This month, Jessie, the Jester Queen, gave us the beginning of a truly “trashy” mystery. She handed her literary baton to Eric of I Can’t Brain Today, I Have the Dumb, who in turn passed it to David of Scholarly Scribe. This week, David tagged Katie from Chicken Noodle Gravy to wrap up this marvelous collective.
Katie chose this post to introduce herself here. I couldn’t hope to do better!
Without further ado, Dumpster Diving, Finale:
The combination of the drugs she could barely remember taking and the blow to her head made his figure dance and wobble as he approached her. He created an almost comical, fun-house mirror image, punctuated dangerously by the gun waving in his hand.
But there wasn’t anything funny about this situation–that much was clear in spite of her fuzzy vision.
“Hey, peanut.” David Weinhart’s voice hadn’t changed at all, gruff, gravely with a knife’s edge of mean. In the nearly five years since she’d last seen him, it was probably the only thing that hadn’t changed.
His gaunt, bony figure a mere shadow of the man he used to be. Felicia had always thought him massive, impenetrable with muscles built and honed for the specific purpose of beating her and Loreta. Time and drugs, she suspected, had stolen those muscles, leaving him looking pathetic and old. If not for the gun in his hand, he would not be even remotely as scary as she remembered him.
He moved shakily across the room, loomed over her from her perch on the couch. From this distance, she could smell him, a rotten combination of whiskey and body odor. He sneered down at her. “Thought you’d gotten rid of me, didn’t you?”
“You died. Mom told me that you died.” Felicia tried to keep her voice steady, tried to fight the urge to cry.
Elise laughed, a sick, strangled laugh that sounded nearly dead. She stood next to David now, her small hand gripping his; both kept their guns trained on Felicia. “Did you ever have a funeral? Did you even think to ask your mom where he was buried? Did you even care?”
No! Felicia wanted to scream it, wanted to push them both away and run far and fast. Why would she care that the man who had beaten her, who had made her life a living hell for so many years had died? Why would she care that the man who had nearly killed her mother was dead himself? She didn’t care then, and she wouldn’t care if he was dead now.
She wished that he was.
“Your mom left me for dead, peanut. Left me in one of those dumpsters she’s so fond of. She made a mistake though; she didn’t check to be sure I was good and dead. And as you can see…” He chuckled, gestured with the gun at himself. “I’m not.”
Elise snickered at his joke, pressed more firmly against his side. “After leaving for a while to consider his options, he came back in town a few months ago, and we happened to run into each other. I felt so bad for what your mom did to him. For what you did to him. Neither of you ever loved him, and he’s a man who deserves to be loved; aren’t you, baby?”
Still keeping his gun pointed on Felicia, David lowered his head, dropped a sloppy kiss on Elise’s lips. “Absolutely I am.” He directed his attention back to Felicia. “I left your mother a nice surprise this morning. Did she like it?”
Felicia thought of Loreta’s retching that morning, thought of the panic and fear in her face when she’d discovered the body, thought about what her dad and Elise were accusing her of now. She’d tried to kill David? She’d left him for dead in a dumpster? It should have made Felicia sick to her stomach; instead, it made her proud. Proud that Loreta had finally fought back. After all those years, she’d finally decided enough was enough.
If only she’d made sure he was dead.
Pushing up from the couch, Felicia faced her fear, faced the man who haunted her nightmares, who put bruises on her childhood. She met his dark eyes, ignoring Elise completely. “She didn’t like it. And neither did I. That was a shitty thing to do, but I wouldn’t expect any more from you. Did you even know the man you killed?”
She started pacing the floor. David and Elise just stared at her, surprised by her confident tone of voice, her brisk and casual movements. “That doesn’t matter. Nothing matters except what happens now.”
Using all of her strength, Felicia rammed into Elise, knocking her back across the room and into a table with candles scattered across it. After a brief struggle, she wrenched the gun away from the girl who used to be her best friend, jammed it between her breasts, closed her eyes and shot.
As Elise’s body went limp, Felicia spun around, trained the gun on David, whose eyes were wide with shock. She thought of Loreta, thought of all that she’d done and all that she’d sacrificed to make Felicia’s life as comfortable as possible, to make her feel loved. And she didn’t regret at all pulling the trigger.
She didn’t regret watching his skeletal frame fold like a broken rag doll onto the floor.
She didn’t regret losing him this second time.
She didn’t regret anything. And she knew just where she’d hide the bodies.
Looking down at her father’s broken, lifeless form, she heaved a tired sigh and said, “Dad, it’s time to throw you away for good.”