Jason Lawrence Bell
Search single story



Stanley slowly walks back to his cubicle trying not to give anyone a hint of the raging turmoil that is consuming his mind. He needs to reach the stability of his desk chair to hold him steady. His legs collapse as he lands in the seat. He grabs the arms of the chair and strains his body rigidly to feel solid. He lets out a deep breath and faces forward, hoping no one noticed his desperate actions. If he stares at the computer screen and focuses, possibly his mind will move away from the images of horror that rotate constantly in his mind.

Those images. They seem burned into his brain with vivid colors of blood and half-open eyes. Stanley tries to calm his heart beat. He can feel the beating like drums in his head. Loud and fast. He takes slow deep breaths and feels the pounding weakening. After about 5 minutes of breathing, he is relaxed enough to let his eyes scan the room. He glances two cubicles up at the empty chair where Sharon normally sits. Oh shit, the images return in force. Stanley holds tighter to his chair. Focus, focus, calm yourself, calm.

Stanley had just left a meeting in the conference room where he was interviewed by Detective Michaels. Detective Michael was investigating the missing person Sharon Walker. Sharon was an employee who suspiciously disappeared last weekend. Her apartment was undisturbed and her close friends and family were worried. Detective Michaels was interviewing Sharon’s fellow employees. Somehow Stanley held himself together during the interview and Detective Michael didn’t seem interested in him.

Stanley finally calmed himself down and was silently making deals with God. ‘It was one moment of madness. Something I will never again repeat. Please God, you know I’m a good person. A good person who made one terrible mistake. Please forgive me and let me stay free and do good deeds to atone. You will see this sad mistake will make me a much better person.’

Then Stanley’s mind slipped back to his dilemma. ‘No body, no crime. Stay normal, act sad, don’t talk too much.’ Stanley went thru the events of the night to make certain he didn’t make any critical errors that could expose him. He recalled running into Sharon in the parking lot of a Walmart. As they talked near Stanley’s car a rain storm began and they quickly jumped into Stanley’s car to stay dry. The rain began pouring and they could barely see anything out windows. Stanley’s always thought Sharon was attractive and decided to make a move. He leaned over to her kiss her. This startled Sharon and she pushed him back. She looked at him as if repulsed. At first Stanley began apologizing, but after seeing her repulsion, anger and rage exploded inside of him. The next thing Stanley recalled was Sharon’s lifeless body laying across the passage seat.

As the rain covered his car, Stanley began to panic. Then he remembered the cave. On his father’s childhood farm, he found an old deserted cave when he was a boy. The cave was the answer. He drove his car thru the rain with Sharon’s body to the cave. Stanley kept repeating over and over, ‘no body, no crime; no body no crime.’

Now it’s been a month since Sharon’s disappearance. Stanley is thinking ‘God accepted my deal. I will live up to my end of the bargain.’ Stanley signed up to work at a soup kitchen and volunteered to mentor foster kids. This lasted about a month. Then he stopped showing up, telling himself he is just too busy. After all, there is new employee in the back row. She is gorgeous and Stanley wants her. He wants her so bad, that he doesn’t care if she wants him back. He knows he can take what he wants. Stanley has evolved. Peace**