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Miles to Go

It can be a long, cold, lonely walk down the road to redemption....

Just keep your eye on the prize, and remember when they say "best served cold, they mean nut-numbing subzero.

Miles to Go by C. Bradley Guest




Fuck it was cold.

Even wearing all those layers of clothing. Had to be careful though, take it as easy as possible. Exertion caused sweat and at these temperatures Charly knew sweat could kill.

Charly had learned early on that hypothermia was nothing to fool around with. Things had come this far, there was no way it was going to get screwed up, not so close to the end of the matter. Miles to go. Miles.

By the best calculations, the lake was a good six miles from where the car was parked. No one would find the body until well into the spring thaw. The sledge made it a bit easier, and the snowshoes helped immensely. Miles to go. The thought made Charly chuckle. Miles to go before I sleep. 

Charly had always hated that poem. That had changed, once this whole thing got started.

The other two had suffered similar methods of disposal, one as yet still undiscovered deep in the Sonoran desert. With any luck, it could be years before he was found. The other was feeding alligators, catfish and crawdads somewhere in the Everglades.

It was moments like this that made Charly glad to grow up with an Army Ranger for a father, and there was hope that he'd be proud right now, using all of those long-scorned skills. Hell, he'd probably be here, helping take care of this situation, if he were still alive.

All those years spent complaining about "Survival Vacations." Charly muttered out loud, "Thanks Dad, I mean it.”

Charly looked at the wrist thermometer. 14 below zero. Wind about 15 miles an hour. So wind chill would be some place between 35 and 40 below. Fuck, it was cold. Miles to go.

12 miles round trip. Needed to get to the lake, then back to the car and on the road before dawn; no reason to attract any more attention than necessary.

Fuck, it was cold. Another glance at the wrist: 23 below. The wind had calmed a little once the sun had gone down, but with no cloud cover, it was going to get colder.

Better get a move on.

Charly thought back to how miserable it had been dropping Jessie off in the 'glades. Humid as hell, just about every bug imaginable biting any bare patch of skin, no matter how much DEET got applied to it, piloting that damned canoe by the moon and stars. There was no way to use anything else out there; this kind of thing had to be done quietly.

Jessie had struggled in the bottom of the canoe. Charly gave him half a dozen shallow cuts and pushed him into the water. The burlap bags of sand and gravel pulled his naked form to the bottom quickly. Eventually it would all just go back to nature, nothing to trace.

Miles to go still. The moon was up, just a few days short of full. It was a beautiful night, even better for the task at hand. Charly's toes were cold, but that was a good sign. When they went numb was the time to worry.

Harry was a whole lot easier. Charly figured he didn't wake up for several hours after he'd been shoved off the back of the horse, naked. Nothing but snakes, scorpions and Joshua trees stretching off into the distance. It would take a week to walk out of that desert.

Charly wasn't completely heartless. Leaving him an old used piece of fiberglass insulation to keep him warm at night. He might have lasted a couple days but that was doubtful. Charly smiled at the thought of his desiccated body, out there in the scorching sun, being torn apart by the scavengers that were so much better than the body that was feeding them.

Charly was deep in thought when the trees parted and there was the lake. The stream was just where it was supposed to be, the ice thin enough to break through with the ball peen hammer with little effort. Charly slipped the last body under the ice and watched it sink, a slight chuckle breaking the snowy silence.

Charly watched as he sank, and felt a sense of completion. He'd frozen to death somewhere between the car and the lake. Shit like that happens when you go out in these temperatures naked.

The trek back to the jeep went quicker than Charly expected; the sun was just coming up as the Jeep crossed the state line, another few hours to the hotel, and a hot bath.

"They deserved what they got," Charly thought with no remorse.

It had taken months to track those bastards down. All those sleepless nights, waking up screaming, in a cold sweat.

"Closure," the Doc had said. "If you want to get a full night’s sleep you need to get some closure."

Charly glanced at the digital clock on the dash. 9:00 a.m. Smiled and keyed the Bluetooth headset. "Call Dr. Sanderson."

The phone rang a few times before the receptionist answered, all smiles and happiness. "Dr. Sanderson’s office. How may I help you?"

"Hi, it's Charlene Fullerton. Would you be so kind as to let the doctor know I'll no longer be in need of her services? She knows where to send any outstanding bills."

Jessie, Harry and Miles.

They never would have been able to rape her again and again for over a week in that shed if they hadn't drugged her first.

She had saved Miles for last; it had become her mantra.

"Miles to go, before I sleep."


C. Bradley Guest lives in a 39-foot RV with 7 cats and his wife. He’s got anger issues and memory problems. So he gets pissed but forgets why. He’s had one other story published: “The insomniac,” on flashesinthedark.com.