Murder with No Remains


Sometimes, despite all the pleasant thoughts of the day, we find ourselves contemplating

some dark and dangerous ones. I was so intrigued at work, watching my good friend and

coworker, Mark C. emptying the combustibles into certain designated large metal barrels.

These containers are sometimes full of gasoline type liquids, never to be mixed with other

ones. He wears a rather strange goggles contraption (a mask with a filter in place), helping

protect his lungs from gaseous vapors. Other containers have fluids taken from a variety of

damaged containers. Liquids that remove dirt and stains, flammable cleaning components,

along with others which are oil based. I have written a rather awful, atrocious story here.

In all fairness, “Sweeney Todd” and “The Little Shop of Horrors,” along with many other

gruesome tales have rumbled around my mind. Setting my story partially in the warehouse

where I daily work, along with the rural country areas, is what textbooks for writing say,

“Use what you know.”


I used to travel down roads to remote homes, with my teaching assistant, Karen, for our

bi-annual visits with families. I hope these elements help to make my story seem ‘real.’


One eerie and chilling day, we went to a one-main-street (if it had been out West, you

could have called it a “one horse”) town. This was a small blink of a place, where no one

appeared to be home.

On her home visit form, the mother had suggested if she and her child weren’t in their

trailer, to venture down the lane to another location. When a hound dog howled, into the

soundless air, just as we both noticed someone peeking out from behind their curtains,

we both jumped! We each exclaimed the feeling of the town being “haunted” (her reaction)

or “This could be a Stephen King setting” (my reaction).

This may be the ‘seed’ that was planted, as part of my ‘inspiration’ which germinated into

the following macabre story.


By pressing “Publish,” this holds my own original thoughts and I would appreciate if you

would contact me, before you re-blog this. Here is a piece of my own wicked mind.


“Murder with No Remains”

Weary from working with the various poisonous smells, pouring different liquids into

the huge funnel, Mark got into his truck. He had a lot of responsibility facing him upon

his return to his home. He turned on the radio station to Mansfield’s 93.3 which plays

mostly ‘easy listening’ music.

He was trying to drown out the demons in his head. He was slightly irritated by the

incessant chattering of the girl that works above him in the Aerosol Room. The Bomb

Shelter was a dark and cold dungeon of a place, where there was little warmth to comfort

him. Mark was trying to figure out why that woman even bothered to talk to him.


His train of thoughts had been keeping him company all day,

“I mean, she gave me her phone number almost a year ago. When I didn’t use it to call

her, couldn’t she get the hint?”

She was not his type. . . Too talkative and self-centered.

” I think she should just walk out on me, like the other women in my life. I just wish she

would walk on by me, like the people usually do.”

His further thoughts remembered her recent comment to him,

“‘You represent the Gold Standard for me to hold men up to.'”

“Ha! I am sure this is not what most people would think if they were to read my mind. . .

Strange, but most people thought he gave off such a trusting ‘vibe.’ It has not gotten me

very far in this world, me with the boy next door look,” his thoughts smoldering in embers.


Then, his thoughts transferred to another subject. A regular occurrence that may have

come today; the wonderful Schwan truck. Oh, how he loved entering the freezing cold

garage to find his designated location for Schwan food products to be stored- filled with

his favorite foods. On the cooler he left a check taped to the top, to cover the amount for

the products that he and Mother would consume.


“I hope they had enough of the Peanut Butter Crackle ice cream and did I order two or

three boxes with fried chicken breast strips? I will get the fire started in the fireplace,

go get my shower and hopefully, Mother will hold off on her wanting something. That is

what I hate about going home. The first bell I bought for her. It should have been ‘good

enough’ for her. But, no, she insisted that it was too ‘tinkly-sounding’ and ‘more like one

rung in children’s church school.’ So, she made me go purchase a large cow bell, which is

most annoying. I feel like she overdoes her bell ringing and wish she would realize how

hard my days are.”


“I have the edges of a migraine headache coming on,” Mark thought. He turned the silly

song with Tony Orlando and Dawn singing, “Knock Three Times on the Ceiling,” off.


“Ah-h-h! Peace and quiet.”


Suddenly, a deer ran out in front of Mark’s truck, which caused him to squeal his

skidding tires, along with sliding on the icy road. Dodging the path of the deer, he

stopped on the precipice of a large ditch.  Mark watched the deer gracefully bound

over the snow fence that ran along the other side of the ditch.


“Good thing I got those new tires at Goodyear,” Mark sighed in relief.


Then his mind wandered off to Mother again. He smiled a kind of sickly smile, he

was a little amused with the thought of ‘poor helpless Mother,’ lying there ringing

her big, old cow bell and no one to answer her frantically, desperate clangs.


“Wonder how long it would have taken for someone to go to the house, after

my death, if the deer had impaled me, through the truck’s windshield?”


Sometimes, after four hours of having to run up the stairs to help her, getting her

things, Mark felt like he could strangle her.


Mark’s guilty conscience brought him up short, out of the gloomy thoughts that

often accompanied any thoughts of work or home. The migraine’s pain throbbed

his head and he was nearly nauseous,


“Not sure if I am about to throw up because of the near death experience or

because of the thoughts of Mother being left alone. . . no one to bring her food,

no one to change her Depends, no one to clean her body and turn her in the

middle of the night so she would not have any bed sores.”


It would be days before his sister would come by, since she had given up helping,

never able to fulfill Mother’s request to the perfection that Mark had gotten her

accustomed to.


If there were a song playing and his head didn’t hurt too much, he felt that the

one which encompassed his caregiving skills would be,

“Nobody Does It Better.”


“Hmm… what is that James Bond song?” As Mark drove down the country lane,

with the rocks making abrupt bumps pounding into his brain, he pondered on

what the movie where James Bond had had this in the beginning.

Later, while he had completed all of his household duties, Mark sat by the fire and

opened up the last book of a trilogy he was reading. When the first clang of the cow

bell of the night came, he knew what it meant. He went into the kitchen and scooped

up one scoop of ice cream into a bowl. He grabbed the little spoon he used to feed

Mother. This was one he had bought for his nephew who used to visit. Then, later,

his grandnephew had used it. This was the best one to feed his Mother. Nothing

fell out of her mouth this way. Mark hated to have to change her clothes again, so he

grabbed a new bib to put on her.

“Like a little bird,” Mark thought of the way her old, wrinkled and puckered mouth

opened up for her bites.

By the time the migraine pain pills were working on his headache, he had heard

the bell’s ring 8 times. Something shifted in Mark’s mind, something creeped into

his thoughts. The fire had made him think of the leaves piled up outside, where

he could add a few pieces of lumber to them. He could make a huge bonfire.

As he walked up the steps, Mark plodded slowly.

“If someone could read my mind now, they would not believe what this quiet

man holds inside himself. I have thought of times where I could use the rat

poison from the barn in Mother’s food. I have thought of an easier way, I could

let her slide down under the water, looking away and ‘accidentally’ she might

drown. I imagine a phone call diverting my attention from her, explaining this

was all an accident.”

Oh, there is one other way I contemplate all day long. It would be the best way.

I have this planned out in details.”


Mark felt a lift in his mood, jubilant that the release would be in less than an



Mark’s step was lighter and he started to almost run up the stairs to Mother’s

bedroom. The time flew quickly by, as he smothered her with the pillow. He

counted the allotted time which he had studied and practiced in his mind. He

wrapped her up in the blanket. Such a tiny package and light weight to carry. Then,

once again he made sure she was not moving, unrolled the bundle to check. He

decided to kiss her one more time on her cool, papery cheek.


The body was light as a feather, as he ran down the stairs.

When he got to the bottom, he unwrapped her one more time, took her dental

plate out of her mouth. He stopped to think about what he could do with it.

He scolded himself for not figuring out this detail ahead of time,

“Would it melt?”

Then, Mark got his coat, gloves, hat and scarf on. He was ready for this, it was

long overdue.


He picked her up roughly, “After all, she can’t feel a thing now.”


As he hurried out the door, he started to whistle. It was strange but not one bit

of guilt slipped through his mind. His mood was lifting, part of his daily torture

was over.

Mark built the bonfire, stacking tinder under the logs, since he was uncertain if

the leaves were dry enough to ignite.


Everything fell into place, not one bad move. The rest was a ‘piece of cake.’

In the later hours of the night, he would get up. Mark had set his alarm clock. He

knew how long the fire would rage, how long it would take till the bones would

snap and become mere splinters, ashes and soot.


He had ‘cremated’ his dog, when Buddy had passed away. He remembered how

long it had taken him to get over the death of his faithful hunting hound dog.

Somehow, he didn’t feel he would have any problems getting over the death of



Sifting through the ashes, he found little bits of bones, he put these into the first

large freezer ziplock bag. The burnt chips were easily gathered, using his gardening

spade and put into bags. He had barely one and a half bags full of her remains.

He laid down to sleep a restful couple of hours more, jumping up when the alarm

went off. Made his toast and coffee, packed his lunch box and left on time. There

was blissful silence in the house.


Mark turned on the rock and roll station while he drove into work, tapping his hand

to the driving beat of AC/DC and feeling quite rejuvenated.


At the security check point,  he opened his lunch box to show Len, the Security Guard,

the top layer of his lunch box. He did not bother lifting the sandwich, apple and chips.

Instead of his food items lying upon his usual blue freezer pack,  they rested on top of



When the Aerosol Girl went to her first break, he walked over to his lunch box, took

out his drink and opened it. He rustled around his lunch box to find his straw. He took

a long draw through the straw of Coca Cola. He then took the can, along with the two

ziplock bags over to the large drum of  most toxic chemicals. He had left the large

funnel set carefully on top. He put the pop down and opened the first bag, the ashes

drained easily through the funnel, siphoning down smoothly. When the little brittle

pieces of bones came, he grabbed the straw and poked them through the hole in the

funnel. He had chosen the barrel with full contents, took the lid and screwed it shut.

He hammered it a bit to make it ‘secure.’

Mark  went over to his desk, grabbed the labels that indicated both “Toxic” and

“Flammable” with its skull and crossbones image.

Mark plastered the two large stickers on the blue metal barrel.

“All that is left of Mother is ‘goo,’ he thought.

He went back to work in his small area of the warehouse, whistling.

Tomorrow, since it was a longer day. . .

He would come home and report Mother wandering and missing.


He imagined his sincere, most innocent expression on his face as he would

pronounce the words,

“I don’t have a clue where she may have gone off to.”


From his pocket, as an after thought, he went to a second big container,

unscrewed the lid and shoved her dental plate into it.

After that, he dumped a few extra jugs of the oily solution into it.


With a resounding thump of his hand, not unlike a pat on the top of his coon

dog’s head after he chewed up one of Mother’s slippers, he finally went back

to his daily procedures.


“The End”





About reocochran

I am experiencing crazy and hapless adventures in dating that may interest people over fifty. I am now approaching 62 later this year and enjoy taking photographs, incorporating stories or poetry on my blog. I have many old posts which are informative and written like essays. I have several love stories collected from family and friends. Even strangers spill their stories, since I am a grown version of the girl next door. I have been trying to live a healthy lifestyle with better food selections and active hiking and walking. I have written four children's books and illustrated them. They are not published but a battered women's shelter used one about neglect and abuse for their children's program and a 4H group used my "Kissing a Bunny is like saying a Prayer" as a coloring book. Please comment or respond so I may get a chance to know you. Sincerely, Robin

54 responses »

  1. This story reminds me of the first season of the TV show, Breaking Bad, when the main characters had to hide the remains of a couple of bad guy drug dealers. The lead character is a chemistry teacher, and his ‘solution’ involved chemistry, of course, as did your tale. These macabre tales make one ponder the age-old crime drama question, ‘Is there such a thing as the perfect crime?’

    Jeffrey Deaver’s novels featuring Detective Lincoln Rhimes (most notably “The Bone Collector”) take the position that there is always some trace of a criminal act if you know how to find it. In reality, nearly half of all murders in the U.S. go unsolved. Perhaps shows like CSI have done as much to educate criminals as it has to demonstrate crime-solving techniques.

    I enjoyed your story, and I have no difficulty imagining Mark gets away with it. – Mike

    • I am glad you enjoyed this one, which was probably not too original, since there are variations of tubs, barrels, fires and acids been used in stories about murder.

      I like your supposition about the ones who commit crimes in books, t.v. shows and movies, Mike. My Mom and I have said this more than once at the end of a t.v. show or movie, “Wish they didn’t do this one, since there will be someone committing a copycat of this someday.”
      I like several authors, including having read a couple of Jeffrey Deaver’s books. I have concentrated on Patricia Cornwell and Janet Evanovich, along with the one who does the Cat books, Lillian Jackson Braun. In each of these, there is an element of fun or at least something that relieves the tension. My girlfriend, Jenny, only reads serious mysteries, but I try a lot of different styles and genres. My coworkers and I exchange books…

      Thanks for reminding me of Jeffrey Deaver’s books, Mike! And believing in my story, too!

  2. I never want to go camping with you – you would scare me to death with your campfire tales! That was a scary character – quite believable and the disposal method is also believable. I don’t read murder mysteries or watch TV but I have a daughter who loves them both – she enjoys trying to work out who-dun-it before the denouement 🙂

    I am intrigued by the job you have – a warehouse, chemicals, co-workers who laugh a lot….. the picture is slowly building. xoxo

    • This is Advance Auto Distribution Center #23, where we just ‘bought out’ Car Quest and have to fill gaylords (large boxes), hampers and usually work 9-10 hours until Fridays, where we are ‘reprieved’ or released after 4 hours.
      I was not able to make state requirements in Special Education by completing my Master’s Degree, all had to be done by 2008. So… although I have applied for over 360 positions using my “Professional Teaching” license in general education, grades 1-6, I was never called back. I am wondering, at times, Pauline, if they realized Special Education and my aging a bit, neither effect my abilities! So, 20 days after I left my job (they threw me a retirement party) I started working at the warehouse. That is more details than you may have wished…. smiles!
      I am so glad you daughter tries to figure out the crime’s suspect. I don’t blame you for not wishing to read or watch scary movies (or books…) Hope you have a lovely Sunday evening!

      • I understand that particular dilemma very well! When I left my last ‘proper’ job it was with the intention of earning a small but livable income as a self employed life guide. This was in 2009, the year the recession really bit into this part of the world. I discovered that although I had loads of clients they were all people who desperately needed to do the work but couldn’t afford to pay my fee. I worked with them almost gratis – charging just $10 a session. Eventually this meant I needed to have a proper job again. I applied and was shortlisted for several and in ALL of them was doing well until my age was mentioned. Suddenly they were no longer interested. No-one would tell me why it went from positive to not-interested and I was left with the definite feeling I was dealing with agism. I fit the bill, they liked me, but I would probably retire on them in three or four years. I was devastated at first and then became more philosophical and continued to live in genteel poverty and work with my women. 🙂 Retirement meant I became better off financially and my time is now almost all my own. Sometimes life works in odd ways and I began painting again and blogging in the period I am speaking of – and both have been such a joy. I also learned to live with less and be happy with the way things are on a deeper and more committed level. So, yes, it worked out as it was meant to. I trust your situation is doing exactly the same. xoxo

      • You were so kind, Pauline to let me know about your position. You were doing those people such a fine service and I appreciate how you were practically giving away your intelligence and experience. You have gone through a lot, some of it similar to my story, too.
        Thanks for sharing this, also for us being artists, loving people and enjoying life on a simpler level, these threads are ones we shall share. I am glad to count you as a friend, Pauline.
        Hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving, if you celebrate and I will have to be sporadic for awhile. I have two more days of work, then off to Cleveland, Ohio to visit brothers and Mom. I will be able to have my youngest daughter come up and join us old fogies, but the others keep their family time special. We were all at my nieces this summer, both the son and daughter who have children. My son’s tribe made it up for one day and drove back for the wedding and another holiday. Hugs, Robin

  3. This is very scary, Robin. There are likely people who would like to do this out there. Who would do it. Who have done it. I did not know you had this sort of writing in you. Interesting.

    • I wrote a 500 page novel with a murder included, with an innocent housewife/artist but when I had it finished, I told my Mom what I thought was an ingenius murder weapon. She replied, “That has been done before!” So, now I need to rewrite the murder part… Smiles! Thanks for saying this is interesting, Mark!

      • Thanks, Mark! I may just someday rewrite it, practicing on short essays has helped me a lot, along with my homeless character studies. I wish to make my story, realistic! Smiles and thank you!

  4. This tale was full of scary moves. My goodness how one can take out goat’s dental plate so easily , put the bones in a freezer ziplock bag, hammer the bones, put a sticker and say I don’t know where she may have gone? Poor goat 😦

  5. Very well done Robin and very scary to think that people can and do get away with murder! What a thorough, cold and calculating character Mark is, while the possibility is there that he will get away with it, I watch enough Dateline mysteries to know that the jury will convict him.

    • You are so right, there are no other suspects… I am glad you found this scary, Yolanda. I had to work today to ‘earn’ my Friday after Thanksgiving, so did not have much time to read but wished to let everyone know I will soon! Smiles!

  6. One great story in the making Robin, well written bringing the imagery to life.
    There has to be a sequel, and in my mind, I think it will have a sequal with a twist to it.
    Was it all a dream, or did he carry out the desires in his tormented mind.

    • It may have been a nightmare, or it could be the ‘perfect’ crime’ Ian! Thanks so much for reading this and adding some suggestions, too! I am out of Sunday evening time at the library. I worked my 9 hours today to earn a day off after Thanksgiving! Smiles!

    • I liked this comment, Philip. I am surprised to see this comment in my Awaiting Moderation or Approval area of my Dashboard. Surely, we have been connected for some time now. This is confusing and I am belated in my response to your kind words, too. Hope you know this was an accident! Smiles, Robin

    • I was kicked out of the library, almost the last one to leave yesterday and was writing my response to your nice comments, Beth! I like the word, “creepy” and that it made it seem scary and believable. Since you said, ‘what people are capable of,’ made me reassured this came across in a serious tone. Thank you so much, Beth!

  7. You know how I like the macabre, thoroughly enjoyed your story. In fact over here we had a case of this, 2 bodies, cut up and put into barrels of acid. This story of yours so, so similar. Keep up writing more short stories 😀

    • There have been people who did this, but since I work at a warehouse with this nice, quiet man who takes care of his mother, I just had to make it my story, too. I watch how careful he is with his toxic chemicals and it just got my wheels turning. I am sure it has been done before, which made it okay to write about it. With my murder mystery, I was so dumfounded, when my Mom pointed out someone had used the same murder weapon! I am still holding it close to my chest, as they say… Hugs for your reassuring and cheering me on, Jen!

    • Diana, wow! Thank you for reading this all. I tried to put little details of Mark’s life, while embellishing to make it sound just a tad more strange. I did give him my phone number and suggested meeting once a month since we like to read similar books. (“Angela’s Ashes” and “Bad Teacher” by Frank McCourt and “Conrack” and “The Great Santini” by Pat Conroy, both about dysfunctional families and a teacher who writes his own story.) He stops to talk and asks about me, when I don’t see him but not really the right match for either of us. I am the crazy-talking woman who in the story drives Mark nuts. 🙂

      • I would stay far away from the fictional Mark, that’s for sure. Fun to have a non-fictional Mark to talk books with, though. That’s funny that you are the crazy-talking woman in the story. I enjoyed it 🙂

  8. That was creepy. Right up there with some of the Prime Suspect murderers murders! I like soft thrillers like the Prime Suspect, Midsomer Murders, Agatha Christie. You get the idea. It’s my preferred reading and viewing genre actually.

    Will there be a chapter 2 with a Dectective Inspector on the case? When Mother goes missing, and doesn’t turn up, and sister starts casting suspicions…see my mind is going there already. 🙂

    • So, true, Brett! 😉
      Mark really is a quiet man who if he continues taking care of his Mom’s personal cares and all he does from 4 am — work — back to keep things safe and sanitary. . . I consider him a saint! I did give him my phone number about three years ago, now. I asked him to consider meeting me once or twice a month before grocery shopping. I could meet him at a Bob Evans and gave him coupons. For a year, I talked books with him then asked my boss to take me out of this position. We are cordial but I did feel we could have been each other’s lifelines at the time. 🙂

    • I just left this open-ended, Jennie. Thanks for reading all the way till the end! I ended up asking my supervisor to move me out of the aerosol room, to a more brighter, fluorescent-lit place! I used to make Mark notes with drawings since I do admire his gentle and quiet manners. 🙂

    • Yes! Well, the aerosol dungeon ended up being a place I could only handle for two years. I asked my supervisor to move me out into the light! Now, bright fluorescent lights keep my mind a bit sane, but boring! It helped to create a wide variety of essays in my beginning blogging days, though. 🙂

      • It wasn’t due to solid gray cinder blocks and it is closed off from everyone but the person working with chemicals below me. The flooring is a metal grated one, so awful on feet!
        I wrote a post about the colors of cars (aerosol cans have them) and once, when I had to wear a box on my head because jack hammer style drills were drilling seven inch nails into the metal roof to replace the black tar rolled over metal. The men were drilled do hard nails were raining on my head! My immediate boss didn’t take me out of the area.
        Mark called his supervisor and then, I was all alone with a box on my head all day! I posted about this and I swear someone must have called OSHA about it. I didn’t care if I got in trouble.

    • He committed murder in the middle of the night and the next day took in his lunchbox two baggies of bone fragments, siphoned them into the barrels of acids and flammables. Used his straw to poke the ones which wouldn’t fit the three or four inch opening, then screwed the top back on!! 😀

  9. Wow, what an eerie tale. Robin I’d never have figured you for a horror writer but you certainly had all the elements here of good horror writing. 🙂 ❤

  10. I share your taste in movies, Robin. I LOVE “Little Shop of Horrors” (both the original and the re-make) and “Sweeney Todd” (both versions with Ben Kingsley and Johnny Depp). I’ve enjoyed your musings and poems and now I can add short stories to that. You have definitely captured the depravity of humanity with this piece. More please….

    • Ann, I am more in awe of writers like you who take the time to blog and connect with us amateur writers! Thanks so much for feeling this has potential!
      This musicals are creepy subjects but couldn’t resist seeing them in their variations, either! I’m not sure if I will soon but I wish I had a tag for this time I imagined myself in a grave! 🙂

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