Shannon hated her mother, I didn’t care for the woman either, but I had no reason to see her dead, at least not at first. But Shannon, Shannon wanted the bitch dead as fuck. I couldn’t reconcile the sweet long blonde hair church-going girl with the vicious, spoiled brat. But here she was, and here I am, driving in a car with the woman I love right after I may or may not have killed Shannon’s mom. If I did, would I be vindicated in doing so?
“Don’t look at me like that,” I said from the passenger seat. I still had dried blood caked to my shirt. Not even cold water and bleach could erase what’d I’d done. I tried to convenience myself; it was a mercy killing of sorts, but even I knew that wasn’t true. What was true is that I’d do anything for Shannon, which might be my undoing. It could be my downfall, but she’d asked, more like begged me a thousand times to take care of her problem: her mom.
“Like what?” Shannon said, gripping the steering wheel with both hands as we traveled in the middle of the night in mid-December. It was three days until Christmas, to be specific. Christmas and a murder or a killing weren’t something I had on my bingo card for 2021, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there the whole time. I’ve been waking up in cold sweats and shaking by my wrists since the killing. I was having second thoughts. Maybe Shannon’s mother wasn’t the woman Shannon made her out to be. Maybe Shannon was a rebellious teenager, and I was being played for a fool. If so, it wouldn’t be the first time. I mean, sure, it’s my first killing, but I’d been the subject of women’s obsessive manipulation my entire life. I couldn’t believe it brought me here: to a murder. “Seriously?”
“I don’t know — like I wanted to kill her,” I said, still wearing the bloody clothes. I wasn’t usually a killer. I didn’t grow up thinking this is what I wanted to be. And I had never been in trouble until I started hanging out with Shannon. I’d been on the straight and narrow. Good grades in school and dating a pretty cheerleader was good enough for me. “It’s not like I wanted any of this.”
“You sure? Not even for me” Shannon shifted her eyes to mine, then back to the road. “The truth is you wanted to kill the bitch. I feel buried alive in shame for what my mother put me through.”
“You make it sound worse than it was.” Shannon hated her mother and wanted her dead, not just hurt or blinded or some shit; no, Shannon wanted her mother fucking dead as fuck. I’d begun to believe Shannon’s sob stories about getting abused, and it tugged at something in my heart. But seeing the life drain from her mother’s eyes, I could see no evil. I saw a terrified mother, wanting only the best for her daughter. That best didn’t include me. Although Shannon and I had been dating for the better part of three years, I’d never met her. She hated me. And she hated Shannon and me together even more. I couldn’t understand why she hated me, and her mother couldn’t understand what Shannon saw in me. I guess that made us even in some weird way. But now, she’s dead. I can’t plead my case or profess my love for her daughter anymore. Part of me wanted to know whether I was being used or played for a fool. It wouldn’t be the first time. And knowing Shannon, it wouldn’t be the last time she used me.
“Don’t act like you didn’t want me to!” I said. “You practically begged me to do it because–“
“Woah,” Shannon said. “I was talking about scaring the bitch, or I don’t know, throwing firecrackers in her window at night. Something creative. But dead? No.” Shannon flipped through the radio stations as I had a million things on my mind. I couldn’t believe she was so cool about all of this.
I tapped my chest, and my nostrils flared. “You’re telling me you didn’t want me to do what you asked me to do?” I said. “She knew you were abuse and did nothing, right? Ring a bell?” I crinkled my eyes.
“Relax, Babe.” Shannon drove the car, waving her free hand. “Never mind all of that right now. Right now, we need to worry about getting away with this. I’m not going to jail, not for you, not for anyone.”
“Jail?” I said, shifting my attention to Shannon. “Don’t even speak of it.” I couldn’t go to jail. I’m not the jail type. I’d have to join a gang or sell drugs to survive a life of crime. I was a small man, not too short, but I was thin. Nonetheless, I couldn’t fucking go to jail.
“The reality is, if we don’t get away with this, that’s exactly where you’ll be,” Shannon said. “Now, get it together.”
“You wouldn’t make me take the fall for this, would you?” I said, raising a brow.
Shannon raised a sly brow. “But I would, and I am.” Shannon laughed hard. “Relax. We’ll do this my way,” Shannon said as we continued to travel winding roads, changing lanes and freeways to an off-road where the blacktop ended.
The truth is Shannon had no idea how to get away with murder, especially the murder of her mother. “We need to never speak of this again.”
My eyes bulged like Bugs Bunny. “You think I’m going to talk about this again? I’m worried your loose lips will sink us,” I said. “You know how you get after a few beers.”
Shannon reached to embrace my hand, and I felt my heartbeat chill with a euphoric high. And I forgot why the hell I was so pissed off. “You okay?”
I shook my head out of a trance. “What? No, I mean, yes. I mean, I’m fine.”
“Where are we going to bury the body?” I said. In Yakima, Washington, there are plenty of places to bury things, even a dead body. The outskirts of the city have forests and lakes and are mostly quiet at night. We pulled into a camping park even during December; people had their campers and trailers at the Blue Lake. I figured since there are people already there, the cops won’t know who the fuck killed Shannon’s mom.
Shannon parked the car and cut the lights off.
I undid my seatbelt. “Well, what are you waiting for?” I said.
Shannon popped the trunk. “Let’s get this over with.”
We made our way to the rear of the car. “She’s still fucking alive!” Shannon said. “Couldn’t even kill her right, could you?”
“Well, excuse me for not being a career criminal!” I motioned.
“Forget about all that; just start digging,” Shannon said.
I swung a shovel against the cold earth. It took a good few minutes to make any headway on the grave. After half an hour, we decided to bury Shannon’s mother alive. Shannon wanted her mother to suffer the way she said she did as a child.
We left as fast as we came. On the drive home, Shannon told me about how her mother let her boyfriends abuse her, and she couldn’t stand seeing her mother denying it. I felt a little vindication in killing her mother.