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Ray Murphy trudged to the cooler, sweat dripping off his brow. He had worked at the construction site for the whole day and was completely worn out. It was out of the way today, in the corner with the jackhammers and piles of other equipment. The gray concrete wall had cracked in some places, leaving a few gaps where brick could be spotted. It was massive, stashed with enough beers to quench the thirst of thirty-odd men.
It took more effort than usual to open it, Ray’s sore muscles grating at the effort. Finally the top popped open, and the smell that wafted out reminded him of his recent visit to the butcher shop, weirdly enough. He was probably just hungry, as he did love a good T-bone steak. Fishing his hand around, he blindly searched for a drink, stopping suddenly when his hand brushed against a mushy surface.
Lifting his hand out, Ray stared uncomprehendingly at it. There was something brownish-red on it. He wasn’t a germaphobe, but Ray had never wanted to wash his hands more. Carefully, he pushed the top back all the way, and his heart sank to the bottom of his stomach. It was a thick, soupy mess of blood, various bodily organs submerged in it. There was a worn pair of overalls soaked in there too, the original denim blue turned dark crimson. And an olive green baseball cap with the team name New York Yankees stitched in white.
The meager contents of his dinner left his stomach within seconds, and he knew who was in the cooler. Bill. He’d seen that very same cap before at Bill’s place. He hadn’t appeared at work for a few days now, and Ray had seen Chester, their supervisor, scowl in annoyance and make a note today. Ray remembered wincing, knowing that Bill was without a job. He picked up his phone with shaking hands.
Dialing the nearest police station, he held the phone up to his ear. It was silent for what seemed like an eternity, until a female voice answered.
“911, what’s your emergency?”
“Someone killed my friend. I-I just found his body.” Ray’s voice broke on the last word. He only realized the gravity of the situation once he had put it into words.
“Sir, what is your name?”, the lady asked.
“Ray Murphy,” he responded. It was bizarre. He never would have imagined this happening.
“Where are you?”
“I’m at-” He began to speak, but heard an ear-splitting shot and felt an explosion of pain in his shoulder. Falling to his knees, Ray struggled to stay conscious. Just keeping his eyes open was a colossal task. He heard someone speak, but the sounds melded together until it was almost a song. A hand gripped his jaw, pulling his face forward. He saw murky green eyes, the glint of a gun, and the sounds filtered into words once again.
“-understand? You hear me, ya b*****d?” The guy snarled, repeating what he must have been saying when Ray was out. “Angie was a great broad, but then you just had to steal her from me, didn’t ya?” He reeked of alcohol, the stench of it on his breath.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Ray rasped. This seemed to make the man even angrier. He grabbed Ray by the neck, ignoring the gurgling sounds coming from his throat.
“Tell. Me. Why. Why did she leave me for you?” Ray finally remembered who the guy was. It was Evan, a former co-worker who had left the construction business years ago. They had talked on the phone a few weeks after Angie, Evan’s significant other, had broken up with him. He didn’t seem to take it too hard, and was decent enough towards Ray, even though Ray was then dating her.
Angie had said that Evan was abusive and a sad excuse for a person, but Ray had always thought she was exaggerating till now. It didn’t matter now anyways. Angie was long gone. That girl had left him a year ago. She was with someone else now, thank god. No one deserved to date someone as insane as Evan.
Bill had dated Angie before Evan. He was practically innocent in all this, but now he was dead. Ray silently mourned his loss. Then he spoke.
“She left because you’re an abusive a*****e.”
Ray had done many things he regretted, but he did not regret this.
He didn’t regret it when he felt the fist slamming into his face. He didn’t regret it when he heard the gun reloading, the cold metal against the back of his head. He didn’t regret it when he felt another burst of pain, a hundred times more intense than the last. He didn’t regret it when the darkness came for him.
Port Pirie, ZZ