If a tree falls...

Submitted into Contest #160 in response to: Start your story with the whistle of a kettle.... view prompt


Drama Crime Suspense

This story contains sensitive content

***Warning. This story contains violence, gore and profanity.***

The kettle screams, begging for someone to take it from the fire, but no one hears it.

The black crows fly over head, patiently waiting for the carcasses to rot, for their next meal to pick at.

A hiker may venture upon the two dead men laying motionless beside the fire, bleeding from newly fashioned holes that are unable to contain their spirits, seeping out, floating above the tree tops, onward into the sky.

The hiker may ask themselves what happened to these men, before realizing they’re standing amongst hundreds of thousands of dollar bills, different colors, different denominations, realizing they could be rich if they desired.

Or would they turn it in? Call the officials, tell them of the bloody scene they stumbled upon. Two dead men, a kettle that won’t stop screaming, an unattended fire and money, lots of money.

The hiker wouldn’t learn of the story until the following morning, in the paper, or on the news.

The story might sound something like this:

Duncan “Grubby” Grant and his partner Samuel “Sam” Tweed rode a 1989 Ford Thunderbird into the parking lot of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce on the corner of Cundles Road East and Bayfield Street in Barrie, Ontario. They were ready, prepared and planned to rob the bank for everything it had.

Grubby passed the note across the counter to the teller, the security guard was taken care of, two shots to the stomach penetrated his bullet proof vest, Sam took care of that.

The teller was fairly new, she shook uncontrollably, Grubby planned it, he knew she didn’t have experience, he had been casing the joint for months now, she was the perfect innocent target.

Sam moved over to the managers office quickly before he could make any calls.

“Anyone moves the manager gets it,” he said.

“Come out here and get on the floor.” He gestured with the end of the shotgun.

Sam held the shotgun and everyone's attention, no one would question him, he just showed his ruthlessness killing that guard.

“Everyone make your way over to me, get on the ground and lay face down. Remember one wrong move and your manager is dead.”

The teller handed the bag to Grubby, he opened it up and pulled it apart with a wide enough hole so he could see if she snuck a dye pack in.

“Lets, go, move quicker,” he said.

The teller grabbed the stacks from the drawer and dropped them into the bag.

Grubby placed the bag on the ground, it was full enough to stand on its own now. He put both hands on his gun.

“Send the manager over,” Grubby said, turning his head to look at Sam.

The manager listened, he stood up quickly and shuffled over to Grubby, holding his hands high.

Grubby was back watching the teller, she was dropping the stacks of bills on the ground, she would bend over and pick them up.

“God Dammit, hurry up.” he shoved the gun closer to her face. She whimpered.

The manager walked up slowly, he stopped about ten feet away as not to get too close.

Grubby turned his gun at the manager, “Bring me to the safe.”

The teller dropped the last stack of bills into the open bag, Grubby didn’t see the dye pack she had snuck in.

Grubby paraded the bank manager and teller to the front end safe, “open it,” he said.

The bank manager turned the dial slowly being very careful not to scare the man holding the shotgun to his back. It was the thousand pound safe that held enough money for daily transactions. On any given day it would hold about $100,000 dollars in different denominations, today was no different.

Grubby told the teller to grab the bag and open it wide, “I wanna see him drop them stacks in there. No funny business, got it?”

The teller nodded her head, she slipped her hands into the bag opening and pulled it apart, but not too far.

Grubby watched the bank manager load the bag, stack by stack making sure no dye pack made its way in.

Sam was talking with the others, pacing back and fourth, shaking, his voice was panicked.

“We’re not gonna hurt you as long as you listen to us, that security guard had to go. We’re not bad people me and Grubby, just on hard times, you understand?”

Nobody answered they just laid there.

A shot came through the window at the front of the bank, it hit Sam in the upper thigh.

Sam had so much cocaine in his system he didn’t even flinch, he just spun around with his hand on the trigger, firing a shotgun blast through the window hitting the officer in the stomach.

Grubby looked over his shoulder with the sound of the shot ringing out, “Shit.”

He watched Sam’s leg give out, Sam crumbled to his knees, “I think I’m hit Grubby.”

Sam used the shotgun barrel to prop himself back up to his feet. “Let’s get out of here." He looked down and saw the blood saturating his pant leg.

Grubby pulled rope out of his pocket and ordered the bank manager to lay on his stomach, he ordered the teller to tie the managers hands tight behind his back.

“Hurry up,” he said.

She tied it tight.

“Let’s go bitch,” Grubby ordered the teller to her feet and paraded her out the back emergency exit, Sam hobbled his way out the door behind them.

Grubby opened the trunk of the 1989 Ford T-bird and ordered the teller to get in. She begged him, but it made no difference.

“Get in or I’ll kill ya,” he said.

She rolled over the trunk ledge falling into the darkness.

Sam opened the passenger door placed the shotgun in and sat down, “You’ll have to drive Grub, I know it’s not the plan, but I’m losing blood.”

Grubby reached into the trunk, pushing the teller out of the way, unzipping his kit bag he grabbed a belt and shut the trunk, the teller whimpered.

Grubby came around the driver side and opened the back door, throwing the shotgun and money bag in the back, then sat in the drivers seat.

He threw the belt to Sam, “tourniquet yourself, it will stop the bleeding until we can cauterize it.”

Sam grabbed the belt and tucked it under his thigh, taking both ends and cinching it as tight as he could. “Hurry man, I’m fucked up.”

Grubby put it in gear and stepped on the gas, spinning the tires as he left.

The parking lot had an exit on the back side of the building facing south onto Bayfield, straight shot to the 400, they were headed to Lake of Two rivers Campground in Algonquin Park. They set it up earlier in the week, the plan was foolproof.


“Stay awake Sam, were not far now.”

It was a two hour drive to the campsite, it took Grubby just a bit over an hour.

Sam was still seeping blood through his pants but the tourniquet stifled it for now.

He was sweating and pale, which contrasted his dirty face. Sam wasn’t Grubby’s first choice, he was a loose canon, but the other guys chickened out.

Grubby turned the corner into the campground, it was the middle of the week, there wasn’t a lot of campers, the ones that were here were spread out from each other.

It was too dark now for anybody to the see the make and model of the car that just pulled in.

Grubby stopped the car in campsite 41, he shut off the lights and got out. He walked around to the passenger side and helped Sam out, he hobbled him over and propped him in the sitting position on a log close to the firepit.

“Don’t worry bud, I’ll get the fire going and we will get you patched up."

Sam moaned.

Grubby walked over to his tent and grabbed the medical kit. He brought it over and placed it beside Sam.

He went to the back seat of the car and grabbed a newspaper and tore off a few strips, he walked over to the fire pit and built a teepee with the kindling, he stuffed the strips of torn paper in amongst the wood and lit the fire.

Grubby had quit smoking years ago but never stopped carrying his lighter, it was useful.

The kettle was hanging on the fire poker that was pinned into the ground. He filled it with the water from the jug that was on the picnic table, spilling it as he poured.

He walked over and placed the kettle on the cooking grate that sat over top of the firepit, he threw two logs on the fire causing embers to jump towards the sky.

The teller wasn't making much noise now, besides a few whimpers and cries.

Grubby leaned down to look at Sam’s leg under the glow of the fire.

“Got you pretty good eh buddy?”

“ Yeah Grub, he got me good.” Sam’s life was draining out of his body.

“Don’t worry bud, we’ll cauterize it, as soon as that kettle boils.”

Grubby stood up and paused for a minute. The glow of the fire flickered and danced amongst the trees.

He walked to the trunk of the T-bird, he fumbled with the keys in the darkness before holding them up to see them in the fires glow. He put the car key in the key slot and paused briefly before turning the key, the trunk slightly popped open.

The forest was quiet except for the crackle of the fire.

The trunk flung open and the teller pointed the gun at Grubby’s face, Grubby tensed his muscles.

She was clenching her teeth, her hands wrapped around the gun, finger on the trigger.

It was the Colt 1911 Grubby kept in his kit bag for emergencies.

“Fucking bitch,” Grubby said.

She pulled the trigger sending the bullet directly through Grubby’s upper lip, in through his skull punching a hole through the back of his head, the blood sprayed over the trunk and all over her face, her eyes were squeezed shut.

Sam heard the shot, turning his head, his eyes wide open as he watched Grubby fall to the ground.

The teller climbed out of the trunk and stood over the faceless body, she stood there for a minute before turning and looking at Sam, sitting propped up on the log.

Sam was staring right at her, slumped to his side drained of energy, he watched as she slowly walked up to him.

She reached down and undid the tourniquet on Sam’s leg pulling it out from under him, the gunshot wound spurted blood. They both watched as blood dripped from her face landing beside Sam.

Not saying a word she just turned around and walked towards the picnic table, dropping the belt as she walked. She opened the spout of the jug and splashed water on her face, doing her best to clean the blood spatter off, wiping her face with her shirt sleeve when she was done.

She walked over to the T-bird and opened the back door reaching inside, she grabbed the money bag and threw it as far as she could into the campsite, it landed on the ground and blew open with a small bang, blue dye and money exploded out, fluttering onto the ground.

She shut the back door of the T-bird and walked to the trunk delicately avoiding any of the blood seeping out of Grubby’s head, like a spilled can of paint.

The teller pulled the keys from the trunk and shut it with both hands.

She got in the driver seat of the T-bird and backed out of the campsite running over Grubby’s lifeless body as she left.

Sam lay motionless, he was laying on his side now too exhausted to move, he was almost dead.

The fire crackled and embers floated towards the forest ceiling.

The kettle began to scream.

August 27, 2022 01:28

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18:40 Aug 29, 2022

Loved it! And yes, your next adventure could be called "The Teller" I hope to be reading it soon! And I loved the crows hovering overhead. Nicely done


W.E. White
19:57 Aug 29, 2022

Thank you! Im looking forward to writing it.


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Jeannette Miller
16:30 Aug 29, 2022

I like the pacing and action with this story; although, the end part regarding the teller is intriguing. I get but ai don't get why she left the money with them. To let people know they were the ones who stole it but then wouldn't she have to answer the question of why she didn't bring it back after she escaped? Maybe she doesn't go back to the bank but she keeps the money and starts a new life? I like how the story brings it back around and everything flows naturally. Good job!


W.E. White
17:11 Aug 29, 2022

Thank you for the compliment! You’re absolutely right I have been building this character (the teller) ever since I finished this story, might turn her into another story or two.


Jeannette Miller
02:53 Aug 31, 2022



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Aeris Walker
18:11 Aug 28, 2022

I really like how you brought the story full circle, beginning and ending it with the kettle. This was my favorite sentence— It just set the tone immediately: “The black crows fly over head, patiently waiting for the carcasses to rot, for their next meal to pick at.” Another great adventure! Well done.


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