The wind had died down now. Bill Bailey threw a few more sticks on his campfire before wrapping himself up in a blanket and lying next to the fire. It had been a fine idea to get away from his wife and go camping alone. He brought only a three-day supply of food, a shotgun, a knife, a coffee pot, and cups. He was alone and sleeping on the hard ground, just like he had done as a boy. It felt good to be away from his wife. Six long years he had been married to her. She was fun and loving at first, but then she turned into a nag. He no longer made enough money to suit her. Their house wasn't as nice as those homes on television. And lately she was no longer satisfied with Bill's love making. She complained of boredom and she told him that if he couldn't get more creative, they would just quit making love altogether.
Bill stared at the sky and wondered at its beauty. He liked to think of the stars as dreams caught in the sky smiling down on man saying, "If you try hard enough you can get me."
Nature always had a calming effect on Bill and he closed his eyes. The morning sun came down on his eyelids hard and he woke up. There was the aroma of coffee floating through the air. He rubbed his eyes. It seemed strange, because Bill hadn't unpacked the coffee pot yet.
He rolled over and saw the coffee pot perking away on the open fire.
"What's going on?" thought Bill aloud.
"I saw your fire last night and I slept by it. I woke up, looked in your pack, and found your coffee pot. I ain't had coffee in a long time. I hope you don't mind," spoke a female voice.
Bill sat up and stared at the owner of the voice. She had long red hair with a freckled face. She had on a red flannel shirt half unbuttoned with a pair of baggy blue jeans on. Her thighs were nice and thick. Her breasts half hung out of the shirt and the way they went up and down when she breathed was hypnotic.
"Oh, that's fine. Are you camping too?" asked Bill, trying to get his attention off the stranger's breasts.
"You might say that. Are you alone, mister?"
"Bill. The name's Bill and, yeah, I'm alone."
"Gee that's super swell."
"I'm alone too and it has been years since I have enjoyed having a man near me."
The mysterious red head poured smoking hot coffee into the tin coffee cup and handed it to Bill.
"I'm Sue. Call me Sue."
Bill smiled and took a taste of the coffee. It was perfect. He couldn't remember when he had tasted better coffee. It was strong and flavorful, not like the darken mud that Debbie made. No matter how much he complained, Debbie would never add more coffee to the pot. She would tell Bill that he didn't make enough money to have his coffee made any stronger.
"Sue, you make a lot better coffee than my wife."
A sly smile came across her thin lips.
"I can do everything better than your wife."
Bill just laughed and shook his head. He wondered if she had meant that the way it sounded.
"What are your plans for today, Sue?"
"I don't have any. I'm just a single girl all alone in the woods without any plans," she spoke, while grinning and winking.
Something sure seemed funny about this whole situation, but Bill couldn't wrap his mind around it. This was the sort of the thing that only happened in a Penthouse letter. Debbie always complained and told Bill that he was lucky to have her. No other woman would want an ugly man like him; she had told him that for the last year now. Sure, Debbie was cute enough. She was a little flat chested and her legs were bony, but Bill had always figured that Debbie was right about his looks, until just now. Here was a woman that was prettier than Debbie in everyway and she could make coffee like it was nobody's business.
"Would you like to go hiking with me today?"
"I thought you would never ask. Why don't you take your shotgun, maybe we'll run into a rabbit or something? I ain't had fresh meat in ages," smiled Sue.
The hike in the woods was romantic. The leaves had just turned from green to wonderful colors of gold and red. The mysterious woman was everything that Debbie was not. She loved the forest and told Bill cute little philosophical musings about man and nature. The day wore on and toward sunset, they returned to the campsite with two freshly killed brownish colored rabbits.
"I'll skin and clean the rabbits, why don't you just watch the sunset I bet it has been ages since you last seen it."
Bill walked a few paces from the campsite and rested, stretching out on the ground. The sunset was one of the greatest sights he had ever seen. The clouds became pink, as the sun fell behind the evergreens. It caused him to remember an old saying that his father use to say.
Red skies by night are a sailor's delight. Red skies by morning sailor take warning.
He must have slipped into dreamland, because Sue's voice sounded so distant.
"The rabbits are done."
She handed him a stick with cooked rabbit meat on it. He took a bite of it and it had a nice taste to it. You could say that it tasted like chicken, only different. Perhaps, everyone says things taste like chicken, because that's what everyone tells you everything tastes like. In reality rabbit tastes like rabbit and nothing else is quite like it.
The meat wasn't too greasy and Bill ate slowly trying to remember when he had it so good.
"This is perfect, Sue. You know yesterday I thought of going over to the big rock cliff and jumpin' off it."
"You wouldn't be the first person to jump off that cliff."
Her words sounded icy when she spoke them, instead of the usual warming quality that her voice normally held. A news story flashed across his mind.
He was a young boy and he turned on his brand new transistor radio that his old man had given him for his birthday. He turned the dial to 1010 am and listened to the news, while he waited for the station to play an episode of Gunsmoke.
"This just in. The police have just recovered the body of a young woman in her early twenties. It seems that she jumped off the high cliffs. The police have ruled it a suicide. Stayed tuned for more details, but now we bring you Gunsmoke starring William Conrad as Matt Dillon.
It was a shame that he didn't listen to the news after Gunsmoke. Would he have remembered the details anyway and why did that flash before his mind? Was it his subconscious telling him something?
"I seem to remember a young woman jumpin' off the rock cliff when I was a kid."
"Forget about that for now and eat your rabbit," smiled Sue with the warmth back in her voice.
Bill found his head lying in Sue's lap, as she ran her fingers through his hair. His belly felt full and contentment filled his soul. He closed his eyes, as Sue started to sing songs in an angelic voice. He drifted off to sleep once again.
Was it the cold wind that woke him? Bill wasn't for sure. He felt something cold in his arms and he opened his eyes. A grey tint filled his vision. It wasn't moonlight, for it was cloudy that night. He realized what felt cold in his arms and he stood up screaming. He looked down at the woman that he must have made love to and screamed at the horror of thing before his eyes. Her skull was half caved in and her skin had a rotten look. He breathed in an aroma of death and he filled the forest with unmanly screams.
The decaying corpse, wearing a tattered red flannel, stood and addressed Bill in a cold inhuman voice, "There's no reason to scream at my appearance as your smashed in skull matches my own."
"What are you talkin' about…my skull...?"
Bill felt his head, his skull was caved in. He placed his hands before his eyes and saw them covered in blood.
"You are dead, like me. I was the young woman that your transistor told you about. You jumped off the cliff, because your wife was cruel to you. I jumped off the cliff, because my husband would beat me. Lay down by my side and you will feel better by mornin'."
Bill did as he was told. He drifted into a dreamless sleep. The next morning he woke up to find coffee in the cup and beauty restored. Sometimes happiness is found only in death.