I can’t remember the last time my mum had slapped me, but it got my attention. I looked at her tearful scared face. She looked old. She’d aged since my dad died. I wanted to say sorry, but I couldn’t speak. My head hurt, but it didn’t hurt as badly as my heart.
“I’m going into church now,” she said “If you aren’t joining me, you can wait in the car.” she handed me the keys. Her hands were shaking. “What’s wrong with you Lucy?” she asked. Then she turned her back on me and walked away.
I leaned against the wall, exhausted, not knowing what to do. The church gate behind me creaked and I stepped to one side, making room for who ever wanted to pass. A hand touched my arm and I looked around to see a young man standing next to me. He looked familiar, but I couldn’t remember his name. “Lucy, it’s me, Jeff.”
“Jeff? I’m sorry, have we met before?” I asked.
He laughed, “You know me as Bones.”
I looked closely. “Bones, it is you. You’ve changed. You had long hair and a shaggy beard. You’ve cleaned up.” Bones used to wander the roads alone. He’d smoke pot and then take bones from a pouch he carried on his belt and throw them on the ground, claiming he saw the future from the way they landed. My mum always said he was crazy. I knew he wasn’t. He was just a gentle lost soul. He smiled at me and pulled a tattered leather pouch from his jacked pocket. “Yes, I still have them,” he said as he guided me along the path and into the church. “Sorry to hear about your dad. Come on, your mum needs you.”
Was I dreaming? I was dazed and not totally aware of my surroundings. Allowing Bones (couldn’t think of him as Jeff) to support me, I walked to the back of the church, hearing heads turn as I passed by the villagers (or was I imagining it?), nothing felt real. The congregation was singing Onward Christian Soldiers. Up in the rafters, almost hidden in the shadows, sat a dark shape with wings. It was watching me hungrily. Did Bones see it too? He held onto my arm. “You’re safe here. I’m going to take care of you.”
“Do you always come to church?” I asked him.
“No, only when someone calls me. I heard your call last night.”
The dark shadow nestling on the wooden beams moved, it was right above me now. A dark feather fluttered to the ground in front of me. I closed my eyes in silent prayer.
One day this story may make its way into a book. My current book Dead of July is available on Amazon. Give it a try, I’d love to hear your comments.