... The Dimming of the Light... (Part 26)

by Peter Hunter

the dimming of the light (Part 26)

Peter Hunter

now Alice's story

   what sounded like a shot from a gun

   outside from the encroaching darkness 'He didn't take his gun with him - did he?' said Chris 'I think I'll take a look outside'

   'I'll come too' a feeling of apprehension growing 'Something's wrong'

   We found his body by the lake; face down in the limp winter grass. Chris turned the body over - no doubt about identification - face unmarked but his chest a bloody cavity from a close-range shotgun blast. Shock overcame me but for some reason tears would not come

    as Chris carried him back to the house

*

     despite the dire times we were in I did not want to dispose of my love of more than fifty years my husband for most of them

    I could not bear to dispose of him like some dead animal, his body lying abandoned in the bushes

   Neither did I just want us to bury him in some neglected unmarked grave

   So Chris, Sharon and I discussed it resulting in Chris taking an axe and smashing the boathouse into firewood it was old and very dry and should burn with enthusiasm

    and after what I had in mind we would not need it anymore

   Chris first heaped the dead twigs we saved for kindling the fire inside the wood burner into a pyramid in the centre of the little boat

   They covered the kindling with a large flat pile of pieces of the old boathouse

   On top we gently placed my husband's limp bloodstained body

    then softly pushed the boat into the lake

   Chris had prepared an arrow with some cheesecloth wrapped around the tip. The cloth had been soaked in some of the Colonel's domestic heating oil

    the old soldier had seemed strangely reluctant to part with even this small amount apparently disinclined to join in the impromptu little ceremony - and stayed lurking in the background

    and stood by with a glowing stick from the wood burner inside the house.

   He slowly ignited the cheesecloth as I drew back my husband's favourite hunting bow

   Fortunately I had not forgotten anything from the days when we were quite keen on the sport and carefully aimed and loosed the shaft towards the gently receding boat

   The fire-arrow flicked then gradually the kindling first caught fire

     then the main bulk of the smashed planks that used to be the boathouse a funeral for a Viking chief

   as the flames grew I detected a smell of paint burning green paint the planks had been treated with and more disconcertingly

   the smell of roasting or burning flesh my husband then, disrespectfully perhaps it was a waste and we should have eaten him

    then again the funeral image of a image of a Viking chief

    appropriate I thought as the tears welled in the back of my eyes

(To be continued)

Peter Hunter 2012

too late the tallyman on Kindle

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