His

     Everett steered the boat around the small outcrop of tree stumps. He knew every twist and turn in this treacherous swamp. He’d grown up in these murky waters; his daddy and his granddaddy had fished here and he’d seen his first ‘gator, right next to a small clump of trees near this very spot. He cut the motor and spit into the can at his feet, laughing a little as some of it missed and landed in the bottom of the boat. Some fellas tend to spit their dip right into the water, but that don’t make no sense, he thought, ‘specially if you was planning on jumping in the water for some reason. Which he was. He had some business he had to take care of before heading back to town and taking Thelma to church for the funeral.

Everett breathed in the clean, crisp air and nudged the shotgun at his feet. Life in the wetlands were always full of surprises. Just last week, his buddy Earl had gone out into the swamp to take a look at some traps and they had found him two days later, floating upside down in a clump of weeds. Everett said a silent prayer for Earl’s soul. Good man like that didn’t deserve to die so soon. He jumped out of the boat, using a rope to anchor it by tying it around a tree. The water was too full of mud for a boat anchor to really take hold. He grabbed for the gun, held it high above the water and waded to shore. He climbed up the fairly steep enbankment, still spritely despite being nearly 60 and headed for a copse of trees hidden behind dense brush. He parted the undergrowth and removed some branches placed there to help disguise this place. He had found what he was looking for.

The mound of leaves and dirt was barely noticeable; most people would walk right over it. But Everett knew. He laid the shotgun on the damp earth and used both hands to scrape away the sediment, exposing his prize.  She lay eyes closed, her hair brushed back away from her face. He touched her cheek tenderly, and then brushed the dirt away from her eyes before exposing the green orbs to the filtered sunlight streaming through the trees. He leaned forward and lightly placed a kiss against her cold lips. Her body was wrapped in a white sheet, spotless except for the dirt stains. He opened the sheet and stared at her nude body; young, soft and supple and exhaled deeply. He didn’t know her name, he didn’t have to. She was meant to be his. He could tell by the way she’d looked at him then, the same way she stared at him now, as if no one else mattered but him. His hands traveled down her body, to her long, graceful neck, down to the white exposed between her parted breasts and on to her flat stomach. She was beautiful. He fumbled in his haste to remove his clothing, his thoughts focused on touching her body to his.

Later, he laid half in, half out the makeshift grave, satisfied. He caressed his beauty; his eyes closed and inhaled her scent. She smelled of roses and swamp water and musk. He took another breath and sighed. He knew it was time to move on. The next time he came, she would have to be moved to join the others in the bottom of the swamp, before someone else was destined to take her place and his passion.

~ by Adrianna Morgan on April 26, 2011.

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