The Love of the Dead

The Love of the Dead by Craig Saunders Read Free Book Online

Book: The Love of the Dead by Craig Saunders Read Free Book Online
Authors: Craig Saunders
gloves, while the Xbox played on in the living room. She cleaned while the moon rose and left. Her knees ached and her back sent needles shooting all the way from her kidneys up to her neck and back, down into her shoulders.
    Finally, she tossed her cleaning rags into the trash and put all the soiled clothes and towels and the tablecloth into the washing machine.
    She walked into the living room. She sat in her armchair, facing away from the TV and the bloody endless games, facing her son.
    Then she poured a glass. Right to the brim. Drank it down in two, and filled it up again. Drank it. Filled it.
    Miles ignored her. Sulking. A bit young for sulking, but then he’d be a teenager by now.
    He had a gaping wound in his neck, but it wasn’t a patch on the ribs poking though his Lara Croft T-shirt. She’d put up a fight about that shirt. Her husband had overruled her. Miles got the T-shirt. Now he was dead and she had to look at the stupid thing every single day.
    “Miles,” she said, softly. He was angry. She didn’t want to make a scene. For a dead boy, he could kick up a hell of a fuss if he was in a mood. “Miles. Can we have the TV off now? Mummy’s got a headache. Please?”
    Miles turned and looked at his mother, then turned back to the TV.
    She got the message.
    She’d take her drink on the back porch. Then she could smoke in peace without him glaring at her. He didn’t like it if she smoked. He didn’t like it if she drank.
    Fuck it, though, she thought as she sat on the back porch and drank and smoked while the tears poured down her cheeks.
    He was dead. She wasn’t, and she wanted to get drunk.


Part Two
    The Fool

Chapter Seventeen
    Friday 14 th November
    The phone woke Beth up. She worked her desiccated tongue around her mouth, round her teeth, trying to conjure spit. It was a losing battle. Shaking, she pushed herself to her feet and stumbled down the hall.
    The Xbox was off, thank God. Miles wasn’t about. Gone off to wherever the dead go. He didn’t sleep. He was dead. As dependents go, he was pretty low maintenance. She didn’t have to feed him, buy him new clothes, take him to Disneyland.
    She laughed bitterly to herself and picked the phone up halfway through the answer message.
    “Mrs. Willis?”
    Beth rubbed her eyes with a thumb and forefinger. She didn’t need this. Not now.
    “Detective. It’s early. I’m tired. Mostly, I’m not interested.”
    “Please, Mrs. Willis. Did you see the...”
    “Newspaper? Yes. Yes, I saw the fucking newspaper.”
    Last night I saw my dead son murdered. She didn’t say it. She didn’t tell the policeman she’d tucked away half a packet of Pall Malls and a two thirds of a bottle of shit whiskey, either. His business might be murderers, but hers was drinking, and he could mind his own.
    She heard him whisper, “Shit,” under his breath.
    She rubbed her tongue over the roof of her mouth.
    “I’m sorry. We...I mean, the police...I mean me. I didn’t have anything to do with that.”
    “You brought them to my door. Don’t you understand? He’s killing mediums, and you just painted a target on me. Don’t give me sorry or I didn’t know. Maybe he knows where I live. Maybe he’s already got me in his sights. But now he knows what I’ve been doing, that I’ve been working for you...he’s going to come for me. You planning to stop him?”
    “We can put a car outside your door. We can protect you.”
    “You can’t find him. You can’t protect me. You can’t stop him. You can’t do a damn thing.” She was angry. She didn’t try to hide it. With a hangover, someone murdering mediums, her name in the paper, she couldn’t have cared less if he knew it or not.
    “We can help you. Please, let me.”
    “Bullshit, but you know what? We’re even. You can’t help me, I can’t help you.”
    “There was another one last night. Two. A couple. Mary and Stan Westmoor.”
    Beth clenched her teeth together

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