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The Halloween Project 2021 - Story 1: The Wanderers

Halloween Project ---Year Five

Five years of October inspiration. Do autumn leaves and cooler gusts of wind conjure thoughts of bonfires, football games and warm apple cider? Or does the season force you to think of the thing scrabbling in the attic but only after midnight or the lonesome scream coming from the basement of the house three doors down on your street?

Well, for me it’s both so let’s begin. This will be story #1 of what will be 10 stories this season. There will be a recurring character as I promised last year and the last story will be set on Halloween. All tales made up on the spot, now, this month, today.

But let’s start softly, a little sweet, a little sad, a little macabre, A short, short. Story.

Welcome to the Halloween Project – Five.

Carl William Bosch


 

The Wanderers



“Peter, look, isn’t this inscription lovely?” Therese called

.

Turning his gaze from the tombstones, he looked, first at Therese, then down to the old monument. “What does it say?”

She responded with solemnity,

“Cast here upon the waters of time, There is nought left but to say a rhyme, May your soul be filled with grace, Until we again, face to face.”

“Lovely,” he echoed, and she turned to him. Their eyes met, a warmth exchanged. He held out a hand and she softly placed hers within its cool palm. They walked slowly among the markers, shadowed stone slabs and mausoleums, stopping here and there, lingering.

“And look here as well, your father’s grave,” Therese said gently.

“Yes, a venerable man,” then with a hand wave to the side, “And my mama, close as always,” he nodded his head resting for a moment. Therese joined him.

“And over here. The children, gone so long now,” her voice lowering, filled with both pain and memory. He followed to her, held her by the waist, but did not turn.

Peter lowered his head once again, “That boat. That damned boat!” but did not look.

“Would you not come and see where they lie? Run your fingers over the letters, the date, their ages? Their names?”


“I cannot. I must not,” Peter countered.


“But then this is as close as you will ever get," she stated.


“Not in my memory, Therese. There I will always be closer.”

“That may be true, but I long for their touch, their fingers, a toenail so tiny, the smell of warm water and soap on tousled hair,” Therese could hold back neither her heart nor her tears. She wept as they moved on.

They walked slowly, lefts and rights with no concern, and everywhere rows of tombstones running to the distant trees, the quiet broken only by a single bird, awakened early.

“What a gorgeous evening. And look at the stars…” Therese trailed off.

“Coming on dawn soon, but yes, our stars Therese, exquisite,” Peter returned.

“When will I see you again?” Therese asked.

“That’s the question, my love,” Peter answered, “How long has it been since we last walked here together?”

“You ask me of time? My darling, I have no recollection. One second, a week, a year? It’s all beyond my comprehension.”

“Yes, of course,” Peter said, “but here with you at this moment, I still wonder. A year? A century? Makes no matter. Things are different. Can’t you tell? Here a wall where there was none. And off in the distance, a constant rumbling, and far off to the west tall shapes like pointed spires with lights twinkling. What do you make of these things?”

A sliver of sunrise cracked the horizon.

“Time. It is simply time,” she smiled and then asked, “Peter come hold me and we will make our way back to the children, arm in arm. As always.

The sun, a darkened orange, but low, etched a line to the east and the faint blueness began to break the darkness.