This is the last part of A Night’s Sleep.  Enjoy the end.

JENNIFER FELT UNEASY ARGUING with herself.  “This is crazy,” she said.  “I’m convincing myself of my innocence.  I am innocent.  I didn’t do anything.  I’m the victim.  My family is a victim.  Peaches is a victim.  I’m not going to think I did something wrong when I didn’t.”

But maybe she should not call the police right now, she thought.  Her argument was convincing to herself.  But what about strangers?  Someone may be trying to set her up.  She needed to be ready to defend herself against that.  Not stand by and allow it to happen. 

The first thing she could do was to give Peaches a proper burial.  Her family should not see what they did to her.  After that, she could then start to figure this out.

Jennifer rushed and put on an old tee-shirt, an old worn pair of jeans, and sneakers.  She then ran into the garage and got a sheet of thick plastic and a shovel.  The plastic came from a roll of plastic that her husband used on the garage floor when he painted the walls. 

Jennifer spread the large piece of plastic over the bedroom carpet.  With her yellow dish gloves on she rolled the plastic tightly around Peaches.  She duct-taped the plastic to secure it.  Nothing could leak out.  She then dragged Peaches’ body down the stairs and out the back door.

A six-feet fence and large trees with lots of leaves hid their backyard from their neighbors.  The backyard was long and narrow at the end.  She grabbed the shovel where she had leaned it against the house.  Then she went to the furthest point of the backyard.  It was where she would dig.  She was ten feet away from the spot when she abruptly stopped.

Jennifer looked around the yard.  In front of her was a deep hole.  It was around four feet deep.  What was going on?  Who dug that?  It couldn’t have been her?  Could it?  It would have taken her hours.  She would have remembered that.    

Jennifer forgot about work and her presentation.  That hole had her attention.  “They dug it,” she said.  They meant to kill Peaches all along.  She wiped a tear from her eye.  

She carefully pushed Peaches into the hole.  Then she said a quick, silent prayer.  As she covered Peaches up with dirt, she decided what to tell her family.  “Peaches ran away.”

Then she realized her presentation was in two hours.  She hurried and covered Peaches and ran toward the house and tripped.  She landed face down and slid on her stomach.  It knocked the wind out of her.  “Shit,” she said.  “Damn it.”  She looked down by her feet to see what she tripped over.

The point of a man’s shoe stuck up out of the ground.  Part of a pant leg also showed. 

She stared at the shoe.  Flashes of the night before began to surface.  It was hurting her head as it came into focus.    

She remembered dancing at Windam Bar.  She and her two girlfriends had gone for a night out.  They had a few drinks.  Then they took a taxi home. 

The next thing she remembered was fighting with a man.  She did not remember why he was at her house.  She just remembered fighting him.

He stabbed peaches.  She stabbed him.  Something came to her. 

She ran inside.  Her phone?  She stood in the kitchen, looking around.  Where was it?  She spotted it on the floor next to the refrigerator.  Her shirt and skirt were on the side of the island.  Her heels were in the sink.  She picked up her clothes.  None were torn or damaged. 

A light was on her phone.  She had a message.  She listened to it.  “Hey, I’m on my way over, looking forward to spending more time with you.  Glad we met.  It’s Brad.”

She was having trouble breathing.   

A wallet was on the corner of the counter.  She eased her hand on it and opened it.  A driver’s license was in the front.  She squinted and read the name.  “Brad Needle.”  She swallowed. 

“What did I do?  What did I do?”

She knew she had blackouts when she drank.  But nothing like this.

A blinking light caught her attention.  It was a cell phone halfway under the refrigerator.  She picked it up.  It had a message.  No.  It was a recording.  She listened to it.

“Are you crazy!” she yelled.  “Don’t take a picture of me!  Where are my clothes?”

“You took them off,” a man’s voice said.  “You’re shit-faced.”

“Don’t call me that!” she yelled.

“You’re crazy, bitch,” he said. 

She heard rumbling sounds.

“What the hell are you doing?” he said.  “Put the knife down!  You crazy, bitch.  You’re going to be on Youtube.  You’re a crazy shit.”

“Give me that damn phone!” she yelled.

“You cut me!” he cried.  “What the…” 

She listened to grunts and gurgling and threw the phone down.       

See you next time with something new.

I’ll see you tomorrow.

Stephen Wallace    

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