- Mental Health
The Ills of Josh Hillis
I knew she was dead even before I crept closer to her. Her strawberry blond hair began to blend in with the crimson pool on the side of the road. Her head rested upon her pale forearm; a few of her newly decorated finger nails chipped away, now dug into the asphalt. I suppose the chipping was attributed to her sudden impact against the ground. She wouldn't have had time to brace herself. Her bright red, thick- framed glasses rested now on the road. The right lens had been cracked from the impact. They were certainly a vibrant - colored pair of glasses. They definitely matched her personality, as I found out later when I located her on Facebook.
Everything was going swimmingly until her abrupt exodus from the car. We were getting along well, and she was even changing the stations on the radio to different songs she wanted me to hear. I didn't think she would try it, but she did, and my only recourse to impede her progress down the road was by rushing up to her, wielding the two - by - four.
I drive an '89, baby- blue Chevy Cavalier. I am not of legal age to drive it, but Sal lets me. He knows I won't go far, and that I won't let anyone know. Besides, he needs me. He needs all of us. Tracy says she feels special now because of his need. I'm glad she feels that way, but I don't. She thinks Sal has played a pivotal role in the development of her confidence.
Tracy was a thin, petite, young girl, her face covered in freckles. She, like, the unnamed victim lying on the side street at my feet, had strawberry - blond hair (later on, I was able to ascertain her name while going through her possessions). Was that a coincidence? It was exactly that - a coincidence. It wasn't more than that. Tracy was thinner than this girl anyway. This young woman was slightly thick around her hips. Her body was not overweight by any means - she was just a little curvy. Her calves looked strong, so I assumed she had been some sort of athlete, perhaps a cheerleader. I wouldn't imagine she was the cheerleader that they send flying up in the air at games or competitions I've seen on TV, but rather the ones on the squad that would be tossing the girls up and catching them. They are always the stronger ones; I am betting she was one of them. She was definitely pretty enough to have been a cheerleader.
I know Sal was mentioning the radiator was acting up in the Chevy. I didn't believe him because I hadn't encountered that. As I stood over the victim, I felt droplets of rain on my shoulders. I shone my flashlight onto my Timberlands and saw specks landing on the them. I knew it was time to go.
Sal was right... again
Sal had kept a gallon of antifreeze in the trunk. He had used some of it, so he had filled half of it with lukewarm water and the rest of it contained the remaining amount of coolant. The car had begun to overheat, as Sal had told me. I don't know why I never believe him. I popped the hood and poured some into the reservoir. I waited for a few minutes before turning the car back on. The rain became more steady.
There was an old, motif afghan in Sal's trunk, too; I covered my victim with it from head to hip. There were multi - colored squares displayed on it, and it reminded me of my Grandmother's sofa. I thought of the police and how they treat crime scenes. The victim is outlined, covered in a white drape. Yellow markers are placed on the ground and shell casings are circled in chalk. The entire area is cordoned off. That wouldn't be happening here. There'd be nothing to see - no fingerprints to be lifted, no shell casings to be outlined, and no body to cover. I'd make certain of that.
I turned the ignition in the car. It started, and I let it run for a few minutes. The car had 95,000 miles on it, and from what Sal had told us, he never had any problems with it. He's had brakes replaced, rotors, and of course, tires replaced, but nothing real earth - shattering. It had taken him across country ten years ago, to AZ, for him to find his daughter. This car was basically the "...only thing he could count on at that time..." is what Sal told us. Unfortunately, his search for his daughter ended with his identification of her body at the county morgue.
The car began to run. I pressed my foot against the accelerator in order to help expedite the process of heating the engine. I left the vehicle again and approached my victim.
Her mouth had formed a perfect circle
I had never seen this before. It was probably a mistake for me to do so, but I had lifted up the afghan as the car continued to run. When I did so, I noticed her facial expression. Her eyes were wide, her nose had been running, as a slight yellowish - colored stream flowed down to her upper lip. It was around 45 degrees out tonight, so I can understand that. She hadn't been dressed for this type of weather, though, but I am sure she was not expecting to be rushing down a narrow, unlit road late in a fearful stupor at night tonight, either. What I couldn't comprehend was the shape of her mouth. Her lips had formed a perfect circle. The shape must have formed upon the impact of the two - by - four against her skull. I guess it wasn't that shocking to see this type of expression on the victim. That is probably the same face I'd make if I had been smacked in the back of my head with blunt force.
I heard the engine roar slightly, as if I had been inside, hitting the gas. I began to see smoke rising from the hood - it was definitely over heating. I crouched below the car and noticed a leak. There was a puddle forming on the ground. A puddle meant evidence - proof that I was there. Sal wouldn't be happy. I rushed inside the car to turn off the ignition. I wasn't certain what to do - home wasn't that far, but that means I'd be driving with a smoking car down the road, drawing attention to myself. Sure, these roads were seemingly barren, but there was always that risk. I could call Sal, but then he'd have to come down here in his Cherokee and pick me up - pick us up. Then, what would we do with the car? Plus, I wanted to avoid his involvement at all costs for obvious reasons.
I called Tracy. She always had good advice. She was a year younger than me, 14, but she was mature beyond her age. I knew she kept her phone tucked away under her pillow on vibrate, so not to disturb or alarm anyone else. When she'd feel it vibrate, she'd sneak off to the bathroom to answer the call. I had seen her do it many times in the past.
"Trace - I got a problem," I whispered, staring at her through our video call. I am sure my appearance was that of a disheveled, hopeless fool. Appearances can be pretty accurate. My dark - gray hoodie covered my head, despite the fact that I was calling her from inside the Chevy.
"Tell me," she insisted. Her strawberry locks were draped over her orange t - shirt. I couldnt see the emblem, but I was certain it was a Flyers' T - shirt. Sal was a huge hockey fan. He had probably handed down one of his Tees to her.
"I got her, but the car is overheating."
"Where is she?" Tracy inquired. She had quietly closed the bathroom door to ensure privacy in our clandestine conversation.
"Off the side here. The street is dark...it's cool."
"Cool? Not sure about that, Joshua. You need to let the car sit for approximately 15 mins. Let it completely cool down. You should simultaneously be preparing her and placing her comfortably into the vehicle. This way, once you turn the car back on, you can leave the scene immediately. With a cooler engine it would take longer for it to overheat now."
"So leave it off for how long?"
She sighed. "Are you listening to me? 15 minutes. No, make it 20, then-"
I was watching her speak to me, her voice had been raised when she realized I had lost focus in what she was instructing me to do. I am not sure if it was because of her raised voice, or some other reason, but, her face vanished from the video call. The phone was still on, because I could spot the US map shower curtain in the background and the painted canary - yellow walls. Tracy's soft, pale face had disappeared. It was quickly replaced by another face. A middle aged - bearded face with salt and pepper hair had replaced Tracy's youthful, beautiful face. It was Sal.
"I'm coming down the road to fetch you," he told me.