The roar of the motorcycle zooming up the driveway and into the garage woke Keri. Again! Damn drunk of a brother-in-law! She didn’t need to look at the clock. It would be after two when the bars closed on Friday nights. She hurried to lodge the kitchen chair against the locked door of her bedroom. If Keri failed to act, good old drunk Richard would “accidentally” jump into bed with her. She stood by the door listening to Richard stumble and bumble his way in the house. As she turned back to her bed, loud pounding began on the bedroom door startling her.
“KERI LET ME IN!”
“Go to your own room. Richard you’re drunk.”
The banging continued. “Come on Keri. How bout a good night kiss?”
“I’m not your wife! Sleep it off and keep your hands off my sister!” She heard Richard rush into the bathroom probably vomiting. Then she pictured his large body bouncing off the walls and falling onto his own bed passed out till morning. Keri removed the chair and unlocked the door. It would be safe now. When she opened the door, she spied a light on. More than likely her sister Liz. She loved her sister but Liz always played the victim never standing up for herself.
“Liz, you’re still up? It’s nearly three a.m.”
“Get a glass from the kitchen and have some Sparkling Red wine.” She took a long drink waiting for her sister to join her in the family room. “I’ll pour.” Her hands were shaking. “Guess you should pour Keri.”
Keri regarded her sister. If not for Liz’s short black hair, they could pass for twins. Liz’s watery green eyes stared back at Keri. “Is that a fresh bruise by your eye?”
“Yes.” Liz admitted.
“You can’t live like this. Leave Richard.”
“And go where? I have no money. Our parents have been gone over six years. Should I live in a shelter?”
“We could leave together. I”ll help you.” Keri wore her long black hair in a single braid down her back. About three years younger than Liz, Keri remained the practical sister. “Jim isn’t coming back. I’m free to do what I want.”
“I’m sorry Jim walked out on you.” She produced a Kleenex from the pocket of her pink robe and dabbed her eyes.
“Left in the middle of the night and he never came back. That asshole!” Keri sipped her wine then sat her glass on the coffee table. “When the bank foreclosed, I lost the house. I couldn’t afford the payments by myself.”
“We took you in. I’m not having my sister sleeping under a bridge or in a homeless shelter.”
“I appreciate that sis. I’ve worn out my welcome. I need to leave. Richard hates me. And I’m scared to be around him.”
Liz said,”I used to love Rich. We never had kids. I think he’s blamed me for that.” She couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. “How did everything turn to shit?”
Keri threw her arms around Liz. “I’m here for you. There’s got to be a better life than this.” They sat quietly hugging for what seemed like hours but it lasted only minutes. Finally Keri spoke,”Let’s get some sleep. I’ll think of something. Good night sis.”
A loud buzzing sound, Rich reached for his cell on the nightstand. “What time is it? Seven thirty? Frank why are you calling so early? Raining? Didn’t even watch a weather forecast last night. They’re wrong most times. All day rain? There goes our golf outing. You call the other guys? Well thanks for telling me. I’m going back to sleep.”
“Who called?” Liz asked. She heard the rain hitting the roof.
“Frank. No golf today. Damn, I counted on drinking and golfing all day. Why don’t you take a shower and make me some breakfast?” Rich closed his eyes.
Liz couldn’t sleep so she grabbed her robe and headed for the shower. Whatever happened to the mornings when Rich wouldn’t let her get out of bed or when he would join her in the shower? She tried hard not to cry again. Liz let him sleep as long as possible, less hours together the better. He must have gained fifty pounds in their twelve years of marriage, she thought shaking her head. “Rich, ten minutes till breakfast if you wanna get a shower.”
Rich mumbled something and walked down the short hallway to the bathroom. Within minutes he threw on his old black jeans and black Harley Davidson sleeveless t-shirt. He towel dried his short brown hair tossing the towel on the bathroom floor.
Liz brought a plate of bacon, fried eggs and toast to the kitchen table. She poured his cup of black coffee. “Not shaving today?”
“Why bother? Not going anywhere but the garage. Guess I’ll work on my bike.”
Liz sat at the table watching him eat. She drank the remainder of her orange juice.
“You should drink coffee,” Rich said as he chewed his bacon.
“We’ve had this discussion too many times. I just don’t like the taste of it. Besides, there’s more for you,” she reasoned.
“Your tramp sister drinks it too. When’s she moving out? No wonder Jim ran out on her! And we’re not getting any rent from her, that lazy bitch!”
“Don’t call her that!”
“Watch it Liz. Don’t raise your voice to me! I don’t wanna hit you.”
“I’m sorry Rich.” She pushed in her chair. Thunder crashed through the sky and the rain poured down even harder. “I’m waking Keri before I sort laundry downstairs.”
Rich finished his coffee and carried his dishes to the sink. One last thing for her to bitch about leaving stuff on the table, he thought. Liz walked past him on the way to the basement, any reason to get away from Rich. He heard the shower, Keri.
A simple twist of the doorknob, Rich entered the bathroom. He pulled back the shower door reaching through the hot water and steam. His hand grabbed Keri’s ass.
“What are you doing?” Keri raised her voice pulling away. “I locked that door.”
“And I have the key.”
“You son of a bitch! Why are you here?”
“Admiring the view Keri. You know we could hook up again. Pretty sweet last time.”
“I was drunk. I didn’t know what I was doing.”
“Think bout it. Your sister’s a coldhearted bitch but you’re as hot as a firecracker on the fourth of July.” He laughed closing the shower door. “I’ll be in the garage if you change your mind. Liz never goes out there.”
Keri dressed in jean shorts and a blue patterned blouse. She reached the kitchen finding a blueberry muffin for breakfast. When she heard the washing machine start, she hurried to the kitchen counter before Liz returned. She poured the remainder of the hot coffee in the Packers travel mug, Rich’s favorite. “I’ll be right back,” she told Liz as she passed her in the kitchen.
Rich enjoyed spending time by himself in the garage, an attached garage so he didn’t have to deal with the pouring rain. He cranked up his XM radio to classic Rolling Stones. He turned to his Harley. His motorcycle cost a lot of money still worth every penny. He began wiping off his bike when the side door opened.
Keri entered the garage. She wore her dark hair straight down her back instead of the usual long braid.
“Change your mind Keri?” Rich hoped for a positive response.
“We don’t have much time.” Keri handed him the Packers mug. “You can drink the rest of the coffee. I’ll put on a show you’ll never forget.”
Rich grinned and drank the hot coffee. True to her word, Keri swayed her hips to the music and started to unbutton her blouse. Rich gulped down the final drops of coffee. Something hit him hard. His stomach exploded and white foam came out of his mouth. He took two steps towards Keri. What did that bitch do to me? He fell straight down dead.
Keri knelt down holding her hand by his neck. No pulse as she expected. Blood spilled from his smashed face that landed on the hard concrete floor. Time to tell Liz the good news. She clicked off the loud music remembering to rebutton her blouse as she left the garage.
“You need to come with me to the garage,” Keri said.
“Can it wait?” Liz asked.
“No.” Keri held Liz’s hand and walked her out to the garage.
“OH MY GOD!” Liz screamed. “CALL 911!” Blood mixed with the white foam around Rich’s head.
“We can’t call 911. Calm down.”
“What do you mean we can’t?”
“I poisoned him. I spiked his coffee.”
“YOU KILLED HIM?” Liz yelled.
Keri slapped her across the face. “He needed to die. Let’s clean up. Put that coffee mug in the dishwasher. I’ll take the shower curtain to wrap him in.”
“We’re going to jail!”
“SHUT UP!” Keri demanded. “No we’re not. Give me your cell phone. I don’t want you doing anything stupid.” Liz surrendered her cell. “We’ll get rid of his body when it gets dark. We need a story to explain Rich’s disappearance.”
Liz’s shaking hand picked up the Packers mug and returned to the kitchen. Keri passed her carrying the shower curtain. She would have to do all the work. Liz wouldn’t be mentally ready to be much help.
Placing the shower curtain on the concrete floor, it took all of Keri’s strength to roll Rich over onto the plastic. An occasional salad would have helped Rich! The next step involved cleaning the blood off the floor. She searched the garage and the basement until she found a bottle of bleach and a scrub brush. Then Keri had to force Liz to help lift Rich’s body into the back of the white SUV.
Nobody ate lunch. And dinner seemed in doubt too. Liz would burst into tears until she agreed with Keri to lay down for a very restless nap.
Keri watched it rain. The new normal seemed to be settling in. No more Richard. The house belonged to Liz and Keri. But they needed a cover story. What could they say to Rich’s friends and co-workers? At least it was Saturday. Monday and his job would be here soon enough.
Suddenly a car pulled in the driveway. A man walked to the front door. Keri jumped into action when the doorbell rang.
“I’m Frank,” said the tall blond-haired man in a green raincoat. “Can I talk to Rich?”
Liz paused sorting through a series of lies to tell then selected one. “I’m sorry to tell you – Rich and Liz separated. I don’t know where he is.”
“How about Liz? Is she home?” Frank continued.
“Yes, but she’s napping. As you would expect, she’s very upset. Now is not a good time. Sorry.”
“Well tell Rich I stopped by. No real surprise they split up. I kinda saw it coming.” He returned to his car. Keri watched him leave through the sheets of pouring rain.
Night enveloped the sky and the rain continued to fall. Keri greeted her sleepy sister with a tray of hot tea, toast and a Valium. “This will make you feel better Liz.”
“Is Rich really dead or did I have a nightmare?”
“He’s dead.” Keri replied coldly. “Get over it. It’s for your own good. Eat up. We need to leave soon. Wear old clothes and boots.”
Keri had changed so she threw two shovels in the SUV and backed it out of the garage. Finally Liz left the house carrying her purse. Wordlessly, she sat next to Keri.
“I’ll drive. I know where I’m going,” Keri said trying to reassure her sister.
After several minutes Liz couldn’t control the panic in her voice,”What if the police stop us? We have Rich’s dead body in the car!”
“The police won’t bother us,” Keri replied calmly. “I’m driving the speed limit. Cops don’t wanna step out in the rain if they can stay in a warm, dry police car.”
“I feel sick to my stomach. This was a mistake. You shouldn’t have killed him Keri.”
Keri slammed on the brakes pulling to the side of the road. “SHUT UP LIZ! Did you forget about all the times he hit you? Someday you’ll realize that your little sis gave you a new life!” Then she jerked the SUV back on the road.
Liz sat and stared at the wipers fighting the losing battle to keep the rain off the windshield. She fought back tears. Maybe I’ll wake up in my own bed next to a snoring Richard, she thought. Suddenly she blurted out,”How do you know where to get rid of a dead body?”
Keri looked straight ahead. “It doesn’t matter how I know. I just know where to go.”
“Have you done this before? Kill someone?”
“Be quiet sis. Don’t make me angry!”
Silence fell again. The drive continued through the rain. Keri slowly turned at the Granger National Park sign. Minutes passed as she navigated the dark roads illuminated only by the SUV headlights. She drove off the paved road following a dirt road for several more miles.
The SUV stopped. Keri reached for the two shovels. “Come on. We have work to do.” She led Liz to a small grove of trees and started shoveling. “Help me Liz. I can’t do all the digging.”
Liz reluctantly joined in. She cried freely only the rain washed away her tears.
“Be happy it rained all day. It’s a lot easier to dig in the mud.” Keri seemed to be doing twice the work but decided not to say anything. At least Liz helped.
More time passed as the digging continued. Suddenly, Liz screamed out,”There’s another body down there!”
“That would be Jim.”
“My god Keri! You killed him too!”
“Shut up Liz!”
“We grew up in the same house with the same parents. How could you turn into a cold blooded killer?”
“That’s enough sis!”
“I’m calling the police! Give me my cell back. You’re sick you need help Keri.”
“You’re not calling the police!” Keri raised her shovel over her head. “There’s room for three bodies down there!” She slammed the shovel onto Liz’s head striking her again and again.
She shoved Liz’s lifeless body into the large hole. “You wanna spend forever with Richard? You got your wish Liz.” Dragging, pushing Rich’s body from the SUV, Keri was exhausted. But she found the strength to shovel all the dirt onto her new victims’ bodies.
Keri’s mind considered the new situation. She laughed out loud. Of course it would work. The drive seemed faster this time. She grabbed Liz’s purse and entered the house.
A hot shower is just what the doctor ordered. Once the steam cleared, Keri found the scissors in the drawer. She leaned Liz’s picture on the bathroom mirror. In a way, she would miss her long hair. Her newly cut hair covered the sink. Keri smiled at her work.
The pile of her muddy clothes including the boots filled a trash bag. Keri raided Liz’s clothes closet. Liz’s clothes fit her, not as tight as her usual wardrobe. Next, her handwriting had to be perfect. Keri practiced repeatedly as she sat in her new family room. At last Keri looked at her reflection in the mirror saying,”Hello, my name is Liz.”