Saturday, November 07, 2009

Another short one

Here's another excerpt. I think I'm getting steadily worse, but I'm pressing on nonetheless. If nothing else, at least I'll have achieved some manner of discipline regarding plowing through something that I don't want to do.

Looking at Ruth, Tillie realized that she would be staggering no where, any time soon, because she was unconscious. Whether she had fainted or fallen asleep suddenly, Tillie could not say, but she was relieved just the same. Laying her down on her sitting room divan, Tillie gave Ruth a cursory scrub with the now cool water. She, Tillie, would go out and start digging the grave so they could lay this little one to rest. When Bill showed up, if Bill showed up, Tillie would be giving him more than a piece of her mind. With that, she arose from her position on the floor and realized for the first time that her bread was ready to come out of the oven. Sometimes the way that life went on in the face of tragedy was bracing, sometimes it was cruel. Tillie was not at all certain which one this was, but she thought she would have herself a good private cry while she was out digging the grave for the little boy who had been her son's friend.

After laying the bread on the table to cool, Tillie left the house, securely fastening the screen door to prevent incursions by the farm animals. She had found evidence of at least one hen in the house. Tillie walked the short distance to the barn to look for a shovel. Or did the Walkers have a tool shed? She stopped just short of the barn doors to look around. There it was, a little tool shed. Tillie headed in that direction and shook her head. She was going to have to work hard. That poor little one had to be put in the ground soon. The smell was beginning to permeate the yard.

Tillie was a sturdy woman and well accustomed to hard work. She did not, therefore, slack in her endeavor to dig that grave. She dug until it was almost too dark to see, and then finally determined that it was deep enough. Scrambling out of the earthy-smelling hole, she grabbed the shovel in hands that were almost numb with the digging. She didn't have the wherewithal to build a coffin, she just didn't. And Bill had not shown up either, so she couldn't send him after help or the preacher, one. The boy would just have to be laid to rest in a winding sheet, as they had done in the very old days of the frontier. She would just have to show Ruth that it had to be done that way, and soon. Tillie began her walk back to the house with the dark windows reflecting the last rays of the sun. The house looked as if it were deserted, burning and Tillie shuddered once before continuing on, this time unable to square her shoulders against her load.

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