on that remote chance that I wasn't going to find her here, that I was ever going to be satisfied, that I needed to know that I'd checked every inch, that she wasn't here, and I couldn't have missed her.

I shoveled the leaves between my legs, over my shoulder, anywhere to clear space so that I could proceed. I was digging like a dog, but praying I wouldn't find any bones.

And I didn't. I made it all the way to the last little section of the dumpster. Hanah was too big to fit, even crumpled in a ball. I swallowed, and turned, to leave, oddly not feeling any better for knowing that I hadn't violated the sanctity of the leaf bin.

Then I stepped on something, and I knew from its sickly sweet snap that it had to be a bone. I turned back towards that last corner and dug, frantically, scraping my fingers against the rusted metal at the bottom of it, but not finding anything, until it stabbed me.

It was a stick, a little thing, really, not wide enough around to even be mistaken for an arm or a leg bone. I want to laugh, but I couldn't find it funny. Because I was losing my damned mind.

I wasn't strong. Christ. Hallucinations were leading me around by the nose- I was doing what my brain damage wanted. And that was crazy. I was crazy. I couldn't trust myself. And there seemed to be no one else in the world left to trust.

I stomped across the street, irrationally angry that someone had let a single stick fall inside the leaf bin- though, given that it was sitting under the neighbor's trees, it easily could have just fallen in there on its own.

I checked the porch for my starter, and when it wasn't there I punched the mailbox, a cheap little thing my grandmother hung there. It dented, slightly, but the pain in my hand throbbed. It didn't make me feel any better.

Once I was inside, I realized that if I was going to hurt my hand, now was a good time for it, because there would still be some ice in the fridge. I took out a handful, and put it into a plastic bag. I wanted to call the auto parts supplier to find out where my starter was. But I hadn't thought to memorize the number, and with the power out it seemed like I had limited options.

That reminded me. I wasn't going to be able to charge my phone. I checked it, and sure enough, I was down to my last sliver of battery life- maybe enough for one call. One call. I knew Hanah wasn't going to answer. One call. It was easy to decide who to call.

I dialed 911. It rang through to voicemail immediately. There was no message. I tried to keep calm, but I was still agitated about the starter, about everything, really, and knowing that my phone was going to die at any moment only made me more anxious, so I rambled like a lunatic. My phone started to beep, to tell me it was almost dead, so I tried to wind down. ?I'm getting very concerned that something terrible is happened, and I really need to know that the police are looking into it. My name's Harvey, and I can be reached at 5-? the phone died.

It made me feel more alone, and vulnerable.

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