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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Old Friends by Cambria Covell

Another body, the old man thought wearily with a sigh as he stopped his digging for a moment and rested against his shovel. After all of these years he should have been used to it. Death was something that couldn’t be stopped. Though death was what kept him employed that didn’t mean that he liked it any more than the next person.
Off in the distance, an owl hooted as it woke up with the moon that was rising. He could hear the crickets chirping and the sound of the cars from the high way as they made their way to their destinations. He sighed and forced himself to keep on digging.
For a while the only sound he heard was of his shovel picking up the dirt and dropping it six feet down. Then he heard the snapping of a twig, causing him to jump. Shock shot through him and he clutched at his heart in fear. “Jesus!” the old man exclaimed, dropping his shovel to the ground.
“Not quite,” said an amused voice.
The man looked up and found himself staring at a very good looking gentleman in his early twenties. He was dressed impeccably in a fine suit and reminded the man a bit of that film star he used to idolize when he was younger, Carey Grant. The man noticed then that the air had stilled and the grasshoppers were quieting. He stared at the younger gentleman as though he were meeting a challenge.
Neither of the two would speak first. So they just stood there, sizing the other up. “So this is to be it then?” the old man asked.
“Indeed,” the younger replied.
“Can I at least finish my job?”
“Your job is finished.”
The old man looked at the grave and he found himself staring at the body that had formally been his. Then he looked to his partner. “Would you mind?”
“Ah, yes,” said the young man. He bent down and grabbed the shovel that was on the floor then dropped it gently into the grave. Then he looked towards his companion. “Are you ready?”
The old man chuckled. “I’ve been ready for years, you could say.”
His partner laughed as well, dryly, and then together they started walking out of the cemetery.

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