SOIL: The Soil of a Different Garden By G. Ackman

Week 2 Word: SOIL
Word Count 497

The Soil of a Different Garden
by G. Ackman

The shotgun kicked hard on her shoulder and she could already feel the bruise she would have tomorrow, a purple badge to her ability to load and fire the 12 gauge in the space of time it took the man to go through the door.
But that was something for tomorrow. Right now she had to take care of him. She hit him in the chest and the .00 shot stopped him fairly effectively. He was still alive at first, but his harsh rattling breath let her know he wouldn’t be for long. She didn’t look at his eyes, but stepped over his legs and walked to the door, reloading and racking the shot as she did so. Years of horror movies where the bad guy suddenly sits up and begins round two had taught her that. And maybe he wasn’t alone. The reverberation had to be audible for several yards. She knew from all the hunting seasons she had lived through, cringing as each “choom” echoed up the hills and through the woods, knowing the sound signaled the death of a deer. She always mourned the loss of the liquid brown eyes. Her yard has been a safe haven and each year, a doe or two would show up every day with her fawns. Cara loved watching the fawns playing leapfrog and “catch me” and hated those blasts even more. Now, though, this blast saved her life – or worse.
Two months ago, she would have called the police, but not now. No one was going to come and take care of this. She had to do it all by herself – like she has done everything for the past two months. Hours later, under cover of darkness, Cara dragged the body out the door. She had wrapped him in a sheet and tied it tightly with bright blue rope. It wasn’t as messy as she would have thought. Movies had led her to expect a large pool of blood, but it was no bigger than the puddle from when she over-watered the lemon tree. Since the rug was stained, though, she would get rid of that too. The rope, tied tightly with bowline knots, held as she lifted one end of the heavy body onto the wheelbarrow, then the other end. While still a muscle-wrenching task, taking the body up the hill to the woods was much easier with the wheelbarrow.
Safely deposited among the trees and covered over with brush, branches, and rocks, the man who no longer a problem. No one else showed up, and Cara knew she would sleep well tonight.
Two months ago, she was a wife, a mother, and a teacher who spent her time reading and doing jigsaw puzzles. Then the lights went out and stayed out. Her husband never came home and she learned to grow survival in the soil of her being. Collecting wood, gathering water, and protecting herself – just another day in this strange new world of hers.