Silent Witness


I stood there, a silent witness, as a form was pulled from the car. They struggled against mute captors, pushing through the grasses.

At the age of twelve, what are you suppose to do? They were all adults, and adults are never in the wrong.

“Matthew,” my mother had said only an hour ago, holding my face while she sniffed back tears, “why don’t you go wander on a path down by the canal? I think you need a break.”

She had been arguing with someone on the phone. Her urgent whispers had reached even my room and I could tell it wasn’t good.

With all my strength I mustered a smile and said, “Okay, mom, I can do that.”

“Thanks, honey! Come back in an hour or two. Okay?” She called out as the screen door shut. A glimmer of hope could almost be heard as she went and picked up the phone.

So I had wandered, waving at a solitary hunter scouting out the area for hunting season. It starts the day after tomorrow.

And now this.

“Hrrrggfnn!” Shrieks the form as it is carried into the grass. I almost giggled at the sight of the person. They look like one of those old-fashioned mummies from the black and white movies my dad use to watch.

But the laugh never came forward as I watched the other men step out of the car. They had huge guns, some kind of automatic machine gun.

“Put him in over there.” Yells one man, I think he’s the leader. There’s something all too familiar about his voice, but I can’t see his face. They walk, with rubber galoshes, into the wetland. The man thrashes, even more, he must know what they are doing.

A thought floats into my mind, “They must have done this before, to multiple people.”

I shiver, my heart beating fast within my chest.

They’re all in the water and mud now, reeds bending this way and that.

“Right there should be good enough.” Grunts one of the hauling men.

“Mmmmgfhh!” Screams the form.

With a heave, all four men toss the body, feet first into the muck. With a splash and gurgle, it sinks half way in. The wrapped up person is screaming and sobbing. I can hear him perfectly.

I look down, seeing water ebb and flow on my side of the bank.

“Ah man! He only sank half way!” It’s the leader. I look up to see him laughing, standing on the runner of the truck. And then it dawns on me as chills run up my spine.

“Come on, do it right or the boss will have us all down here.”

Shock almost sends me face first into the water as I watch the man in the truck laugh. I know that voice, my entire life. In the living room yelling at my mom, in my bedroom yelling at me. Bile rises in my throat and I try not to make a sound as I watch my father sniff and look around. I had heard his voice through the speaker of my mom’s phone, it was one in the same.

Men push and pull in the mud around the form and it sinks further and further in. The man shrieks and groans with each move.

Finally, with a gurgle, the body disappears just beneath the surface and their work is done.

“That was fun.” Joke my father and he jumps in the car, but not before saying, “Who’s ready for lunch?”

They get into the truck and carefully back out onto a dirt road. I watch as dust kicks up along the lane as the head back into town.

I want to run, I want to help, but the bubbles have stopped coming up. I couldn’t move even if I wanted to.

My father.

And now I sit here, helplessly looking at the now calm water.

My father’s a murderer.

-M.E. InkOwl


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