“Why do I feel like I’m being watched?” Gordon asked.
The question was meant to be rhetorical, but Bud pointed across the still water and said, “There.”
“What?” Gordon tried to follow Bud’s finger. All he saw was an old stone bridge.
“Can’t you see it?” Bud asked. “The reflection of the arches looks like a set of eyes watching us. You see it in your peripheral vision and…” He shrugged.
Gordon shook his head and got back to work. Bud was a strange one, a bit of an anomaly. Gordon smiled at himself. “Anomaly” was just the type of word Bud would use.
Bud left as Gordon continued to dig. Gordon knew what Bud was doing, so didn’t think anything of it. This was a routine they’d done a thousand times before.
The Boss would give them a bag. They didn’t ask any questions, didn’t open it and didn’t try to guess. They found a remote spot, dug a deep hole and put the bag in it. Just because the bag was about the right size and weight for a human body, well, that was just coincidence.
Gordon never knew Bud’s real name. He didn’t think anyone did. Bud seemed like any of the other guys, until he talked. He brought out these million-dollar words and talked about psychology. What did psychology have to do with their work? They were just laborers, digging holes in the woods.
Gordon stopped and wiped his brow. The hole was deep enough, but there was no Bud. Typically Bud would be back with the bag at about the time Gordon finished.
The odd feeling of being watched grew stronger. Gordon glanced around, but didn’t see anything. There was that bridge, though, and the eyes it made with the water. He picked up a rock and threw it as close to the bridge as he could. The ripples distorted the right eye, making it wink at him. He shivered. Where was Bud?
He decided to get the bag himself.
The car was as he left it, but the bag was outside, not in the trunk. He realized that it was unzipped. As he zipped the bag shut, he caught a glimpse of the interior. He shut it out of his mind. It had nothing to do with him.
Gordon grabbed the bag and heaved it over his shoulder. He was a big guy, but it was still difficult. Bud made it seem so easy.
He had to stop about half way to the hole. The bag was just so much heavier than he would imagine, particularly with what it contained.
He froze. He wasn’t supposed to know what it contained.
He sat down, back against a tree, facing the bag. He closed his eyes. He could see the face. She was young, around 12. Her eyes were open. He couldn’t get those innocent green eyes out of his mind.
It didn’t matter what was in the bag, he told himself. He did what the Boss wanted done, no questions asked.
But a 12-year-old girl?
He opened his eyes and got up. There was nothing he could do except carry out his task.
The bag was open again. He zipped it shut and threw it over his other shoulder. After a few steps he had to put it down.
Damn, it was difficult. How had Bud ever managed to make it look so easy?
He decided to drag it.
It took him about five minutes of carrying and dragging to get the body the last 20 yards to the hole he had dug.
He glared at the bridge and its eyes that stared at him, accusingly. “She is only 12,” the eyes said.
He felt other eyes watching him. Eyes all around. The trees had eyes that stared. She had eyes.
He spun around.
She was standing with the bag still around her ankles. Her green eyes were wide and staring. She pointed at him.
A pain went through his chest. “But, but, but…” he stammered. The girl didn’t blink, just pointed.
The world went black, he stumbled forward, falling into the hole.
After putting the last shovelful of dirt on the body and arranging the turf so it would be difficult to find the hole, Bud, real name Brian, turned to his daughter.
“You do look a fright, with that makeup.”
“Don’t worry, we will get to the Boss and avenge your mother. We’re one step closer now.”