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Authors: Robert E. Dunn

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BOOK: A Living Grave
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“This what?”
“How I am now. Before I met you . . .” His words faded and I thought perhaps he had fallen asleep or had simply shied from the thoughts behind his closed eyes. “Can you imagine?” he asked suddenly and in a stronger voice. “Can you imagine doing this alone?”
“No,” I said. It was the truth. Going alone into the world of pain and fear was a terrible thought. I'd had my own glimpses.
“Then . . . then I couldn't imagine making you go through it with me. I wanted them to shoot me so you wouldn't have
—all of this hell in your life.”
I didn't know what to say. I sat and held Nelson's hand and silently cried over it. It wasn't for me or him, either. All the tears spilling out of me at that moment were for time lost and chances set aside because of fear and doubt, the right way to act and the wrong thing to say, time spent hating and regretting instead of living. Then I wasn't so silent. My back was shaking and thick sobs pushed my mouth open. Tears rained from my eyes and watered the wasted skin on his hand still in my grip.
Nelson said, “You're blowing like a hurricane, you know.”
I didn't laugh.
Then he said, “I love you, Katrina.”
“I know,” I told him. “I love you too. So much.”
“But I love you more now than I did.”
“What do you mean?”
“Before, I loved you enough to die for you. Now—” He jerked my hand with surprising strength. “Listen to me. Look at me, Katrina. This is important.”
I looked him right in the eyes.

—” he said. “Now, I love you enough to live for you.”
That would be the perfect place to say everything was all right and the ending was happily ever after. That would be cheating all the days after of their meaning. It was work and it was scary but we got through it. When he got over the wall and got a glimpse of the world on the other side, he immediately asked for his tools to begin painting.
For my part, I tried—honestly tried—to keep the promises I'd made in prayer to my therapist. I found out it was not so easy to just let go of anger. It has a way of hiding in your personal shadows and hanging on. The therapist says it's a process, not an event or even a decision. I didn't hate going to see her so much anymore.
Even when you are in the middle of fighting for life, life itself has a way of ignoring you and going right on with its business. In the days that followed that awful night, Carrie Owens's father was released from jail and her mother arrested. Both Angela and Carrie had their funerals. The news did stories about them and Leech, then all were forgotten by those who didn't know them. Those who did would never be able to forget or understand.
There was a lot of blood but no bodies were found at Moonshines. Byron Figorelli and his buddy Jimmy Cardo turned up in a Louisiana bayou with a bullet hole each and hands wired behind their backs. I actually felt bad for Figorelli.
Things settled down. It was just life. I rarely touched the scar beside my eye and the dust of Iraq mostly stayed away. By then it was fall, but fall is really just the end of summer, that beautiful transition.
Robert E. Dunn
is the author of the novels
The Red Highway
The Dead Ground,
Behind the Darkness,
as well as the novella
Before writing novels he spent more than twenty years as a film and video producer for both corporate and broadcast projects. A full-time fiction writer, he now resides in Kansas City with his daughters, an old truck, and an even older dog.
He can be found online at or on Twitter at @WritingDead.
BOOK: A Living Grave
5.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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