The phone rang. The clock read three in the morning.
“Carlos, I need your help.”
“Danielle?” Carlos asked. “What’s going on, I haven’t heard from you in years.”
“Listen to me,” Danielle said, “I need you to come meet me, and not ask any questions. You’re the only one I can trust. I’ll text you the address.”
Before he could reply, the line went dead. Seconds later his phone beeped. Checking the address he groaned. It was at least an hour’s drive, in the middle of the woods, and it was raining. He considered ignoring it, but grabbed his keys and jacket and headed for his car.
“Thank god you came,” Danielle said when Carlos arrived.
“What the hell was all that about on the phone?” Carlos asked. “There had better be a damned good reason why you called me out here.”
“There is, I promise,” she said. “But before I show you what I need help with, you have to promise to let me explain.”
Carlos eyed her suspiciously but remained silent.
“I didn’t mean for any of this to happen, the situation just got out of control. We were having a party out here and everything was going fine. We had a few drinks and everyone was getting along. Then it started to die down and people started leaving. Eventually it was just me and some guy I don’t remember inviting. I was about to leave when he grabbed me.” She broke down in tears.
“Did he rape you?”
“Well if he didn’t succeed and you’re still alive, what do you need from me?”
“I need help with that,” she said, pointing at the door to the small shack they were standing next to.
Carlos turned and opened to door. He was faced with a man lying in a puddle of blood.
“Holy shit!” He said. “Did you do that to him?”
She nodded. “I just grabbed the nearest thing to protect myself. I hit him in the head and he went down. He’s dead, Carlos.”
“Have you called the police? Surely if anything would be considered self defense, it’s this.”
“No, you can’t! Don’t you see who he is? I didn’t realize until after it happened.”
Carlos looked closer.
“Who is he?”
Eric Nichols was a well known criminal, a major boss in the mob.
“No way,” he said.
She nodded again. “That’s why I had to call you. I didn’t invite him, so someone else who came must have. If my friends are involved with someone like him, there’s no way I could trust any of them with this. I will be killed if they know I did this. I need to make this disappear.”
“You called me to help you dispose of a body?” Carlos asked. “Why would you call me?”
“I know when we used to work together I pretended not to notice, but I know how you felt about me. I guess I hoped that some of that still remained. At least enough for you to help me. I know it feels like I’m using you, and I guess I am, but you were always there for me and you’re not in the circle of friends that came tonight, so I can trust you with this. I’m sorry to get you involved, but I didn’t know what else to do.”
He stared at her for a moment. He never could say no to her. He had fallen in love with her the first time he saw her and despite the passage of time, he knew in his heart that he would always love her. She was his biggest weakness.
Seeing him mulling it over, she added, “The only thing I have to offer you is me. I will do whatever you want. You’re saving my life. If you want me to marry you, have kids, or act out any fantasy you can imagine, I will.”
“Okay,” he said, grabbing a small shovel and tucking it under his arm. “There’s a marshy area not far from here. From what I remember of high school biology, the body should decompose more quickly there, removing evidence of his identity and what happened. Grab his arms.”
She smiled at him and went to do her part.
It took them the better part of an hour to drag the body to the edge of the swamp that would serve as the gangster’s final resting place. As they dumped him face down in the mud, the body coughed.
Danielle screamed. “Oh my god! He’s still alive.”
“Not for long.” Carlos said, swinging the shovel down on the back of the man’s head. The splintering sound that came from Eric’s skull wasn’t something he’d be living through.
“You killed him,” She said. “If he was still alive, we might’ve been able to get out of this.”
“Do you really think he was going to forgive you? Do you really think any jury in the world would’ve let you off after trying to dump the corpse? At this point it was our only option. Now roll him over please.”
She nodded with tears in her eyes. This wasn’t a side of Carlos she had ever seen before. She turned and knelt down beside the body.
As soon as she was busy with her task Carlos raised the shovel again. She would never know what a favor she did for him tonight. He was going to kill two birds with one stone. Eric Nichols was his uncle, and the only man standing in the way of him controlling half the city. Eric’s death gave him a promotion. Her death would remove the only thing left in his life that someone could use against him. He smiled as he brought the shovel down across the nape of her neck, severing her spine.
He pushed the bodies into the swamp, content in the knowledge that they would never be found. None of the other bodies he’d hidden there had been.