Josiah felt his heart pounding, and as the muscles in his chest and face tightened, the sound of the breeze blowing gently through the field and the waves breaking on the sandy beach were drowned out by the deafening silence in his mind. He lay lifeless on the ground for what seemed like hours, while the same thought gnawed at him relentlessly: did they see where he buried it? Although he did not want to chance being seen, uncertainty consumed his thoughts. On hands and knees he clambered away from the highway until he crested a small hillock, which would afford him the vantage point he desired. Slowly he raised himself onto his knees to risk a glance back toward the beach. Josiah noticed that the tide had come in considerably since he fled the seashore. He had no sense of how long it had been, but he hadn’t expected to see the waves crashing into the inhospitable bluffs to the north, at least not for another hour or two. Josiah turned his head the other way and let out a deep sigh. Every wave smoothed over another pair of his anxious footprints, which emerged from the place where he had buried it, now about six inches under water.
Suddenly sand shot up from part of the beach nearer the cliff that was obscured by the ground. Josiah collapsed on the ground once again as the sandy clumps sprayed into a frothy wave. When he heard the familiar sound, there was no longer any doubt. The door of his VW Bug slammed shut. In just a few moments, the tables had turned. “It must not be disinterred,” he thought to himself. With nothing to lose, Josiah sprang up to his feet and burst into a full sprint. As he neared the cliff’s edge, he could see the waves slapping the far side of his VW Bug and a spidery man wading out into the shallow brine. He halted precisely above the site of the inhumation. Extending almost seamlessly from the man’s black coat-sleeve was a short shovel. When Josiah reached the top of the ravine where he had previously scrambled up, he briefly shot a glance out to sea. What he saw both perplexed and unnerved him. There were thousands of them, if not millions. Small white speckles cloaked the surface of the sea like seagulls. What were they and where had they come from? As he crouched down to begin his descent, Josiah felt a sharp pain in the back of his head. The man in the dark suit, the mysterious spots on the ocean and the dark, stormy sky swam in front of his eyes as he flopped onto the ground for the third time, this time involuntarily.
It was already 10:15 in the morning, and he was late. Josiah flew down the city-sidewalk. He knocked into a blond lady carrying a tray of flowers and didn’t even look back as she fought to regain her balance. He had to get there before the trial started. The court house came into view as he rounded the corner, but Josiah stopped dead in his tracks. A man wearing a black suit was standing directly in front of the large glass doors leading into the court house. He knew he recognized him, but from where. “You actually thought you could escape our notice, did you?” a mellow, but cynical voice inquired. Josiah’s mind was clouded, and he felt a throbbing headache coming on. The street had vanished, and he found himself lying on his back, strapped to a table. The man wasn’t across the street, but leaning over his face and eclipsing the bright light on the ceiling. A wry smile spread across the thin man’s face as he extended his hand into the light. In it he clutched the tattered Elmo.