Bruce was the one to raise the alarm by refusing to come back to either of the girls despite their whistles, shouts and offers of treats.
“You’d better go and get him Jill,” ordered Liz bossily, “He’s your dog.”
Exasperated, Jill was also hot and breathless by the time she’d slipped and slid down the steep muddy bank to reach him, totally soaking her feet in a tangled mass of sodden ferns in the process. Strange how her sister only ever reminded her that Bruce was her dog when it involved going chasing after him in the dirt or something, she grumbled to herself as she brushed her filthy hands down her jeans.
“So what was the point of those damned obedience lessons?” she berated her now very muddy-looking Labrador, “And look what you’ve made me do to my new trainers. They’re completely destroyed!”
He still wouldn’t budge an inch, even when she’d clipped on his lead. Instead he whimpered and began scratching and pawing frantically at a huge mound of loosely packed recently-turned earth. Almost immediately, a pungent, nauseating odour filled her nostrils, causing her to heave involuntarily. At first glance she thought the heap must be a dead fox. But no, hang on a minute! That was not a fox’s tail at all. That looked more like dirty, grey-brown material beneath those nettles. It looked like it could be the sleeve of an anorak or something.
Holding her nose with one hand and poking gingerly at the undergrowth with her walking cane, she tried to see better, then suddenly wished she had not. Trying not to gag with the realization of what she was looking at, her legs began to shake uncontrollably and she sank down to her knees, feeling rather faint. Sounds of the world paled into insignificance, drowned out by the hammering of her heart. Later, she could not be at all sure how long she had stayed there dumbstruck like that before a feeling of panic surged up in her chest. She backed away, step by faltering step, her eyes firmly glued to the remains of a human body, attached to the arm she had just touched with the end of her stick.
“What’s going on down there,” shouted Liz, “you’re taking ages?”
In reply, Jill could only retch once again and pointed weakly to where Bruce was still sniffing and poking about in the undergrowth.
Her elder sister, ever the controller, was down the bank in an instant to see what the matter was.
“Oh my God, Jill!” Liz moaned as she approached. Grabbing and pulling at Bruce’s lead, she began hauling him away, then stopped suddenly, her jaw gaping open. At the same instant, the two girls saw the open leather handbag that Bruce had disturbed, and which was now gaily spilling its contents of what looked very much like fifty-pound notes all over the place.
“Bruce, Here! Now!” Jill screamed hysterically, her heart pounding wildly.
She staggered back to the muddy bank where the air was fresher and fumbled around in her coat pocket for her phone. She felt light-headed now, her mind completely blank. What was the emergency number to call the Police? She could not think. This was just surreal! Sobbing hysterically, she was desperately trying to steady her fingers enough to unlock her phone when she felt Liz’s hand close firmly around her wrist.
“Jill, put that away!” she hissed, “We’re not calling the Police!”
“What do you mean? Who should we call then? Oh my God Liz, this is awful!”
Her sister had picked up a thick wad of the fifty-pound notes and was now waving it in front of their faces, smiling at her.
“Nobody! We split all this down the middle, and no-one need ever know. If you call the Police, we won’t be able to have any of it, will we, you idiot?”
“Er yes but… erm, we can’t do that Liz… you can’t be serious! I mean, what about that, that, that dead body? We can’t just leave it there like that.”
Peering a little closer at her sister, Jill noticed a strange glint in her eye,
“You are joking, right Sis?”
“No, I’m not joking! Of course we can leave it. Think about it. Nobody knows we’ve been here. Come on. Let’s just go home with this money…. Someone’s bound to find that body before long anyway.”
Jill felt her head starting to swim. This cannot be happening… it must be a dream! she muttered to herself.
Looking on in sheer amazement as her sister gathered up the remainder of the scattered notes from in and around the bag, a cold shiver fluttered down Jill's spine before a feeling of fury and disbelief bubbled up from somewhere deep in her stomach,
“Hang on a minute! I don’t get you at all... “ she raged, “All my life, you‘ve been there bossing me around, telling me to do this because it’s ‘the right thing to do’, not to do that because it’s ‘wrong’, and now… Now, you’re telling me we should ‘steal’ all this money and just leave that person lying there… Without… without going to the Police or anything? You can’t be serious!”
At the edge of the clearing, Bruce suddenly cocked up his ears and began growling whilst staring off into the distance, the hackles on his back raised to their full extent. Someone was coming!
“Well, you can do what you want, I’m off! With or without you…” Liz snapped, stuffing the bundle of notes into her jacket pocket. She stared at Jill, shrugged, swung around and began clawing her way back up the muddy bank before Jill had chance to utter another word.
Author Notes: I would really appreciate any thoughts from anyone on this before going any further with it.... (bad or good)
Not sure whether to continue or not.