• Jabe Stafford

One Page Worlds - Shovel Duty

A whole world on a single page!

The short story morsels of One Page Worlds are flash fiction adventures of all flavors. Every Wednesday will feature a complete story in one page, or the first page of what could be a novel or novelette.

Sharing the fun and geekery is the best part of writing! Please tweet or comment with your guesses on what genre, character, and job is central to each tale. Enjoy touring new universes each week with One Page Worlds!

* * * * *

A text from an unknown number flashed onto Grant’s phone. “He’s en-route now. I can only force him to the tunnel. Don’t expect me to hide the body. Or the motorcycle.”

Clean rain on soil and pavement filled Grant’s mouth when he hawked and spat. It smacked against the trunk of a pine, its branches splattered against the cement overpass where it’d fallen and splintered. He cuddled the shovel under one arm and paced back and forth under the tree, texting one-and-a-half-handed. “My daughter deserves her father. Out of prison.”

He covered the phone with the inside of his leather jacket. Drops struck it and dribbled onto his jeans. The number again. “Then we shouldn’t do shit that’ll get us canned. A mystery to the head is an accident.” Grant stopped reading and filled in the rest of the text for himself.

Engines and sirens shrieked from the tunnel’s far end. He savored one lung-burning breath, then replied, “It has to be me. Duty’s coming.”

With that, he hurled the phone over the guardrail into the ravine on the opposite side of the highway. The device whipped between trees end over end, a spiral of droplets in the summer drencher. In the slits between trunks, he could see churning waters rushing though the ravine. “Deserve and receive.”

Grant hefted the shovel and crossed to the tunnel’s lip.

More screeching, growling. Flooding the air.

Elbow up, ears sharp, he stepped into the road and swung for the helmet. Plastic and metal cracked over the roar of the bike’s engine. A thick-necked man folded back on himself, tumbling the wrong way against his own momentum. He skidded, halted under the guardrail.

Grant didn’t acknowledge the copper-haired woman that screamed past in a state police cruiser. She switched her siren off, skirted the wrecked bike, then took the corner and was gone behind the pines.

Rocking the shovel’s splintered pieces in his arms, he crossed to the ravine and pitched them in. With the helmet off, the near-dead man on the road next to him could hear Grant’s hiss. “Rapist.”

#Mystery #Suspense #Writing #OnePageWorlds #ShortStories #Blog