by Scott Manley Hadley
Format: Flash Fiction | Genre: General Fiction
Content warning: violence
The dead dog rattles in its box on the back seat. I’m driving as fast as I can, faster than I should. All I brought with me were the box and the spade. The spade that I used to split Declan’s fucking skull open as I got out. The box. The box. The dog in the box was mine, was my friend, years ago. Years ago, it died. It died long enough ago that its body rattles when it shakes. There are loose bones in the box, there is destroyed skin, there is an animal – a raw, dead animal – in the box. It is the rotted corpse of a canine, no longer the peaceful body of Edgar, my Edgar.
When I managed to finally tear the ropes that had kept me still for so long, I picked up Edgar’s box, his wooden box, the wooden box that Declan had forced me to sit next to for however long I had been there. I held the box in my hands, and when he opened the door, I used it as a battering ram. I pushed out; remembering the layout of the house, I pushed right. He was shocked enough to let me past. I ran down the stairs, gripping the box in front of me. I heard Declan scream, but I carried on, I didn’t stop. I burst through the door into the garden and stumbled. The box flew from my hands; I reached for it as I heard my captor’s feet hit the hall running. Instead of Edgar, I picked up a rusty spade lying on the concrete path, stood up and, spinning quicker than I would have believed possible, smashed the edge of the metal into the side of Declan’s skull as he stepped into the light. He was floored, and before he could move, I raised the spade above his eyebrows and brought it down down down down down down down until his face was a dismantled, unrecognisable mess. Yes.
I balanced the spade on top of Edgar’s box, placed them in the back seat of Declan’s unlocked car and went and found the key in his pocket. I drove away, off the dirt track, Edgar’s bones shaking against each other behind me. I had to find a police station. And I had to find a notebook. Declan had cut my tongue out as punishment the last time I tried to escape. As I’d run towards the village I was grabbed from behind. He’d injected something into my neck and I’d woken up without a tongue. This was years ago.
But now he’s dead. And I am free. Now he’s dead and I am free. I almost can’t believe it. Edgar will get the burial he deserves, and I will get a new tongue. I hope to god the NHS will give me a new tongue.