The shovel finally hit rock, a few feet from the topsoil with a dirty thud. Roger dusted calloused hands against his work pants, staring into the shallow hole. This was now a final resting place, some distance behind an old Oak tree and just under a cable line. The house was still visible behind him, soft lights playing out onto the dusk-darkened porch. There were faint noises of people milling about inside, but they took no notice of him out here in the cooling September evening. Silt fell from the edges of the freshly dug grave, rearranging itself in the bottom over the rocks he felt unwilling to excavate. He lit a smoke and sat down a foot away from the grave, holding his forehead with a knee and trying to convince himself he didn’t need to head back to the house yet.
This had been a job none of the others had wanted. Cowards. It always fell to him to do the dirty work, the crap no one else would step up to. He flicked the cigarette butt into the bottom of the small pit and dragged the black bag into it, covering the bottom of the hole with the remains. Upon filling the grave with displaced dirt, stamping on it a few times, and replacing the shovel in the shed, Roger stood again in front of the back door of the house, head to his chest. With a low sigh, he trudged up the short steps and walked back inside to the expectant faces of the others.
With a small, make-shift cross fashioned out of sticks wrapped in twine, Roger led the small procession back outside. They stood solemnly as he carefully placed the cross at the head of the patch of dirt, and held their breath as he began to speak.
“Something terrible has happened today. Something none of us will ever forget. God, grant us the courage to carry on. Whiskers was a wonderful cat, taken much before her time. Please let her rest in peace. Amen.”
Lucy began to cry.
She was staring at me. Always staring. Perfectly still, waiting. I had no answer for her, not this time. I opened my mouth to speak, to attempt to form a sentence but I’m not exactly sure where all of this went wrong. My thoughts are running into each other, puttering around in my head unable to coalesce into meaning. I don’t know what to say. She shakes her head. I never know what to say. Another sigh, and she speaks. Forceful, unable to grasp why she makes me feel like my mouth is full of sand, incapable of telling her what I want. What it is that I need to say.
“Just tell me what you want.”
As if it were that simple. People were staring now. Watching to see what it is that I would do. Why was it any of their concern anyways? I manage to stutter an incomprehensible collection of sounds before closing my mouth again. “Umm,” was the most eloquent response I had managed to utter. People were muttering to themselves now, and she was growing more impatient. Her brow was furrowed, I was shaking.
“Paper or plastic, sir?”
Motivation For Each Work.
Lucy was written about learning to shelter the young from things despite knowing it won't be long before they need to know.
Well? is about experiencing crippling social anxiety during common, every day activities.
Bio: Shannon Peil is a 24 year old tech from Boulder, Colorado. He runs a literary blog at http://amphibi.us as an editor, and tries to write as well as the people he edits for.