“All in a Night’s Work” by Charles Welch (WriteHive 2020 Horror Contest)

The following is a short horror story by Charles Welch for the WriteHive Horror Contest.

**TRIGGER WARNING: the following story contains graphic depictions of assault on a child.

The plastic of the body bag shrink wrapped the corpse a few seconds before giving way. Roy always liked watching it curl up and disappear. The stench, which would be abominable to most, was becoming quite pleasant to him after so many months on the job. Of course, his boss didn’t know he was freelancing. The missing children bulletins at church were starting to layer themselves. There was something about children he couldn’t get from adults. Their youth, soft skin, and overall cleanliness. Even when they were dirty. Especially when they were dirty. Plus they tended to be weak and easy to dupe. He never left any evidence behind, aside from some clothing souvenirs, and his garden always grew the best produce for the local farmer’s market.

This was his entertainment. Who needed television? Or the internet? As he stared at the flames he let loose inside a pair of size six Dora the Explorer panties. When done he tossed them into the inferno. And breathed in deeply. Ahh. That hit the spot.

Aside from working at the crematorium, he had a few other side jobs that kept him busy. He was the local butcher, for example. Always giving the best deals on steaks. People loved him, and no one questioned him walking around a bit bloody. He tried to be presentable whenever possible, but sometimes he forgot. He was also a deacon in his church, usually leading the way with the songs.

Tonight he had a twofer as someone else had unknowingly helped him out when he came across a car accident on Route 2. The two drivers did not make it, sad to say, but there was one surviving passenger in the back seat, albeit unconscious. And that led up to the present. Those panties were the last item he had had to remove. He stared at his prize for awhile. Then caressed the soft skin. It had all the right bumps and dents he could wish for. As he caressed he probed, ever so gently. He kissed all the most forbidden of places, and praised and thanked his lord for the bounty. He proceeded to lower the gurney to the appropriate height and did what nature said he must. The child started to arouse from oblivion, but he was ready for that with a makeshift garrote. Soon it was quiet again. But it tried to scream when it was time for the pyre, if only it had had the voice to do so.

Hours later with all his chores finished and his pleasure satisfied, he had to show up at his main occupation. Someone finally discovered that accident and they needed the sheriff to do all those sheriffly things. Consoling families and doing his share of paperwork. If this were a story, maybe he would get his comeuppance. Possibly in his own car accident, or a tree falling on him, being struck by lightning, or just shot in a robbery. But this was real life. And in real life, the bad guys usually win.

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