The Misunderstanding (Part 6 of 6)

When he was sure they were just barely out of earshot he screamed, “Your friends are dead. You hear me? DEAD!!”

He pulled off into a small clearing in the woods to take a leak.

Two hours later, state trooper Moe Burnside noticed a yellow pickup in a clearing in the woods slightly off the highway. He saw a beat-up yellow pick-up. It looked abandoned. He called in the plates. The reply made him reach for his gun, call for backup, and approach very carefully. He always did when suspects were as dangerous as William Burdett’s rap sheet indicated he was.

No need. What was left of Burdett’s head dangled out the driver’s side window frame. Blood was everywhere. The trooper flashed his light inside the truck and saw a very dead suspect with a gun clutched in his right hand. He sighed. “Suicide.”

Seventy-five miles away, Jayce Kendall’s brain roiled. He’d followed the caravan, kept going when the others turned back, and stopped out of sight when Burdett pulled into the clearing in the woods. Kendall knew Burdett would never leave his friends alone. The psychopath’s fate was sealed when he heard Burdett screaming about killing them. He crept to the open passenger side window of the old yellow truck.

Burdett saw him and growled, “YOU’RE DEAD!” as he reached for his gun under the seat with his right hand.

“Looking for this?”

When Burdett looked up, Jayce leaned in the open passenger side window, pressed the muzzle of Burdett’s gun against the man’s right temple, and fired. It was the only way he could be sure Burdett would never have another “misunderstanding” with Ray and his family, or anyone else, again.

Jayce wiped his prints from the gun and placed it in Burdett’s hand to make sure the psychopath’s prints were where they needed to be. He arranged Burdett’s hand and gun to make it look like he’d shot himself.

Returning to his car, Jayce stripped the surgeon’s gloves from his hands and placed them inside-out in a pocket. About half-way home, he bought a meal from a fast-food joint. He ate it in his car, stuffed the gloves inside the empty bag, wadded it up, and threw it into a garbage can before leaving the parking lot.

Jayce knew no one could ever learn what he’d done. He alone would carry the secret burden for the rest of his days.

About russtowne

My wife and I have been married since 1979. We have 3 adult children and 4 young grandsons. I manage a wealth management firm I founded in 2003. My Beloved is a Special Education teacher for Kindergartners and First Graders. I'm a published author of 23 books in a variety of genres for grownups and children. In addition to my family, friends, investing, and writing, my passions include reading, watching classic movies, experiencing waves crashing on rocky shores, hiking in ancient redwood forests, and enjoying our small redwood grove and fern garden.

13 comments on “The Misunderstanding (Part 6 of 6)

  1. A winning ending to bad news. ❤
    Not to nitpick, I have a question. Which temple had Jayce shot at, which hand did the gun get placed in, and was Burdett right or left handed.? If he pointed at the left temple, the gun would have to be outside the truck. Small details like this jump out at me. Doesn't matter that much. but I found it a wee bit jarring. 😮 The tension in the story was excellent and a wonderful read.

    • I love these kinds of questions! Thank you for asking them. They were asked once before and I amended the story to answer them. Sadly, I must have posted the un-fixed version here. I’ll send the amended version after the U.S. investment markets close today. Jayce leaned into the passenger side window, Burdett was right handed and that was the hand in which the gun was placed, and it was his right temple that received high-impact lead poisoning.

    • Thank you. I thought it was less tacky than my first thought: His right temple received instant air conditioning.

    • I see that the story said Jayce walked up to the passenger side window, but I added the word “right” to Burdett’s hand as he reached for his gun, and specified it was the right temple. Does the ending answer your excellent questions now?

    • If Jayce is leaning into the passenger side open window he’d be facing Burdett’s right side. Since Jayce shoots him in the right temple, and puts the gun in Burdett’s right hand, and since it has been established that Burdett is right-handed (because that is the hand with which Burdett reaches for his gone under the seat), it seems to fit okay to me. I must be missing something. Please help me to understand what it is (and thank you for not giving up on this if there is still some question in your mind.)

    • Your questions helped me to tighten the story and are appreciated. Thank you. I’d never think you meant harm or had bad intentions based on such helpful comments.

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