For Her

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Set in 1892 England, this short story is about a young man who goes to great lengths to help his sister.

Submitted: September 02, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 02, 2016



The shovel sliced through the dirt, sounding out through the cemetery. His lamp illuminated only the name in front of him.

‘Amanda White

Deceased on the

2nd of September, 1892’

Two days ago.

He stopped and studied the stone. Rough. Chiseled by an unpracticed hand. Loved. A light frost lay across it, a homage to the bitter air surrounding the dank scene.

A soft touch on his leg shocked him out of his stupor. A fox. One of nature’s slyest creations. He looked down at his task again, hardly believing the situation he was in. It was as bitter as a winter lime.

“I’m sorry. I sincerely don’t want to desecrate your grave like this. You must understand, my sister is starving.”

He closed his eyes and the shovel sliced again. Deeper. Stronger. Into the already upturned dirt. Picturing his hungry sister huddled under a moth-eaten blanket in their room. Another movement of the shovel. 

He kept digging, slicing, crunching through the dirt that was becoming harder and icier as the night went on. When the shovel could go no deeper, he initially thought the ground had completely frozen. His heart pounded as he realized he could dig no more. Then he saw the wooden boards and a new kind of panic filled him. What was he to do now?

The shovel moved carefully, gently scraping away the dirt from the top of the crude coffin. When it was clear he stopped again. Watching. Waiting. Arianne flashed across his mind again. Blue, chapped lips unmoving around a cough formed by the crippling hunger.

He glanced up at the foliage around the cemetery, dully lit in the distance of his lamp. The secret ministry of frost glittered on the leaves as the branches moved gracefully with the light breeze. A peaceful surrounding for such a desperate and lost environment. Arianne would’ve thought it was beautiful. A dream of his was to runaway with her and live on their own in the forest, living off the land and making it their own. Life would cost nothing then, but he knew nothing about surviving in the wilderness.

His chest heaved and he looked down again. Gently lowering himself down into the grave, he wrapped his shaking fingers around the edge of the coffin lid. Another breath cleared his mind as he lifted the lid. The lid leaned against one side of the grave. He briefly glanced at the face of the inhabitant when he jumped to the back wall of the grave and dug his hands into the soil. Fingers curled in fear, his eyes froze over. It was not Amanda lying in a cheap coffin made of spare planks, buried with no fortune to her name, it was Arianne. She couldn’t be dead! He cleared his mind and focused. He would take the body to the scientist and they would give him the money for the sustenance she craved and they would be happy and their father would become fatherly and she would smile again and look healthy like she used to she wouldn’t…

Amanda was so young. She had plump cheeks, blonde hair and lips as pink as a sunset. She was beautiful, she had so much potential. She looked just like Her.

He couldn’t move. He told himself to move and take the young girl out of the coffin. He told himself to put her in a bag and carry her down the street to the scientist’s house. He told himself.

The forgotten bag lay waiting just outside of the hole. Open, ready to carry its precious cargo.

A tear rolled down his cheek and his head slumped to his chest.

“I can’t. I’m sorry.”

He bent down and gently brushed a stray hair away from her face. Her skin was cold to the touch, frozen in death.

“I can’t let her starve.”

With new resolve he slipped his arms down under the corpse and lifted it out of the wooden box. Arms straining, he lifted it out onto the grass. He closed the lid of the coffin and hoisted himself out. He grabbed ahold of the shovel once more and filled in the hole he had made. 

© Copyright 2019 Allie W. All rights reserved.

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