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It's Back! FWG Flash Fiction -- Charon's Crossing

After a month-long hiatus, the Fiction Writers Group flash fiction prompts are back. Today's prompt is proprietary, so I can't post it here, but my entry is called "Charon's Crossing." Enjoy...

Charon's Crossing

The boat was beached by where the bodies were buried. I found it as I left the dead man behind.

I was poaching along the river in the State Lands, crossbow out of season, when I first came across the dumping ground. It rained heavily the previous night, and I was following deer sign when I encountered a small clearing in the forest. Stumbling, I nearly fell into a water-filled depression overgrown with wildflowers. With a muttered curse, I stepped onto higher ground and surveyed the field. What I saw first confused, then horrified me as I understood what I was seeing.

Two rows of pockmarks spaced evenly apart, each row with five places where the ground had settled into an oblong bowl. A third row was started, with freshly turned earth, mounded and bare. No markers memorialized the poor souls buried there, though the tall grass had been well-trodden by a frequent visitor. Yesterday’s news reports of a missing girl came to mind, and I realized I was looking at the work of the I-80 Reaper.

My initial reaction was to dial 911, but if caught poaching for the third time, I would face a fine I couldn’t pay, or maybe even jail. Instead, I made a plan.

When the next teenager was reported missing, I hurried to the site, and lay in wait at the edge of the clearing. Around dusk, my patience was rewarded when I heard branches snapping and a heavy burden being dragged through the underbrush. A fisherman, dressed in a vest and floppy hat, emerged into the clearing trailing a long, canvas bag. When he reached the next spot in line, he stopped and straightened up to stretch his back. He might as well have been wearing a target on his chest.

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