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Always Say I Love You (A Buzby Beach Novella) Part 06


DW is a veteran, a father, a husband, and a teacher. He's published 9 YA/NA novels thus far. The story you're reading might be next.


Will drove the short distance to his house after Mari slammed the truck door. He felt sick at heart about their fight and for acting like a jealous fool over Quentin.

I'll call her and tell her I'm sorry when I get home, he promised himself.

His father was standing by the garage door, holding their fishing tackle. Before Will could get out of his truck, his father started down the driveway with a big smile on his face.

"I figured you'd be getting home about now," his father called out. "How was work?"

"Turning dirty dishes into clean dishes, you know, same old same old," Will replied.

He glanced in his rearview mirror and saw Mari still standing at the end of her sidewalk, looking his way. She waved. Will waved back. Mari smiled and walked up the walk to her house.

Will's dad put the fishing gear in the truck's bed and climbed into the passenger side.

"All set," his dad said. "Let's get this show on the road."

They stopped at the Blue Marlin Sundries Shop in Kure Beach to pick up a half-pound of shrimp and another of squid.

"This way, we're prepared for whatever the fish are biting on," Will's dad assured him as if Will had never bought bait before.

Will's dad prattled on about how Will would be starting his senior year soon, and the next thing they all knew, he'd be heading off to college like his big sister. He lamented how the house would seem so big with only Will’s mom and little sister to keep him company.


They arrived at the gate to the Four-Wheel Drive Access area. Will, who had an annual pass, activated the gate lift.

"How far down do you want to go?" Will asked his dad when he pulled the truck over and set the parking brake. His truck was an older model. The front hubs had to be locked in manually. When he finished that task, Will climbed back in the truck.

"Far enough where we can be by ourselves," his dad replied. "I want to feel like we've got our own little stretch of beach."

About three miles down the beach, they hadn't seen anyone else fishing for at least half-a-mile.

"This is good," Will's father said.

Will turned the truck so that the front end, where the rod holders were attached, faced the ocean. Then he shut off the engine, set the brake, and climbed out. His father climbed out of the passenger side. Will reached into the back of the truck to retrieve the fishing gear. He looked up to see his father pointing a pistol at him.

"What the hell, Dad!?! What are you doing!?!"

"Come around here and get in the passenger seat, son," his father ordered. "We're going to have a little man-to-man talk."

"Dad, we can talk. You don't need a gun. Put it down in the back of the truck, and we can talk all you want."

His father pulled the trigger. A shot whizzed by Will's head. He nearly wet his pants. "Okay, okay, Dad. I'll come around."

"You do that, and no more backtalk," his father said.

As Will circled the back of the truck heading for the passenger side, his father moved alongside the front bumper. He told Will to get in the truck and shut the door. Will did as he was told.

Will's father then pointed the gun very carefully at Will through the windshield and started laughing. "Leave me passed out drunk on the kitchen floor, huh. You'll never do that again."


Will saw the windshield shatter, and then there was nothing. Will was gone. Two rounds hit him in the forehead. Will was dead before he slumped forward against the dashboard. His father walked up to the passenger window and fired several more shots into Will's side and back, laughing all the while. Then he ejected the empty magazine, loaded a full one, and walked around to the driver's side. He got behind the wheel, started the engine, released the brake, put the truck in gear, floored the gas, and raced into the ocean. The truck crashed into the waves and stalled. Will's father placed the gun in his own mouth and pulled the trigger.

The gunshots reverberated up and down the beach. The Park Rangers arrived on the scene within minutes. The waves of the incoming tide were battering the truck they found. At first, the Rangers did not see the two bodies in the truck cab. They worked diligently, got a rope onto the trailer hitch on the truck, and pulled it back onto the beach. It was then that they discovered the grisly contents. The older Ranger, a combat veteran of the war in Iraq, shook his head in disgust. The younger Ranger, a rookie, turned and emptied the contents of his stomach on the sand.

Will and Mari's story concludes in Part 7

© 2020 DW Davis

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