(The Seven Series)
By D. E. Dunn (David Eric Dunn)
Copyright 2015 David Eric Dunn
Thank you for downloading this free ebook. If you enjoy it please leave a review, and share it with your friends. Also, please check out some of my other works for sale. Thank you for your support. -David
As I walk up the old dirt road and round off the path into a clearing in the woods, I see the graves dug for seven. The black within them somehow darker than the night.
Am I one? Is it my time to sleep?
“What do you see?” The voice of a shadow asks, arm outstretched towards one of the holes.
Reluctantly I approach, and standing at the edge, gaze within.
“Nothing…” I say flatly, unsure of what else could be said. Endless darkness, the hole too deep to see the bottom.
“What could you have done,…, to bring you here?” The voice inquires.
“A great many things…” I reply, as my world suddenly plunges into nothingness.
But this is not the beginning of things… nor the end.
I take my gaze from the swirling realms atop my coffee and watch the people as they pass in front of the large glass windows. A true observer, their faces unaware of me as they go about in their worlds.
Just where are they going? Who are they?
I guess I only wonder out of boredom. I’m sure some wonder about me, though I’d rather they not know.
The bell of the cafe door rings, the tapping shoes of a large crowd. Ones I recognize. Tony, Harry, Liam, Joe, Micheal, and Larry. My “associates.” They rib each other until they reach the table, taking a brief moment to stare down at me before fighting over their seats.
They continued, clannish among themselves as I sat on the verge of them, ignored accept for the occasional elbow bumping me as they chuckled.
After a while, the bell rang again. More who I knew, the enemy. A rival gang in a small town. The same, riffing among themselves until they came and took seats beside us. Then everyone looked uncomfortable, and all fell silent.
Until the bell rang again, and in walked our reason to be there. Strangers, who coincidentally looked quite strange. Dressed in black, as if trying to hide themselves, but we all knew who they were. The big league. International and all powerful, kind enough to bring us into the fold, but only together, as friend and foe.
Everyone relaxed a bit when they sat among us, more so when the food came. The big guys chatted at each other, whispering this and that as the rest of us ate, and at the end of the meal, we were expected to nod heads and shake hands. Agree, on what, we had no idea, but it had always worked out before. Smiles wide and bellies full we engaged each other vigorously, and everyone laughed. And so did I.
Sitting alone, unwinding from a long stormy day, the wet streets outside the bar awash with neon light. Staring into the ice melting into my whiskey, the joy of life melting away with the sorrow.
I’ve been with the police force for most of my life, I made detective quick and always turned down promotions in favor of the streets. I’ve worked homicide for almost all of my career, a glum matter that I felt like I contributed light towards, but lately it feels so empty.
The magic gone, clouded by turbulent thought. A past I had forgotten seeping into my mind, like sad memories on rainy days.
As I break my gaze from my drink I see one of the youngest big leagures across the bar, and take the chance to feel out my new ‘partner’.
“Detective…” He greets me without even turning to see who I am.
“You know about that huh?”
“We checked out everyone in your ‘family’, would you rather be addressed differently?”
“Detective is fine…”
“You sound disappointed, unhappy with your work?”
“No, I love my job, just certain parts of it bother me”
“That’s hard to avoid” He says a bit annoyed.
“Yeah, but sometimes you’re just born into unfortunate circumstances”
“I know how that this”, he mumbles under his breath.
“What was that?”
“Nothing” he rises gathering his coat, “We shouldn’t be talking”
“No? Aren’t we going to be seeing a lot of each other?”
“Buy yourself a drink” he sits a bill on the counter “Don’t think about it too much…” He stares at me head tilted with a single eye, and then walks away with a hurried step.
It was the middle of the night, my dreams wholly demanding my attention until the phone rang. 911. My tired eyes hoped as they gazed upon the numbers, that they were wrong. But I slowly awakened, and could deny no more, I was being called to an emergency.
The streets were empty, the concrete blending with the night sky. A light of the night owl here and there. The steam vents spewing forth furiously.
I looked upon them with the same tired eyes that denied the call. Their shabby forms, tattered and bloody, slumped over and lifeless. I hoped that this wasn’t real as I stared at them, the bodies of our enemies, gunned down, and no more.
My hand stroked my hair as my limbs twitched, my whole body hoping to deny. But I felt it the whole time, in the pit of my stomach, a darkness, a voice from it screaming for me to run.
It’s a long night gazing deeply into the photos of the dead. The overwhelming hum of silence fills the empty halls, the ceiling fan slowly spinning over my worn wooden desk as the minutes tick by.
This is one of those cases that unsettles me. I knew most of them since childhood, their bodies torn apart by bullets, like pulped produce. But there’s more than knowing them that bothers me. No witnesses, no gunshots heard, and the timing.
I’ve just been staring at the pictures all night, entranced in the terror of their lifeless eyes….
“Working late John?” A colleague breaks me from my stupor.
“Carl!, yeah, more bodies, you?”
“Yeah, tripped, now I’m gonna be here all night.”
“What’d you do?”
“You know how I always wanted to chew out Jerry? Well I did, and now he’s got me doing pony work.”
“Got you working on stolen junk mail?”
“Even worse unbelievably, ghost stories.”
“Yeah, ‘minute men’, kind of like the men in black that those alien nuts are always yapping about – except less real…”
“I didn’t know that we had little green men running around here.”
“These minute men aren’t about aliens, they’re supposed to be some shadow government, cover ups and world domination, all that crap.”
“Yeah, except there is no evidence of anyone encountering or even seeing them.”
“Then why does anyone even believe it?”
“‘The evidence for their existence is the lack of it….’, nuts”
“Well, I’m sorry for you.”
"Yeah thanks, they got nice artwork though" - he drops a page on my desk. -I know it, somehow.
“Mind if I keep this?”
“Sure, guess it beats bodies huh? – I’m getting back to work, get it back to me by morning.”
Staring at the drawing it takes some time but I finally place a part of it, a red and black clock tower. A pair of cufflinks that one of the big leagures was wearing at the cafe meeting. Even though it’s just fantasy, I feel a notch turn and fall into place, and suddenly the hands on the clock tick louder.
In too deep:
The gray clouds caught my eye as I walked through the door from my apartment building into the street. The growing signs of winter approaching as I bundled up in more and more. Another day, the same job, a similar call.
I looked at them and could no longer deny, in the crusted blood and the sack like corpses I could see myself. I couldn’t hold it back any longer.
I told everyone what I had seen, twice now, and they all smiled, rejoiced, and everything but panicked. The competition out of the way. I begged for them to hear me, but they just shrugged.
“You think we’re the only gangsters in this town John?” Liam yells out. “You’re smart, they’re jealous. You think we’re all getting snuffed out? I say we’re the only ones going to survive this!”
Everyone else enjoyed a similar sentiment, and in front of their frowns, I hung my head, and walked away. Hoping as I always had for the best.
Going back home, a voice called to me from the shadows, the young big leaguer.
“Is this what this is?” I asked as I walked over to him, “Is this what we can expect?”
“You never really knew, did you?” he asked quite frankly. “How to get out?”
Our eyes darted back and forth trying to catch one anothers for a moment. Before he walked away, his hands in his pockets, his black coat disappearing into the gray weather.
I felt it for sure at that point, the lid shutting on my coffin. The point of no return. Though the signs all warned you, dead end, you can never really believe until you stare over the steep drop at the end of the road.
Another hard days work.
I leave the place dark when I return. I’m too depressed to see the lights go on in my home. I’m left with myself, and no one else. My worst nightmare come true, to sit in the face of who I am, all alone, and wondering. My mind numbs as I escape my situation, my eyes glossy, my breath heavy. Confronting my darkest demons as I sit with myself. No one here to see, and yet no one can judge me as hard as I can.
Born to a single mother, my uncle, Liam, was the one to recruit me. I fell into a life of crime, my want to escape, an opportunity for them, a mole on the police force. Lying, vanishing bodies, falsifying evidence. It makes me sick, but I could always put it out of my mind until nights like this when it all comes pouring out. And I drink the pain away.
I was brought in early, didn’t know any better. I did what everyone said was right, and got good at what I did. So I continued to do what I always had. I swallowed the pain, and constantly told myself, that I had no other choice. The truth was, every yes was my decision. Even if it wasn’t an obvious escape, my lack of choices was only an excuse. A way to make myself feel better about the things I had done when I thought of them at the bottom of a bottle.
This job, I had no choice, yes, and that was the end of it. I only saw it all, too late to say no…
It was the middle of the night. My dreams wholly demanding my attention until the phone rang. 911 again. My tired eyes hoped as they gazed upon the numbers, that they were wrong, again. But I slowly awakened, and could deny no more, I was being called to an emergency.
As I got out of my car on the lonely highway, and walked along the dirt road, I could feel my conscious trying to escape my body, my fate.
I knew what I was walking into, my bright flashlight barely illuminating the narrow dirt road before me. But what could I do? One way or another it would end the same way. At the bottom of an old abandoned road or a bathtub, I knew that I would die.
I rounded off of the road into the forest, my light disappearing into the holes in the ground, seven graves. The dark coat coming forth from the darkness forward bright eyes.
“What could you have done,…, to bring you here?” The voice of the young minute man inquired.
“A great many things…” I replied, as my world plunged into nothingness.
The pines whispered as I slept, the crickets sang. The great silence overshadowing them, peaceful, though overwhelming.
I woke and stared into the night sky, breathed deep the cold air. My body aching, my mind in a fog, I climbed out of the hole I lay in.
A shovel, and six graves, each uncovered, and a mound of dirt beside them. Faces staring up from the nothingness, eyes empty, and ablaze in the moonlight. Tony, Harry, Liam, Joe, Micheal, and Larry. With each one I buried, gone, a part of myself that I can never forget.
Yet laid to rest here, the world may never know,
And I might live again…
Thank you for reading.
I hope that you enjoyed Seven Graves.
Don’t forget to leave a review, and if you enjoy free shorts like this consider checking out my other books for sale.
Keep an eye out for other ‘Seven’ stories
in the future. Thanks again,
Warm Regards -David
Other books available
Lone Wendy: The Girl and the Forest of the Gods (Novella 1)
David grew up devouring fiction, watching the classics of both film and television, as well as experiencing the engrossing medium of video games.
But the worlds he observed didn’t end on screen, he lived and expanded upon them everyday.
Later, in young adulthood, he began creating his own original stories, bringing them to life in expansive world building detail.
He grew up living an adventurous life, and has explored many states and their vast natural wonders.
His primary inspiration for fantasy comes from his time spent wandering the immense wilderness, but also late nights imagining the possibilities of the stars.
After attaining a bachelors degree in legal studies, David has focused on his inspiration for writing.
David now resides in the sunshine state with his pet chickens and many adopted cats.
Twitter - @officialded
Email – officialded at hotmail dot com