This day of waking up to trouble was never going to end. And it was turning out the worst day of my life.
“What the hell are you talking about, Petey?” I was on my feet and I felt like smacking him–just for being the bearer of more annoying news. “What do you mean he overturned himself?”
“He’s lying on his stomach right now. I was restless, what normal person wouldn’t be with a dead man in the house?” He gave us a look that said he didn’t consider us normal. “So I decided to take a peep—make sure nothing was going wrong. And there he was right on his stomach.”
I stared at him. “So?”
“He wasn’t lying stomach up when you and Leye dropped him in my room.” Petey stated. “You dropped him on his back, face up.”
“We did?” I looked at Leye. He yanked up his shoulders. But there was a faint alarm in his eyes. “Get out of my way.” I shoved Petey aside. “And what was that about hearing flapping sounds?”
“Heard that as I was bolting from the room. You didn’t expect me to stand there when I found him face down instead of face up, did you?” Petey added defensively.
“I didn’t expect you to be sneaking about him when everyone else was busy.” I snarled, slowing to allow Leye go ahead. I wasn’t afraid, just cautious.
“I wasn’t sneaking about him.” Petey hotly denied. “You asked me to keep watch over him to make sure he doesn’t grow wings and fly off. That was what I was doing.”
“I was teasing, stupid! But of course, your dim-witted mind took it literally.”
“I am not stupid and my mind is not dim-witted!”
“Pardon my error.” I tossed him a sneering stare. “I forgot, you don’t have a mind at all.”
“Can you two stop squabbling?” Berlin cried from behind Petey. “We might have a ghost on our hand right now.”
“Don’t be silly, Berlin!” I threw her a scathing stare. “Ghosts are only figments of our imagination.”
“Really? And since when did you start to believe that?” Berlin glared back at me.
“Since I don’t believe every fancy story I hear.” We were all now huddled at the corridor with no one making any attempt to push open Petey’s bedroom door. “Open the door, Leye. If he’s grown wings, then he can use them to fly out of my house.”
I wasn’t really the brave heart I was acting. But I didn’t believe Petey’s wild tale of flapping sounds—or overturned bodies either.
“If he gets me, the rest of you make a good run for it.” Leye said, then winked and stepped forward to open the door. “Can’t hear a single sound though.” He had his ear cocked towards the door. “You sure you heard anything, Petey?”
“He didn’t.” And because I was suddenly irritated, I reached out and opened the door myself. “Oh my God! He’s gone!”
“What?” They all chorused in varied shrieks.
“Yeah right.” I scoffed and stepped into the room. “He’s on his stomach though.” I narrowed my eyes and studied the face down still form. “Did we dump him on his stomach, Leye?”
“Can’t have done.” Once again, Leye gave the body a leg kick. “We carried him in face up. I had his legs.” He the leg another kick. “And you had his hands. Don’t recall us twisting him around.”
“You didn’t. He twisted himself around.” Petey’s voice trembled in from the corridor. “He was on his back when we first left him. He turned himself in the process of wanting to become a ghost. I’m sure of it.”
“You’re sure of nothing.” If he was any closer to me, I’d have slapped him. “There isn’t a process to becoming a ghost. And obviously, he’s not one since he’s still lying here stone dead.”
“Then why is he face down?” There was an echo of suspicion in Petey’s voice now.
“Because we left him like that.” I snapped. “That’s the only logical explanation. We dumped him face down, not face up as you thought.”
“You didn’t. I looked hard at him after you two tossed him on my bedroom floor.” Petey persisted. “He was on his back and his face was turned the other way—to the left.”
“What if he isn’t dead.”
Berlin’s quiet words had us all staring at her like she’d lost her mind.
“He might not be.” She said with a defensive shrug.
“Does that body over there look like its breathing to you?” Impatient, I stepped forward and gave John Doe a hard nudge that put him back on his back. “This immobile face looks like the face of a living man to you, Berlin?”
“I don’t know. I have no experience with dead people.” Berlin looked at Leye. “Maybe you should check his pulse.”
“He’s dead, Berlin. Stone, hard-as-rock dead. He’s been immobile, unresponsive and out cold.” Leye pulled back his right leg and shoved the foot into John Doe’s bare thigh. “See that? That kick could have woken anyone. Anyone who’s not dead.”
“Maybe he’s in a coma.” Petey said.
“He’s dead! Dead and I want him out of my house.” I pressed my right hand to my head because I could feel a headache building. “We are taking him out of here.”
“Out of my room? Thank God.” Petey heaved a sigh of relief.
“Out of the house.” I turned to Leye. “We need to dump him elsewhere. Elsewhere far from here.”
He nodded. “Like where?”
“Have no idea.” The idea of dumping the body elsewhere just came to me. “Maybe in a dumpster. That might mean we’d have to wrap the body in something.”
“But how would we carry the body out of here?” Berlin demanded.
“Same way we got it in here.” I replied. “We take him out, get him into my car…”
“My car would be better.” Leye cut in. “My Highlander’s got more boot.”
“There. We’ll use Leye’s Highlander.” I gave Leye my first smile ever. He was turning out to be quite the handy fella.
“We can’t just walk out of here carrying a dead body.” Berlin protested. “Someone might catch us. I bet Tracy is at home right now with her Alex. They’re bound to see us.”
“Which is exactly why we won’t be moving John Doe until it’s dark.” I retorted.
“I think we’re going too far, Tec.” Petey wimped. “Dumping dead bodies must be a crime. What if we are caught by the Police?”
“How about you stop thinking negative and realise this is the only way we can get out of this mess?” I snapped at him.
“We’d be in worse mess if we run into the Police with that body in our boot.” Petey insisted. “And I don’t think we all should be going to dump the body anyway.”
“We’re not going to run into the Police. And everyone is going. We are in this together now and no one is backing out.” I pushed him out of the way and walked out of the room. “Now, everybody out. Let’s leave John Doe to have some quiet moments until we can take him to his final resting place.”
“I don’t feel good about taking his body out of here, Tec.” Petey moaned.
“You never feel good about anything, Petey, so shut up.”
I wasn’t particularly feeling good about going to dump a dead body at a dumpster either. But when desperate, you never question your choices.
And so we spent the rest the day scheming on how we are going to get John Doe out of the house and into Leye’s Highlander. Leye proved himself resourceful again by suggesting that instead of the boot of the car, we put John Doe on the back seat with some of us sitting with him, so he looks like a sleeping guy should we run into the Police—as Petey kept lamenting.
Of course, Petey, and Berlin at some point, kept swearing down they weren’t going to sit with John Doe. Wimps!
“You hold on to him, you spineless wimp!” I snarled, completely out of patience. “It has to be you and Leye holding him, so it looks like a guy thing.”
“I am not touching him. And we’re not having any guy thing with him.” Petey stubbornly stuck his hands into his armpits. “I don’t know him, and he is dead.”
“No one here knows him.” God, I hate him! “But we found him dead on our backyard and since none of us killed him, we have to get rid of him.”
“It’s your backyard, and I’m still not touching him.”
“Gutless coward!” He was so top five on my one trillion and one most hated things in the world list. “Leye, we’ll hold on to him. Pull him along between us. Someone asks, he’s drunk and out cold. Berlin?” I swung my gaze to her. “Hold the door open. And try to look less like you’re a cast member in a horror movie.”
“I don’t like that we’re doing this, Tec.” Despite her whining protest, Berlin held the door as Leye and I hefted up John Doe. “What if we are caught and end up in prison for a murder we didn’t commit.”
“So we should leave the body here to rot?” I grunted and struggled to keep still my churning stomach. God, can’t believe I have a dead body leaning against me.
“You should call the Police and tell them the truth of how you found the body on your doorstep.” Petey jumped out of our way as we lumbered down the corridor.
“Hear how you keep saying ‘you’?” I angled my body to the side, evading the edge of the couch. “It’d be just me when all of this is over. Can’t stand dickless traitors in my home. Note that.”
“I’m not a traitor, Tec. I’m just scared for us.”
“Now it’s us? How convenient.” I was tossing him out once this was over.
“Berlin, scan the area and make sure no one is outside.” Leye puffed out the instruction. “Petey, take over holding the door. And once we’re out, go handle the car backseat door.”
“I think he’s turning blue.” Petey peered at John Doe with sickly eyes. “He’s looking dead , no one’s going to believe he’s just drunk.”
“He’s not blue. But if you want to see what looking blue looks like, keep rattling about him being dead while we’re out in the open and I will show you with my fists.” I elbowed him out of the doorway and threw a glance at Berlin. “See anyone?”
“No. It’s clear.” Berlin still tossed a cautious look around. “But we have to be quick. Anyone can stroll out anytime.”
“Just keep your eyes open.” I ordered, fixing a casual expression as we walked outside with John Doe dragging his feet between us. “Get the backseat door, Petey. Be quick.”
“You should get in first, Tec.” Leye puffed out another instruction. “Someone has to be inside to drag him in.”
“Right.” I didn’t relish the idea but it needed to be done. “Petey, can you swallow your whimpers and just hold him while I get in?”
“Tec, I told you…”
“Just shut up and hold him!” I snapped.
“Oh dear God!”
Berlin’s gasp came same time Tracy’s voice echoed from behind us.
“What the heck is going on here? And who is that?”
“Oh, bloody hell!” I swore. “I hate today.”