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MY DARK SOUL

Do you believe in reincarnation? Marty has dreams in which he robs, kills and buries five men…  before he was born? Now, decades later, bodies are found. Are Marty’s dreams coincidences or are they real, passed from the darkest of souls?

My Dark Soul is a story of crime and reincarnation, of questions with no easy answers. What can you believe? Thrilling. Chilling.

MY DARK SOUL

A STORY OF CRIME AND REINCARNATION

CHAPTER ONE

The sound of the shovel biting into earth. The ache in my shoulders as the dirt is lifted. The pelting noise of the clods thrown on the ground to the side of the grave. After a while, the sounds and efforts become routine. It is the first grave to be dug in the thicket by the river in the west end of the city. There are four more to come; five graves for five dead bodies.

I drive my car to the grave site although it is only a ten-minute walk from my home. One can’t carry a body over a shoulder through the streets of this quiet, upscale neighbourhood in the borough of Etobicoke in the city of Toronto. A resident might complain.

It’s risky enough to park my dark blue coupe in the tiny lot at the entrance to the park and its patches of urban forest. The cops patrol the general area most nights, even though they usually pass the lot without a glance. But, one never knows when a stalwart officer will take advantage of the out-of-the-way place to stop his or her marked car for an hour’s nap.

I’m taking the risk of staying local because I run a bigger one driving kilometres into the countryside to bury the bodies. A lone car on Ontario’s backroads – even my boring two-year-old Ford Tempo – in the middle of the night, would be a bright beacon to the Ontario Provincial Police or local cops trying to overcome the boredom of the night shift with traffic stops. 

I open the trunk of my vehicle and yank the body over the bumper. I loaded the body feet out, so, in the removal, the head of the dead man falls on the gravelled lot with a sickening thud. I care only that no one hears the noise. The body is wrapped in a plastic tarpaulin I bought at Canadian Tire for $49.95. It has brass grommets I use to bind the tarp with cheap rope, also from the box store.  

I drag the corpse off the gravel of the lot and through the forest. Being an urban woodlot, the signs of the dragging will be ignored by hikers, runners, dog-walkers, picnickers, fishers and others who use the park. There are lots of similar marks in the woods and few people go off the beaten paths to explore a few metres of unexciting underbrush. Besides, this close to the Humber River, the ground is often wet and muddy. 

I pull the corpse only twenty metres or so off the lot to the prepared grave and topple the wrapped corpse in. I spend the next while shovelling the earth over my former confederate. I toss the extra dirt into the forest and kick dead leaves and sticks over the site. In the end, it is a classic shallow grave that I figure no one will bother to explore.

I return to my SUV without a look back and drive home. I live in a small apartment on top of a separate garage at the end of the driveway of a large, single-family house. The home is on a street of large homes, some of them true mansions. The garage is as secluded as it could be in the city borough, a reason why I like living here. I am allowed sole use of the garage as well and that was where I store the wrappings for the dead men. 

I groan. I have already brought the bodies from the north to my quarters in several trips. Now I will have to do a similar thing four more times, wrapping and carting bodies from the garage one at a time, at night, to the wood by the river. The five dead men will lie in five graves in one clearing in the grove. The new and hidden graveyard is only a block away from a very large, prestigious cemetery that could have accommodated all five very nicely. And others would have done the hard slogging. I recognized the irony, but I can’t even consider a public cemetery. 

***

Marty Simcoe woke from his dream. He wasn’t frightened by the nightmare because it was a rerun. He couldn’t count the number of times he had been through the same dream. It was one in a series about a bank robbery and mass murder. Marty no longer tried to distinguish the dreams from reality. As far as he knew, he had committed the bank robbery with his confederates. He had seen them all killed in a dispute over the sharing of the loot. He buried the other five, one by one. He dreamed of doing all this at some time in the past but he didn’t know when. After all, he was only 19 years old now.

It wasn’t the dreams that scared Marty Simcoe. After every dream and awakening, Marty Simcoe was deathly afraid that the cops were coming for him. He had that feeling this morning as he ate breakfast in his home.

He lived in a rented apartment in a building next to a subway station, not in the top floor of a garage on another side street. Marty did live in Toronto but kilometres away from the home in his dreams and from the Humber River that flowed past the graves. He had never in his life seen the parking lot in which he had unloaded bodies in dream after dream after dream.

The dread went with Marty as he left his rental unit and boarded the subway to get to the University of Toronto in the heart of the city. He had returned to school this week after months studying at home during the COVID-19 emergency that had locked down most of the world. Classes at the university had resumed, even though it was August, in an attempt to resuscitate the second term of the year. A third term would begin in late October with no break. The normal school year wouldn’t catch up until the following summer. 

Marty’s fear of arrest wasn’t dispelled until he walked into the classroom where his Economics course was being taught. 

About Sandi Ralph

I am an artist living and working in Toronto. My work can be seen at Oeno Gallery, Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada House Trafalgar Square, London U.K. I am a member of Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, Open Studio, Toronto and Centre 3, Hamilton Ontario

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