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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 21

Morgan Randall stood at the edge of his wife's grave. His body was caked in sweat and dirt. His back still glistened with a dusty sheen as he patted the earth down in front of the grave's simple marker. He ran his wrist over his brow, wiping away the sweat, and slowly slid to his knees, still holding the shovel. He let the tool go and began to replant the upturned bluebells around the memorial. Slowly, Morgan picked up each each flower and gently placed each back into the fresh earth. His throat was thick with emotion, but he forced himself to bury it down deep. He couldn't let himself think about the fact that this was the second time he had buried his wife and child. That this was the second time that he had killed them.

Morgan had replanted all but one last bluebell, the stem of the flower too ruined to be re-planted. That flower he he took in his hands as he stood up, casting the shovel to the side. He stood, fondling his wife's flower, staring at the replanted marker, and said goodbye for the last time. This place had to many memories, to many bad thoughts to try to stay here any more. He looked up at the black sun, which was nearly to mid-day by now, and knew that whatever had brought his wife back, wasn't over. He cast a look at the farm he had built for his wife, the place he had made to leave his old life behind and knew that there were some sins you just don't get to escape from. Some things cannot be taken back, no matter how hard you might try. No matter how hard you might love someone, you can't escape what you are in the end. It was time to leave this place.

Morgan said one final goodbye to his wife and turned away. He walked over to the water pump, filling the bucket with cold water and rinsed the sweat and blood and dirt from his body. He peeled the torn pants off, wadding them up into a ball, and tried to wash out the past several hours. Every time he closed his eyes though, his wife's hand plunging through the earth came crash in, or his still born child mewling up at him from her grave.

Once clean, he walked to the house. The living room was a bit messier than his wife would have let it get, but he walked through to their bedroom. He hadn't opened this door in all the months since his wifes death, preferring to sleep on a pallet in the living area, the memories of this room had been just to painful. He had only been in here once, to clean the blood and the after effects of the birth away, to return this room to the way his wife would have kept it. It still smelled like her and he tried to block the scent, and the memories, from his mind as he strode to the wardrobe in the corner. The wardrobe had been in his wife's family for decades and had been part of her dowery upon their marriage.

Her father had been overjoyed at the prospect of his daughter marrying a military man, despite Morgan's insistence that when his service was up he was going to start a farm. Still, he had been happy, and the wardrobe had been one of his wife's most prized possessions. He opened it up and saw her dresses still hanging inside. He brushed his fingers across her dress, remembering the feel and the way his wife had looked in them. She hadn't dresses, but each one had been cared for meticulously. Morgan sank to his knees, sliding the dresses to the side and found what he was looking for, a simple brown box kept at the bottom of the wardrobe, and pulled it out.

Placing the box on the bed, he opened it and looked down upon its contents. The uniform was just as he had left it, cavalry blue with still a hint of a shine on the buttons. He removed the clothes and began putting on a uniform he had thought he had left behind. His wife had met him in this uniform, and she had thought him handsome. When he had left the cavalry, she had him keep it, to remind her of the man she fell in love with. All it reminded Morgan of was death and betrayal. Maybe that was all he was good for though, death and betrayal.

He finished dressing and slid on his boots, high riding boots that had been a part of his uniform, and returned to the wardrobe. The bottom of the closet had a drawer which he slid open and he removed the final elements of his uniform. His cavalry revolver and another item. A small hatchet. His father's hatchet. He hefted the hatchet and tried to block out the images it contained. His wife had never known how much pain the weapon brought him, how many regrets had been spilled in blood with its blade. She had only known it was his fathers. He attached the weapons to his belt and left the bedroom for the last time. As he left the house he grabbed his rifle of the mantle and settled the cavalry hat on his head. He headed for the barn and saddled his horse, leaving the home he had made for the last time. He never looked back.

End of Line.

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