An Evening of Cabernet and Killing Reflections

The evening ended in typical fashion, with us sitting around Karen’s living room, discussing the latest pick for our book club and gulping vintage Italian Cabernet. But we weren’t really discussing the book tonight. The lights were too dim to make out any of the words; shadows of antique silver candlesticks and bronze picture frames lingered over the soft pink walls, while the Chinese Chippendale mirror barely reflected our hunched silhouettes. Thank goodness for wine.

Unbeknownst to most of us, we had killed our tenth victim earlier tonight in Sandhill Forest. But Lois, who is an excellent accountant and did all our taxes each year with precision, kept count and thought it would be interesting to note. For this evening’s activity, we had gone into the forest two by two, each holding a small plastic bag with gloved hands, while Karen led the way with flashlight. When we reached the first designated site, we took out a few pieces, a hand, a thigh, and the bottom of the torso, and buried those. Then we marched on, dug three more sites, and buried the rest, except for the head and penis, which we had already burnt in a small bonfire. In the beginning, we would torch the whole body out of precaution, but we have gotten better at this, no longer newbies.

Karen’s Labrador barks occasionally at fireflies in the backyard, but otherwise it is quiet. We try to think back to those first few times we killed together, and it seems so long ago now it is ancient history. Over the years we amassed a grand reputation among the police and special enthusiasts. No matter how pesky our children got, or whose husband cheated, we moved along with each plan and each kill. We may miss a book club here or there due to PTA or fundraisers, and weekends are hard with the kids home, but the show always goes on. The first one ever was a wife beater who disguised himself as a peach farmer. The second was a middle school math teacher who liked getting sucked on by his male students. And then there was the family dentist whose hands would find themselves way below the mouth of his patients. The order after that becomes hazy.

Lois clears her throat to get our attention, and looks apologetic for having brought this up. We don’t need to say anything to know what everyone else is thinking. It has been three years and we have gotten to the number we aimed for. Lois puts down her wine glass and twiddles her thumbs. She is wearing a green turtleneck and heavy makeup to hide the bruises on her cheek and neck. She doesn’t realize her sweat has washed away half of the makeup and purple marks are clearly visible. Lois had always been the cautious, if not cowardly one. She never could have anticipated her passing comment could have resulted in our accomplishment today. We don’t take notice of her, only of the empty wine bottle and whether there would be another. And who would be next. Ten may be an accomplishment, but eleven has a nicer ring.

We finish the wine and Karen goes to get another bottle. The Labrador has stopped barking, and light raindrops are starting to hit the windows. Wind is picking up and tree branches are wavering under the pressure. The sky lights up for a microsecond, followed by a loud crack. Summer storms are difficult to predict, but tonight’s rain is perfectly timed. We lie back on the plush leather couch seats and wait for the wine. The steel woodpecker wall clock chimes, the little bird pecks its beak with each sound. Eleven chimes later, Karen comes back with a brand new bottle of Champaign. And so we all raise a glass.

Note: I wrote this piece for a writing class, it is meant to be the beginning of a long piece, but as it stands, I like the scene that has been set up.

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