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   Chapter 38 No.38

My Sister's Keeper By Bill Benners Characters: 10296

Updated: 2018-05-28 11:05


A FEW MILES NORTH of Wilmington on US 17, Bonner turned into a new subdivision under construction. He rolled past numbered stakes, road-building equipment, utility connection boxes, and new curbing to where the pavement ended and the road surface turned to rock. But the rock was hard and the shovels were of little use against it. Bonner tossed his aside, climbed on a nearby backhoe, and started the engine. He fiddled with the controls learning what each does, then clumsily maneuvered the machine to the spot they'd tried to dig, lowered its giant scoop to the rock, and powered it into the dirt. The engine groaned and the machine rose off the ground and warbled against the strain, but it dug into the rocks and opened a hole in the dirt. Moving levers back and forth, Bonner raised the scoop, shifted it to the side, and released the dirt away from the hole.

"I think I got it now!" he shouted over the roaring of the engine. He swung the scoop back over the hole, dug deeper, and again dropped the dirt next to the hole. Noticing a pipe in the hole, César jumped in front of the machine waving his arms.

"What?" Bonner shouted over the rattle of the machine.

César pointed to a four-inch pipe running along the side of the hole. "Water line!"

Climbing down, Bonner saw where the scoop had scraped along the length of the pipe, but it had remained intact. He climbed back on the machine, moved the scoop a little to the right, and dug again into the street. Within ten minutes, he had opened a hole five feet deep, five feet wide, and at least eight feet long. He left the machine running and climbed down.

"Get in the hole, " he said. "Aye'll pass the boxes down to you."

"Sí."

Bonner brought each box to the hole and handed it down to César who nudged it into the loose dirt at the bottom. As he handed the last one down, Bonner pulled a pistol, aimed, and fired, hitting César in the center of his back. The explosion reverberated through the subdivision and echoed off into the night. César's body lurched around and landed face up lying over the boxes. His disbelieving eyes stared back at the gun. Raising a hand, he pleaded, "Por favor no dispare otra vez, Se?or Bonner. Please, no shoot."

Bonner raised the gun a second time, aimed, and squeezed the trigger. This bullet opened a small hole in César's forehead and exited the rear of his skull grazing the water pipe causing a dark geyser to spout from the man's forehead and an almost invisible misty spray of water behind his head.

Flinging the gun into the hole, Bonner climbed back onto the machine, filled the dirt in, and returned the backhoe to where he'd found it.

He gathered rocks and spread them evenly over the freshly filled hole until he was satisfied that no one would know they'd been there. It was now 12:58 a.m.

AT WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH MUNICIPAL COMPLEX, Chief Milton Simmons was trying to get things straight in his head. "So, you—Richard Baimbridge—who just happens to be under investigation in the disappearance of another girl, lose your phone and minutes later it gets p

ir was getting hot, and thick with the taste of ashes and glue. I pounded the glass with my elbow and screamed, "Get me out of here!"

Cars had begun pulling off the road and there were people running back and forth seeming not to know what to do. A man was giving mouth-to-mouth respiration to one of the girls. The plastic padding on the dash began smoking, then bubbled like boiling water. The mirror mounted to the windshield wilted, slid down the glass, then dropped off. I lunged to the floor and looked up under the front seat. There was nothing there but paper trash.

Smoke now filled the interior of the chief's car and I could no longer see the windows. Perspiration soaked my clothes, and my lungs choked on the thick cloud. The fire had moved under the car and now totally engulfed it in flames. The heat was unbearable.

My God! Is this how my life is going to end? What is Mom going to think? And Dad?

I sucked at the cooler air under the seats, gagging and choking on the smoke. Another massive crash hit the car and I felt glass scatter over me. I tried to rise up, but couldn't move. The heat was too intense to even breathe. I held my breath listening to the rumble, hiss, and sizzle of the fire. Outside, I could hear the wail of fire trucks and the shouting of the crowd, then pounding on the car.

"Baimbridge!" The pounding continued. "Baimbridge!"

I felt the spray of cool water douse my hot skin. I heard the pounding of metal against metal and more glass shattering. I felt the pressure of the water as it washed me down and heard the sizzle of it as it turned to steam. My mind was awake, but my body was asleep. I felt myself being lifted and watched as though I was a witness—as though I was outside of my body seeing myself pass through the back glass into the arms of the firemen.

I saw myself carried to the patch of green grass and watched an EMT perform resuscitation. I saw the flames leaping a hundred feet in the air and the walls of the building collapse. Then everything turned white and faded away.

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