For Murder Though It Have No Tongue
by Jeff Baker
(March 7, 2023)
The lights at the football stadium were off and they could barely see the grass in the reflected light from the city.
“Gimmie that thermos,” Hammie Dane said from where the two twenty-somethings stood in the shadow of the stands.
“Careful unscrewing the cup,” Horacio said handing him the thermos. “I about lost it once.”
“Okay, I…hey! This is hot!” Hammie said.
“Careful!” Horacio said.
“I am,” Hammie said sipping the tea. “Wish we’d put whiskey in it.”
Hammie and Horacio had come here to kill Hammie’s Uncle Claude. They knew he liked to go for walks on the old college football field where he had played as a young man. The voice of Hammie’s late father had spoken to them, claiming murder and demanding vengeance. Claude was now married to Hammie’s mother.
“You want some tea?” Hammie asked.
“Maybe later,” Horacio said rubbing Hammie’s arm fondly.
In the dim light they briefly looked into each other’s eyes. Then Horacio gazed across the field.
“Look!” Horacio whispered pointing. “There he is! Or there somebody is.”
They saw a dark figure in the shadows under the goalpost on the other end of the field.
“It’s him,” Horacio said.
“He can’t see us,” Hammie said. “Keep quiet. Follow me.” He felt the knife he had brought. They needed to get close.
The two men edged along the shadows of the stands. Then Hammie pressed his hand against Horacio’s chest and they stopped and stood deathly still.
Uncle Claude had fallen to his knees in the end zone. Was he celebrating? Was he ill?
“He’s praying,” Hammie whispered.
“Yeah.” Horacio said.
They stood and stared. They could almost hear Claude’s whispered prayers.
Hammie quickly turned and walked back the way they came, Horacio following.
“I can’t do it,” Hammie said, looking exhausted, bending over to grab his knees, breathing hard.
“You okay?” Horacio asked.
“I can’t kill a man,” Hammie said. “Even him. I don’t care who tells me to.”
Horacio patted his friend on his shoulders.
“I’m here for you, buddy,” he said.
“Yeah, thanks.” Hammie said. “I wanna get back to my apartment. Hey, would you stay with me tonight? I mean, we don’t have to, you know…”
“I’ll stay.” Horacio said. “You need your sleep.”
“Yeah.” Hammie said. “Hey, you’ve always stuck by me.”
“Yeah,” Horacio said as they walked to the car. “Hey, I got a CD from Flights of Angels. Should help you get to sleep.”
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The draws for the March 2023 Flash Fiction Draw Challenge were A Shakespearean story, including a cup of tea, set on a football field. My story is sequel to “2B or Not 2B” https://authorjeffbaker.com/2022/08/19/someones-not-at-the-door-for-friday-flash-fics-2b-or-not-2b-by-jeff-baker-august-19-2022/ a story that I wrote in the heat of summer set in an air-conditioned apartment as an homage to one of my favorite fantasy writers. This was a chance to do a sequel, following the much better original. And the title is a line from that original. ——jeff