Groundswell: Chapter Twenty-five

“I’ve broken more laws in the past few days than I have my entire life,” said Logan, staring at the hand-containing styrofoam cooler sitting on top of Candy’s kitchen table.

“Like what?” asked Candy, leaning on her palm, he speech slow and slurred.

“How many Xanax did you take?”

“Shut up. Enough. I took enough. Don’t worry about me, I know my body. Just answer the question, dude.”

“I’m not… comfortable telling you all of them,” he said. “But we are both guilty of concealing evidence by holding onto this hand. Now, I’ve been thinking about shipping it to a buddy of mine, runs an independent forensics lab in Louisiana. It’d be risky, though. And it’s doubtful the killer left prints. I don’t think it’s worth bothering with. We’re better off just disposing of it.”

“Disposing? He’s not garbage, he was a person. I…I cared about him. A lot.” A tear rolled down her cheek, and Logan stood up, walked to her side of the table and hugged her. “I know. I’m sorry.”

She caressed his thigh, and he felt the beginnings of arousal stirring beneath his pants.

Stand down, soldier. False alarm. Baseball. Think about baseball. Think about how nobody you know watches it anymore but it’s still popular somehow. Whatever happened to Pete Rose? What’s he up to? They should really let him into the Hall of Fame. One of the last true legends before everybody started juicing.

“I’ll take care of it,” he said in as soft and comforting a tone as he could muster. “I won’t even tell you where I put it. That makes it look better on you. Not that we’ll ever get caught. But just in case, you know?”

He ran his fingers through her hair. She smelled so good. “Hey. It’s gonna be alright.”
She looked up at him, her eyes red from crying. They were the eyes of a traumatized child. You promise?”

“I promise,” he said, bending down and planting a kiss on the top of her head.

Stop that! What are you doing? Cut it out, you moron!

She wrapped her arms around his waist, her face at crotch level with him.

He gently pulled away and went to the cabinet. “Need some water?”

She shook her head, and he grabbed a plastic cup from Taco Mayo and filled it from the faucet.

“Well, I do.”

She stared at him as he drank.

“There’s ice in the freezer.”

“I don’t do ice.”

“You don’t do ice? Who in the hell doesn’t do ice?”

He shrugged. “I dunno. People up north, I guess. I know a lot of people who don’t put ice in water. Or they put one cube in it.

“Weird.”

“So I’m going out to Groundswell. You’re obviously too shook up to go, so you might as well just stay home and rest. I want to get another look at that fenced in area out by the woods, now that the heat has died down a little bit after that boy was shot.”

“You want me to stay here? I’d feel much safer with you than waiting around here alone for Dale to come back and finish me off.”

“Oh, I think he’s going to follow me out there. I just have a hunch.”

She crinkled her nose. “Hey. What do you mean get a better look at the fence? When did you go out there?”

“I haven’t been out there. I misspoke.”

“Yeah,” she said, squinting as if she had a severe migraine. “But, I mean, kid gets shot, all of a sudden you don’t have a gun, and you need to replace the one you said you lost… it almost sounds like you killed that kid.”

She rose to her feet on wobbly legs, supporting herself with one hand on the table. “You killed Carl Stintson, didn’t you? I can see it in your eyes. You can’t lie to me. You did it, didn’t you?”

He sighed.

“You did!”

“You don’t understand,” he said. “Kid came at me out of nowhere like some kind of savage animal. He was all over me, and strong, too. He was so strong. Yeah, I shot him and got rid of the gun. Kimball wanted to see my gun. I had to get another one.”

She stared deep into his eyes. “I believe that you felt threatened. Something really weird is going on here. In this town. Something evil.”

“I shot a kid,” Logan hissed, tears brewing in his eyes. “I have a kid close to his age. I just keep thinking, you know, what if somebody–”

“It’s not your fault,” she said. “I know what kind of man you are. You’re good. You’re too good. It’s kind of annoying, really. I know you’re not a murderer. I just wish you could think the same of me.”

He sighed. “I don’t think you’re a murderer. You don’t have it in you.”

“I appreciate that,” she said.

He smiled. “Why are you married? Why didn’t life bring us together under other circumstances?”

“You can still have me. I told you we had an–”

“An arrangement, yes. I know. I don’t want to be part of any arrangement. I wouldn’t want to share you with anyone. I’m not even talking about sex. I’m talking about love. You’re worth more than that, sweetheart.”

“Who the hell are you to judge me?” she snapped. “You think I’m some kind of gross slut, don’t you? You’re disgusted by a woman who’s taken control of her sexuality. You’re just like all men. I thought you were different.

“I don’t know who I am, anymore. I thought I did, but I don’t. Do you know how it feels to have blood on your hands? Innocent blood?”

“No,” she said. “I’ve never had… innocent blood on my hands.”

“Why’d you say it like that?”

“Like what?”

“You put emphasis on ‘innocent.’ Why? Have you shed guilty blood? Or blood you considered guilty?”

“I’m not comfortable telling you that,” she said.

“Hmph. Touché, I guess.”

“Yeah. I guess. Don’t worry, though. I’m not going to tell anyone about your secret. You might think I’m trash, but I do care about you.”

“I don’t think you’re trash at all. I think you’re an amazing woman.”

She snorted. “Thanks. I’m going to take a shower before we go.”

“Go where?”

“Groundswell, dummy.”

She went to the bathroom and he waited until the water started running to leap into action. He rummaged through drawers and a file cabinet next to the smashed computer in the living room until he found a shopping list, an old Valentine’s Day card she’d given to her husband, and a few other samples of her handwriting. He took pics of them, and texted them, along with a pic of the bloody wall, to Shonda.

Sorry to bother you again. I need your handwriting analysis skills on this one. Are these all written by the same person?

He got no answer.

Candy finished her shower, got dressed and was ready to go twenty minutes later, and there was still no answer.

“What’s the holdup? Let’s go.”

“Just a second,” he said, composing another text.

Come on, I know you’re pissed at me, but this isn’t about me. This is about a family getting closure and finding answers. I have a horrible hunch and I really need to know if it’s true.

He locked his phone and stood up from the table. “Alright, let’s go.”

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