The serenity of the scene belied the treachery that had just taken place.
As dawn approached and the light of the moon, entering its waxing crescent phase, began to fade in the slowly brightening sky, the two men, covered with dirt, gingerly made their way down to the valley from outcropping above.
Upon reaching the valley floor, Ben said to Joe, “That was some nasty business, bro.”
“It had to be done,” Joe responded. “Do you think we dug it deep enough?” he asked.
Ben looked up toward the spot where they had just buried the body. He saw the large tree with its small outgrowth silhouetted against the clear, early morning sky. “Yeah, I thinks so. Besides, that ridge isn’t easy to get to. I don’t think anyone will find it.”
“We had to do it,” Joe opined. “We had no other choice.”
“I know, I know,” Ben admitted. “But that doesn’t make it any easier.”
“How are we going to break the news to Angela?” Joe asked. “She’s gonna take it hard.”
“We just tell her,” Ben said. “You know, like what they say about ripping off a bandage.”
“No, I think we should tell her he went upstate to stay at a farm,” Joe said.
“She knew he was sick, so maybe that would work,” Ben said.
“Or maybe that he went to heaven,” Joe suggested.
The two men made there way to the car and drove home. When they got there, they walked into the kitchen to find their younger sister sitting at the kitchen table munching on a blueberry muffin. She looked up at her two older brothers.
“Angie, honey, we have some news for you.”
“I know,” she said. “Ruff is dead.”
The brothers looked at each other. “How did you know?” Joe asked.
“You two knuckleheads made so much noise at two in the morning that it woke me up,” Angela said. “I looked out of the window and saw you throwing the dog’s body into the trunk of the car, along with two shovels.”
“Are you okay?” Ben asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Ruff was 16 and he was hurting. He’s probably in a better place now,” she said. Then she got a grin and her face and said, “You know, like at a farm upstate or in doggy heaven.”