Crime Suspense Thriller


The easiest choice is to dump the body in the river. Maybe it’s the simplest choice too, but by far this is the stupidest one. I can’t believe he’s even saying this. I need to stop shaking. I’m not sure what is more shocking. The fact that if I hadn’t egged Elijah on, he wouldn’t have pushed me, and I wouldn’t have fallen on him and his head would have never hit that rock. That’s when I froze. He was just lying there, a low groan seeping out like the final gusts of air leaving a blow-up air mattress. I stood there staring at him dying slowing thinking of an air mattress. The shaking only started when Elijah said,

“We can fix this.” How could he just look at me? He barely even looked at Anthony Lee on the ground. He was still making noise; he is still making noise. 

He looked at me straight and still, pushed me against the tree and he calmly told me that we can fix this. That this does not have to be the end. That’s when I pissed myself too. 

I’m still right here. Slumped on the ground against the tree trying to stop my hands and legs from shaking. My pants are wet and all I can hear is that sound. It’s drowning out Elijah, it’s making my head clear, if I could just focus on that sound I can get up and I can tell him I don’t care what he thinks, we need to call the police and we need to call them now. No more plotting, no fixing; this isn’t some little test in school. I could care less about our future because right now this kid is dying and for us to let that happen is wrong. 

He’s still making noise so that means he is still alive and all I have to do is get him to the car and it will be alright. I slowly stand to see if my legs will support me and the stench of my fear sharpens my mind. I need to get to him now. I rush over and I’m about to grab him and all of a sudden Elijah is there, inches away from my face, with his eyes wide. They already tell me what he wants to say before his mouth does.

“Don’t touch him.”


“Are you- are you serious man?” 

How can he question this? Jeremiah was the one in school that always helped me, he would get the answers, he would find a way, he would FIX it. He did it for us then, so I’ve made the choice to help us now.

“Listen to me man, please.” I have him by the shoulders now. He is shaking so much, and his eyes keep darting to Anthony, Anthony Lee he told us. We were here to help. None of this was on purpose. A little campfire in the woods, by the side of the river where ‘Miah and I would go as kids. We would skip rocks and jump in and try to catch fish with our hands. We both, the two of us, agreed that this country kid would appreciate the environment. We invited him to enter our little world of escape.

“’Miah, listen we are leaving tomorrow.” His eyes water now. 


He is slobbering and trying to break free from my grasp. I know what he wants but if we pick him up, he might die in our arms or die in the car on the way to the hospital and then where would we be? 

“We leave tomorrow, and it was an accident. It was an accident. We can just… we can just roll him into the river, and if anyone asks, if anyone finds out we just say…” I gulp, and he stares, almost angry now, his tears drying up. I feel myself tense because now the air has changed, and I know I have to convince instead of confirm this decision now.

“We can just say we had a couple beers, and we will admit to that. We gave the underage kid some beers, but when we left, he was fine. We say he was just fine, and… and yeah,” I’m nodding my head now, agreeing with the words as they spill out and find themselves.

“We tell them, he grabbed one when we weren’t watching and, and we tried to take it away and he got upset and so we left him there, but he was fine. He was fine when we left. But we have to do it now, Jeremiah man, what we have to do now is we have to roll him into the river, and he has to die there, he has to, so it will look like he’s drowned. He stumbled, he hit his head and then he must have drowned.” 

I let him go and he takes a few weak steps back from me. He keeps looking back at Anthony like he hasn’t heard a word I said. He runs over quick and reaches out his hand. I have to yell now; I have to make him understand.

“If you touch him! It’d better be to push him in!” I’m back in his face now because if he sees I mean it, he will know there’s no other way.

“What kind of life did he have? You heard him tonight, he doesn’t have any family, he didn’t even have friends, he said it himself! We shouldn’t let him suffer. We can’t. He wouldn’t want that! You remember that don’t you?! But we, look at me man, Jeremiah, look at me! We have a future. Tomorrow we can leave this hick town and we can start our lives, our real lives. In Ms. Highland’s class you told me, you remember?” He’s nodding now, still shaking but he’s starting to see, I’m so relieved I smile a little because it’s all right again.

“You told me that the current moment never has to be the end, and anything that happens, we can fix it. Together. You’re like my brother so we have to do this. Make this decision with me please, and it will be like it never happened. You want to leave this place, don’t you? 

“Yeah, yeah I do.”

“Me too. It was an accident, so let it stay that way. It doesn’t have to end here, I will make sure it doesn’t.”

He looked up at me slowly now, “You really think we should do this?”

“Absolutely. It’s not the end man, you told me that. This is a kindness remember.” 

“Okay, yeah. This is a kindness.” He walks toward the body, standing near that stump that Anthony tripped backwards over, still lying there still, chest barely moving, in pain. That low wheezing sound almost a whisper now. He agrees, doesn’t he? The easiest choice is to dump the body in the river. 


I sure am glad I saw these two down by the store. They even wanted me to feel more at home and brought me down to the river. The river always made me feel calm, like home. I wish my brother was here, because we had the same relationship as these two, they’re practically kin. 

Always been something special about sunset by the water. I haven’t felt this at ease for a while either. With the fire dancing and warm beer sliding into my belly, out poured all the words I had been meaning to say. To my ma before she passed on, to my brother who I should’ve spent more time with, and all the stories that had been playing in my mind as of late. 

Them being kind as they were, they listened and humored me. I told them how my ma taught me to be proud of my roots and my hometown and even my double name. I told them about the farm and why I was even in this town all alone at night, trying to find my way. 

“Elijah here hates his name.” Jeremiah looked at his friend as he confirmed by nodding his head.

“It’s the only thing that still ties me to my old man who left before I could remember him. But I have to be reminded wherever I go, because of my name. That’s why I’m leaving this place too, me and Jeremiah here figured we should spend one last night in our spot before we start our new lives out of this town.”

“I get it. Sometimes you have to kill the past just to move on.” Elijah’s look when I said that was a question. 

“My pa, my old man, had this horse he kept out in the field behind our place when I was a boy. Heck, I was born riding that horse. I fed him and tended him, and he was my best friend. Especially after what happened with my brother. One night, pa had to leave town for a week and I went riding like I usually did and I don’t really know what happened but we were out there and we fell. We feel hard and me and the horse done broke our legs.”

I could feel them both starting at me now though I was focused on the licks and flames of the fire.

“I’s able to go back home and it turned out to be just a gnarly gash and sprain and for me so I patched myself up and went back out there to see what I could do about my horse. I stayed out there for the next three days feeding him and trying to help him. I just couldn’t lose anyone else. The last night it started raining and I could feel my wound getting swollen, but I had to stay there and help him.” I looked up at them.

“I had to help him, right?” I didn’t wait for an answer and continued. “Anyways, pa comes back a few hours later and finds me there muddy and hands bloody from trying to stitch up my friend. He don’t even ask me to move away or cover my ears; he just took out his pistol and shot him in the head.”

Silence now. Jeremiah looked down but Elijah, he kept staring at me, almost a nodding in agreement.

“Know what he said to me when we got back in the house?”

“What did your dad tell you?” His eyes were pleading. 

“The old man said, ‘Sometimes, death is a kindness.’”

November 29, 2020 00:04

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Sjan Evardsson
23:36 Dec 09, 2020

Horrifying. We'd all like to think that we'd take Jeremiah's side and stay strong to it; do everything possible to save Anthony Lee's life. The truth, though, is that we don't know until we're there. Would I actually be more like Elijah in this situation? If not, would he be able to persuade me? Frightening. Well told. Stay safe and keep writing!


Show 0 replies
Kylie Rudolf
21:18 Dec 05, 2020

This story is chilling! A wonderful combination of crime and horror, Death is a Kindness is truly a beautiful child of the two.


Rin Smit
02:49 Dec 06, 2020

Thank you so much! This was my first story here, so I’m glad you appreciate it!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.