Part of my half-asleep mind tried to identify the sound. The other part resolutely kept my eyes closed and tried to shut out the sound. That part of me knew it was way too early.
I turned over and buried myself in the covers, still denying the part of my mind that wanted to know what the sound was.
It finally got my attention by suggesting that someone was in my house. Before the sleepy side could argue, my blood was spiked with adrenaline and I was on my feet. My .45 was in my right hand, and the safety had already been thumbed off. My senses sharper now, I listened.
The sound was not in the house. Dammit. Has my training failed me? Am I hyper-vigilant now? An image, a mountain man shooting at everything that moved, bloomed in my mind. I banished the thought. No way. I love sleep too much to become one of those jerks.
The sound was coming from the yard. So far, my vigilance was still appropriate. Wait, I know that sound. It’s someone digging. Why the hell is the gardener here at 3 am? I lowered the .45 and peeked out the window. Out in the yard, between the two giant cottonwoods, someone (not the gardener) was digging.
Scrape, thump. This seems familiar.
I thumbed the safety back on and laid the .45 down on the end table. I seemed to recall this guy couldn’t hurt me. I opened the back door and strolled outside.
The figure was fuzzy, and seemed to shimmer slightly with each step I took. The whole area between the cottonwoods was shimmering, like a wormhole in space or a portal to an alternate universe. Too many sci-fi shows, I thought. But it still seemed familiar.
The figure didn’t notice me until I was about 20 feet away. When he did, he reacted so quickly I only saw the quick blur of his arm as an afterimage. Two shots rang out before the shovel handle hit the ground. When I didn’t fall, two more shots followed in rapid succession. The pattern of sounds finally called up the old memory that had been trying to poke out of its filing cabinet in my brain.
“Put that away,” I snapped. The memory of the words echoed in my head. The figure just stared at me from behind the gun. It was still too dark to see, but I knew who the man was.
“Who are you?” he demanded, and the words echoed in my head again. It was strange to be playing it out on the other side.
“I’m you. Now stop digging there. It’s one of the first places they’ll look. Dump that fool in the river. He’ll be in Mexico by the time anyone misses him.”
Jonathan is an accounting consultant who daydreams a lot, and enjoys writing dystopian fiction and horror. He currently lives in Albuquerque with his truck and computer.