Each week we bring you an excerpt from Dave McGowan's A Voice from Beyond. Here is this week's slice! Enjoy.
For some moments they ate in silence. Gar searched his mind for some subject that might ease the tension, finally settling on the subject of the fresh grave. “Who is the newly departed?” he asked
“Jeff Hindle,” George responded. “Good thing ya didn’ say dearly departed. Doc never had much use fer ‘im.”
“Can’t think of a soul that did,” Logan offered. “He was a mean, money-grubbing, skinflint.”
“An’ it didn’ help that he ‘cussed you o’ malpractice,” George noted.
Logan waved his left hand in dismissal as the right hand put a forkful of eggs in his mouth. “He’d been doing that every six months for the last five years. What has caused my greatest discomfort are the many people who have been forced from their homes because Hindle foreclosed.”
The Doctor turned his gaze on Gar and explained. “He ran the general store across the street. When the difficulties started, he extended the kindest hand out to all his customers, offering them great credit terms. Of course, it was written up so that he could call the loans whenever he chose, and when he was certain the customer couldn’t pay, that’s exactly what he did.”
“Well, we don’ have to worry ‘bout ‘im doin’ that anymore,” the Sheriff observed.
“Won’t his next of kin just take over the debts?” Gar asked.
“Maybe, maybe not,” Logan responded. “His closest surviving kin is his mother. Lives over in Kirkwood. Now he used to visit her every few months – that’s where he was when he died – but there wasn’t a great deal of love lost between the two. As a matter of fact, he stated in his will that he wanted to be buried here so that he wouldn’t have to spend any more time with his parents.”
“He leave everything to her?” Gar asked.
“Actually, no. He left everything to some cult up in Canada, but that will be contested, and I’m sure everything will eventually wind up with the mother.”
“Sounds like a real pleasant guy,” Gar observed. “How did he die?”
George looked sharply at Gar. “No, nobody killed ‘im. Though there’s lots would’ve liked to’ve had the pleasure. Heart attack, wasn’t it Doc?”
Logan shook his head. “A statistical impossibility. He would first need to have had a heart.”
“I thought you went over and had a look at ‘im?”
“Yes, yes. I was only making a small joke.” Logan replied, repeating the dismissive gesture of waving his hand. “I went over and had a look at him. No marks on the body. He had a problem with his blood pressure and it was probably his heart. He was also dried up like an old boot from sitting in his truck in the hot sun for two days.”
“Dried up?” Gar asked.
The Sheriff and Doctor nodded in unison. “Was over visitin’ his maw,” George related. “Leavin’ Kirkwood fer home he just pulled over t’ the side o’ the road and died. Most folks reckanized the truck an’ didn’ wanna talk to ‘im, so they just let ‘er sit there. Two days afore somebody finally decided that was a mighty long sleep he was havin’.”
“Sucked every bit of moisture out of his body,” Logan added. “Never seen anything like it.”
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