Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Guest Writer: Jenny Picciotto

Digging Up the Past

The trees stood like sentinels in the falling sunlight, silent witness to the falling leaves, fallen rotted fruit. Soon it would be first frost. A fox stole across the lane between the trees, eating, quickly, the remains of the red life-giving apples.

It had to be done. The house was up for sale. He had to finish it now, before the ground was frozen. He kicked at the stinking apples, fermenting where they fell. Chink, Chink, Chink. His spade cut into the earth, seeking the shallow grave. The corpse was rotting too. “It must be here” he thought.

The trees shivered in the chill air; brittle leaves rustling. He was sweating, his flannel sleeve sopping as he wiped his forehead with the back of his arm. Hitching up his worn overalls, he began to dig again. Night was falling quickly now. His wife would be home in another hour. He would have to work fast. He imagined the corpse turning in its cold earthy embrace, evading him in death as she had in life. “I’m sure this is the place:” he thought.

His shovel finally bearing down on the body, the image of her face rushed back at him, crushed by another shovel. She had been running, bare footed, past the watching trees. He was chasing her, flying, fleeing, her feet flapping softly on the firm muddy orchard soil. His leather boots pursuing, arms reaching for her streaming hair. He grabbed her, a red rose blooming on her cheek as he struck her; back of hand like a stone.

“Where d’ya think your goin’?” he taunted.

He fell on her, his chest covering her mouth so she couldn’t make a sound. Hands gripping, tearing open her blouse, her lacy bra strap pulled taut – until it tore. He clawed at her, hungrily. Holding her with one arm across her chest, with one hand he tried to unzip his jeans, but she struggled free and ran again, half nude, past the silent trees and into the woodshed.

He saw a startled fox escape behind the woodpile. She was inside. She tried to brace the door shut with a shovel, but he pushed it in. She was scrambling backward to the far edge of the dark shed. He didn’t know she had found a knife, was holding it to her bare chest. He fell on her again, his hot lips gnawing at her face. She plunged the knife into his side; steamy sticky redness welling up, soaking his shirt, running down his leg.

“Bitch!” he screamed, backing away. Finding the shovel, he raised it over her head, leveling blow after blow onto her face and arms, until she was drenched too; red with blood; red like the apples on the trees in her father’s orchard.

© Jenny Picciotto 2010

Jenny Picciotto is a writer, massage therapist, yoga instructor, mother, wife and office manager. She has written poetry and short stories for private consumption for most of her life. Her work was included in the publication “6S – Mind Games”, a collection of stories told in 6 sentences.


  1. A panting and bloody tale indeed - but I wondered what he was going to do with her once he'd dug her up?

  2. Jenny, you sucked me in right away and I didn't want this story to stop. Like Sandra said, I would have loved to know what happened next. Great write!

  3. Jenny this rocks! I got chills when reading about the chase and the trees. I could hear her running... I could hear the despair.

  4. When this came to MuDJoB, I didn't know at first quite what to think. Was it too adult for this venue, too violent? After a couple of reads, I only knew I'd have to post it. It's got the suspense, eeriness, and haunting perspective friends at 6S are (in)famous for. Thanks for several sleepless nights, J. We must do it again some time. I actually do love being haunted.


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