• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 04
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Veins and Calluses

The sun stared down at him as Harvey took out his towel and wiped his brows. It was an especially hot day. The wells were drying up and people were migrating out to other states and greener fields.

“Daddy, come inside, the food is ready,” Bethany called out from within the house.

Bethany and Henry: his two kids were all the motivation he needed. He could endure everything on the Earth. It wasn’t a responsibility, but a drive, like a lion providing for his pride.

He went in, looked at the clock. It was 1pm. His life had been like a broken record, repeating itself endlessly since Emily passed away, since thirteen years.

He looked at his hands; they were that of a veteran full of calluses from the pitchfork and shovel that he used for work daily, just like his father; that made him look up at the picture on the wall of his father and mother. His father would always wield a pitchfork as if it were a weapon.

He sat down to eat, looked at his children. In them he remembered Emily. They had her eyes, so lively and blue, like the azure sky after a rainy morning.

Rain, when had it stopped raining? The dry spell had gone on as far as he could remember, quite like his life after Emily passed.


Veins and Calluses

He finished his food, fired up his truck to drive to the church as he did every afternoon after lunch, like clockwork for the last thirteen years.

He swerved into highway to the nearest church. As he drove a little further, he noticed a couple asking for a lift. He was anyways headed to the nearby town, so he figured he’d help the couple. The hardships in his life hadn’t affected the good-natured guy underneath.

“I could drop you to the next village,” he said to the couple.

“Thank you so much,” the couple said in unison, as if rehearsed, and rushed into the truck.

As he sped towards the church, the man sitting next to him - Joseph his uniform read - said, “I am really sorry mister, we’re desperate,” and before he could react, he heard gunfire.

The sheer pain was the first thing he felt, next he was thrown out of the truck into the road, like a ragdoll.

He heard the truck drive away. He knew then that that was it. His life would be ending in the most unexpected way. He wasn’t afraid of death, but just wanted to be buried next to his beloved in the backyard of his house.

He found himself wondering what his gravestone would read; he didn’t feel like he’d done much. His wife and his kids were his greatest achievements.

As he was taking his final breath, he saw Emily standing in front of him with arms wide open, as if beckoning for a hug.

“At least we’d be together again,” he said as he smiled, and then all went dark.