By: John S Alty
By the time Michael arrived, the pall bearers had the coffin shouldered and were trailing the priest into the church. The hearse was parked by the roadside with its tailgate raised. Michael followed the coffin through the door and selected a pew at the back, away from the sparse congregation. The organist played “Bridge Over Troubled Water” badly. Perhaps she did a fine job with Chopin but was struggling with the Simon and Garfunkel classic, Adam’s favorite song. A brief survey of the mourners in attendance confirmed to Michael that he was in the right place.
When the priest started his eulogy of Adam, a man he couldn’t possibly have known, Michael left the church. With his hands pushed deep into the pockets of his raincoat, he strolled between the weathered tombstones adjacent to the church. Random gusts of wind sent leaves skittering around his legs, and a grim-colored sky hung low overhead threatening rain. Adam always did have a sense of occasion, Michael thought, this is a fitting day for a funeral. A freshly dug hole gaped dark and bottomless and the apparatus of burial was ready. Michael walked solemnly to a copse of trees from where he could watch the proceedings unrecognized. Crows screamed their indignation at his intrusion and clattered loudly as they took to the sky.
Handfuls of soil rattled onto the coffin, flowers were dropped, words were ripped away on the wind and then it was over. Black clad figures drifted away towards the cars as Michael stood alone staring into the the freshly dug hole. Few men can be described as truly evil, but this was one; he’d cut a swath through life leaving a trail of misery and pain behind.
“I hope you didn’t die easily,” Michael said as he pissed on Adam’s coffin. As he walked away he took out his phone and dialed.
“Yes, the bastard’s definitely gone. And yes, I did, just as I told him I would. I’ll be home soon.”
John Alty is British, has travelled extensively and has lived in Hong Kong, South Africa, USA and Canada. He now lives in England with his wife and writes for the pleasure of it. He has been published in various magazines and maintains a blog on sailing and travel.