Thursday 30 April 2015

Atonement - MWBB

I have been off and on with Mid-Week Blues-Buster due me judging and due to some of the songs that don't work for me. And now I will be taking a break for the May holidays. I've been busy with a lot to do in preparation for this holiday, but this song worked for me, so I wrote for it, even though my entry didn't rank in the top three.   

The prompt song was:
Ain't No Grave by Johnny Cash 

Merrick glanced up from under sweaty bangs at the dirt road ahead. There was still a way to go. The load was heavy and kept catching on rocks, but he had a good stride going, a rhythmic swish as he pulled it along behind him; it wouldn’t be long now.

His eyes remained on the rocky road just a few feet in front of him, his mind elsewhere. The sweat ran down his nose and flew off the end in spatters. He wasn’t going to stop. Twilight was drawing to an end and he needed to get this load disposed of before full dark.

As his boots scuffed the road, their sound worked to dissipate the voices that wouldn’t let up inside his head. He knew he’d done wrong. He knew this wouldn’t be the last of it, but he hoped it might be. They taunted him, telling him what he should and shouldn’t do, but they weren’t his ma or his pa, they were long gone. He was in charge now and this is how he did things.

Arguing was pointless. A part of him knew it was the voice of righteousness within him trying to bring his morality back on track. But it should know better. He lost that the night he had to end his own brother’s life. Either that or listen to a man tortured by his own addictions - addictions he had chosen over his beaten wife and bullied children. Everyone was better off. Or so he told himself.

Merrick topped the rise of the road and paused, taking a breath. He looked over the barren valley. Yes it was green, but it was empty. There were no trees, no hedgerows and no wildlife. He looked down into the gully and in the dimming light just made out the top of the headstone.

Now it was in sight the load seemed to be heavier, not lighter - even though he was travelling downhill. The voices in his head seemed to escalate, but there was no going back now.

He cut off the road and walked down across the field, his load sliding better on the grass. He saw the little fenced off square, and the handful of gravestones circling the large tombstone that belonged to the head of the family – his great grandpa. The shovel was still upright in the ground where he’d left it that morning, next to the freshly dug grave.

He’d already known it was time. She’d been in pain long enough, and no matter how much he talked to his son on the phone he couldn’t get him to come and visit. And she was so stubborn she wouldn’t go without saying goodbye, so he’d said it for her. He wanted to knock heads together, but that was never going to happen now.

He swung the load round and dropped it into the grave. It fell easily. It wasn’t heavy; her body just bones after the cancer had gnawed at them. The weight was in his mind as the voices criticised his decision. But he’d rather live with that torment, than watch her suffer one more day. Enough was enough. 

He threw in a handful of dirt and begged her forgiveness, as he picked up and started shovelling, finishing the day as he had started it. 

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