Grave Bargains

A Short Story By Kate Kelsen


In the wake of an unforgivable crime against his family, Peter is determined to bury the past and start fresh. His good intentions are challenged by a sinister stranger, who is determined to dig up his sins, and threatens to jeopardise his efforts to make amends.

Grave Bargains (Excerpt)

The clouds were pink on the horizon at dusk as Peter hooked Kimba’s leash onto her collar. They set off toward the parkland at the end of the street, jogging down the steps to the concrete path at the bottom.

Kimba criss-crossed over the path in front of Peter, sniffing at the grass.

“Come on, Kimba,” Peter instructed. “Walk straight!”

He looked up just in time to see the man as he crashed into him, falling backwards to the ground. Kimba skittered out of the way.

“Hey!” Peter winced, clutching his elbow. “Watch where you’re…”

Peter looked up at the man. His face was half concealed by a wide brimmed black felt hat, and he wore a heavy overcoat.

“Hello, Peter.”

Peter pushed himself back up to his feet, picking up Kimba’s leash.

“Who are you?”

“You can call me Josef,” said the man, whose accent hinted Jewish heritage.

He looked down at Kimba, letting her sniff his hand.

“Don’t touch my dog!”

“I was just giving her a treat.” Josef withdrew his hand. “I know what you’ve done, Peter.”

Fury flared in Peter’s eyes.

“You were at our house, weren’t you? The other night? Last night?” Peter took his phone out. “I’m calling the police. Don’t even think about going anywhere.”

“I wouldn’t do that, Peter,” said Josef. “When I said I know what you’ve done, I wasn’t talking about your affair.”

Peter lowered his phone. His look was uncertain for a moment, before turning angry again.

“I’m warning you, mister, stay away from my family. I’m warning you.”

Peter turned and jogged away.

Man in black hat in the rain at dark overcast sky

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