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August Heat

Rachel’s ending:

James felt that the sweltering warmth of the air had already affected Charles.

"What man would carve a tombstone with correct information about a man whom he had never met?" thought James.

He was provoked to ask Charles questions about the gravestone.

"Charles, it seems like much more than a coincidence that you knew and carved the correct information about me. If I did not trust you, and I do, I might think that you would murder me. Isn’t that an amusing thought?" inquired James, not knowing he was venturing onto thin ice.

The large man looked up from the sharpening stone. His forehead was beaded with sweat. Charles lifted an already sharpened tool from its hiding place.

"It is a shame that people put such trust in others. Some people don’t deserve trust. I, unfortunately for you, am one of those people."

Though he had no apparent motive for his next deadly action, Charles sank the sharp metal blade into the unsuspecting head of James Clarence Withencroft. James emitted a scream that had enough volume to awaken a sleeping baby two houses down the road. Without warning, James was thrust into a world of inky blackness.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

When James opened his eyes, he saw Charles and a doctor standing over him with worried expressions spreading across their whitened faces. James was in an unfamiliar house; he was lying on a stranger’s bed.

"You gave us quite a scare, young man. We thought you were on the brink of death until you let out a powerful scream. You must have been having a nightmare because you have been tossing a lot over the past few day," proclaimed the physician..

"Who are you?" Where am I? Why am I here?" James demanded.

"I am Charles Atkinson. The heat made you pass out in the street. I brought you here to my house. The doctor told me you might die, so I made you a tombstone. Doctor Banks told me what to carve on the piece of marble. I found this picture in your pocket, and I was amazed at its subject. You made a perfect sketch of me giving testimony in the defense of a dear friend. I don’t understand how you were able to draw an unfamiliar person in such convincing detail.

James remembered his terrifying dream as he rested his eyes on Charles.

"This kind man wouldn’t slay me, would he?" James thought.

He looked across the room to where Charles’s sharpening stone and tools sparkled in the morning sunlight.