‘I don’t know Danny, how is she ever going to achieve closure if she thinks he just ran off while she was gone?’
‘For crying out loud Karen, we have talked about this! He’s dead. Sure, it was an accident, but that wouldn’t make it any easier for her to deal with. She could report me to the cops for dangerous driving, probably demand a funeral she can’t afford. It’s sad but we can’t change what’s happened. Let’s just bury the body and tell her he’s gone, disappeared God knows where. She’ll probably report him missing but nobody will be interested, not if there’s no evidence.’
‘We could be seen though. I mean, it’s a construction site, won’t they have security?’
‘Not on a small build like this. They’re due to pour the concrete for the foundations tomorrow. I’ll use the digger on site to go down deep, we drop the body in and cover it over, then make the base good again. Turns out my crappy summer job is a stroke of luck after all. I can do this like a pro.’
Karen sighed. The body in the boot of her car was starting to smell already in the heat. She hated the thought of lying to their housemate, but Danny was right about the cost and potential fallout. Reluctantly she nodded her head in agreement and went to fetch her car keys.
The drive out to the remote site took almost an hour. As she sat watching Danny expertly create the deep hole, her heart filled with long denied love. He seemed to be able to turn his hand to anything and had big plans for his future. It would be foolish to jeopordise that. They had always planned to leave town at the end of the summer, after which she probably wouldn’t see much more of Suz or him. Even so, it would be hard to lie. Suz had adored her big, soppy Charlie and would be heartbroken when she returned from her trip to find him so unexpectedly gone.
‘Okay, that’s the hole done. Let’s shift this thing.’
The body was heavy and hard to handle, even wrapped up in the tarp. Taking an end each they stumbled and strained over the rough ground towards the crater that would swallow up the evidence if not their guilt.
‘Put it in the digger’s bucket and I’ll tip it. If we get too close to the edge we might slip in ourselves.’
Karen returned to the car, kicking the soil off her shoes and checking the inside of the trunk for signs of blood. They had carefully hosed down the wheel arches and underside earlier, and the dust from this journey had helped camouflage the suspicious cleanliness. As Danny completed their evening’s work she shook out the picnic blanket they had placed under the body. Once washed, all traces of the accident should be gone.
It had been a horrible twenty-four hours. She and Charlie had been due to meet up with Danny in some local woodland where they had planned a walk on the previous evening. Danny had taken her car to work and had been backing it off the track before they set off. She had no idea why he had suddenly chosen to swing it around, unaware that Charlie had chosen that exact spot for a quick snooze. At least his death had been instant, and the car was undamaged.
‘Well, I think I made a pretty good job of that myself, what do you think?’
‘Yeah, it looks just like it did.’
The sun was going down as they contemplated the deserted field where a cluster of houses would soon grow out of the dirt. The digger was parked up where it had been and Danny had returned all the ground markers to their original locations. He put his arm around Karen’s shoulders and kissed her gently on the top of her head.
‘It was an accident, bro. Suz will miss Charlie but she’ll get over him, probably find a replacement she can love just as much.’
‘I know Danny, it’s just… Do you think dogs go to heaven?’