The young lady officiating was as serious as she was pretty. Grief and comfort knitted her brow, offering hope and security to the assembled throng. They stood as a tight group with tear stricken glum faces. The sun stretched over their heads as if guarding against evil.
They had gathered at the edge of the freshly dug hole. The earth which had smelt slightly damp was already crumbling under the merciless heat. The coffin had been placed next to its resting place, and rather than polished mahogany, cardboard was the order of the day. There were no flowers, save a token chain of daisies.
It was deathly quiet. If ears were strained, one might hear the barking of a distant dog. All else was still. It was if nature itself recognised that it should pause, if only for a moment.
She took a deep breath. ’We are here today,’ she paused to wipe her freely flowing tears, ’to say bye-bye to dear Molly’.
One of the younger mourners rolled his eyes. He was already bored.
‘She was the bestest of friends.’
He scuffed his feet on the dry grass and fingered an apple in his pocket.
‘She was pretty.’
When was this going to end he thought, though he knew better than to think out loud.
‘And she never hurt any of us.’
He scowled at Emma, it was all her fault.
‘Molly was the most caring ever’.
It was as if an invisible switch had been thrown, for without warning he smiled wickedly.
‘And we will all miss her.’
He took a step forward, kicked over the cardboard coffin, grabbed hold of the recently departed, and ran at full steam from the throng.
Shock paralysed the mourners for seconds stretching into eternity before anger burst into life. The young mourners set off after the thief as dogs after a rabbit. ‘Mummy!!’ the young officiator howled between sobbing breaths, ‘Thomas has taken Dolly again!!’
_© 2010 Mark Bateman – all rights reserved. _