Chapter 33. Eplerman's Peach Farm

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That nice, mild weather bore a storm with it that on its own was a sign we should have stopped. Lightning struck on the horizon, it seemed to come closer, all the while an unkind mix of hail and rain hit the windshield.

It was a miracle I even caught the exit from the interstate, even more of a miracle that the old, cracked road leading to Peachbode hadn't killed us already. These sorts of driving conditions planted a lot of unfortunate images my mind: I would hit something, a landslide would wipe me out for good, my life would be in danger and would know where I was.

"This is the dumbest thing we've ever done," Sam complained, trying to unfold the giant map in the passenger's seat. It was the first thing he had said since he oh-so charmingly commented "your driving sucks" half an hour ago.

"Really?" I answered, trying to stay civil for what I thought would be our last time together, "I think we've had worse ideas."

"How are we supposed to find anything in this weather?" he wondered, poking holes in my lacking plan.

"We've got flashlights."

"And how do you plan on finding this body, huh? Where do we start?"

"We start by shutting up and keeping calm until we get there."

Sam did just that, at least for a little while. As we closed in on Peachbode the radio station tuned out, and Sam began fiddling with the knobs, I would tell him to knock it off, but I didn't have the energy. Eventually, he landed on the one station that seemed to work out there, and it was as unrequested as ever; the Hawaiian symphony orchestra:

"I wanna go back to my little grass shack Kealakekua Hawaii; I want to be with all the kanes and wahines that I knew long a-"

"Just turn it off," I ordered. He did, maybe it was so that he could go back to ripping my detective work to shreds.

"Do you wanna know what I'm thinking?" Sam asked, "I'll say it anyway."

"What is it now?" I sighed. Another unfortunate image crossed my mind: I could crash this car right at this second and bring an end to all of this. I didn't, but very soon I wished I would have.

"Well, I was just wondering, and I don't mean to be rude but-"

"Go on."

"If Johan Derrick was really off to whack his own kid for some monster god, then how come he told us exactly where he was going?" Sam pondered, making sure to include that condescending tone that really succeeded in getting under my skin, "why would he tell us about Peachbode at all that night?"

Wouldn't you know, I hadn't really thought of that. But did I wanna talk about it right now? Well, of course not.

"Gee, Sam! I don't know!" I barked back at him, "but we got a confession out of Alma, so what more do you want?"

"Oh, don't get me wrong. I don't care nearly as much as you do," Sam stated, "in fact, I don't really wanna be here right now."

"You could have said no," I reminded, not that it mattered so much now that Sam had prepared for this very conversation.

"No, I couldn't. You see, we had an agreement I'd be your buddy cop in this and I wouldn't wanna let you down," he said, making it awfully obvious what he was alluding to, "even if it means digging up a body out of state on a school night."

"Well, Sam. If you didn't you know what you were getting yourself into when you said yes, and decided to back out, I'd be totally cool with that!" I claimed, "I definitely wouldn't get pissed off like a little bitch."

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