Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The Cruel hand of fate.

When Andreas saw the bend in the river he knew he was home. He built a makeshift shack so that Elsa and Britt could nurse their mother and set about clearing enough land to set out the foundations for a plantation house.

If Bergit had been stronger he would have started clearing the plantation itself. The rainy season was weeks away and he needed the soil turned for the first sowing. But with his wife’s fever unremitting, Andreas resolved to get at least a kitchen and a family room constructed and then prepare whatever land he could before the storms broke.

The horses were tired and the trees deep-rooted but slowly the house site appeared before them. Elsa fished and cooked while Britt nursed her mother, wiping her sweats away. Bergit’s breathing racked her constantly. Mercifully, Andreas collapsed into bed each night, smelling of earth and horse sweat, too exhausted to worry.

Within a month, Bergit and the girls were in the rudimentary back rooms of their future home. Water boiled over a woodstove in the kitchen. Blankets stretched out to air. Beds were filled with dried grass.

Andreas turned towards the forest, and sparing neither himself nor the horses, carved out the fields where their cash crops would grow. Bergit watched him from a porch still sticky with sap. She saw the steadfastness in him, the will to provide. She loved him beyond measure.

Her breathing was easing, her appetite for Elsa’s interminable fish soup growing. As the farm was growing, she was being restored to her family.

At this point, Andreas suffered a deep gash to his forearm from a splintered fencepost. The wound turned septic, the poison sprinted through his debilitated frame and he was dead within three days. His new farm had killed him.


Anonymous said...


Chips Hardy and Oscar Grillo said...

Where there's life, there's hope. (And septicaemia)

No One In Particular said...

Chips, this is great writing. What do I know, but I do. The greatness is in the sublime evocation of a pioneer site, I was sucked into it, it was so precise and rich. The twist at the end is neither here nor there, of no particular concern. These things happen, and happen a lot when people are doing risky things. It's worth the risk. Both characters whose feelings you let us glimpse were deeply fulfilled, no matter what their apparent fate. I am a fan. Well done.

No One In Particular said...

Also, how do you two ugly bugs rank all the babes in your group of followers? You've touched their perfect bodies with your minds, evidently.

Chips Hardy and Oscar Grillo said...

We think James has lovely furry ears. And Barbu's beard would tickle. But we are of course striving to get in touch with our feminine sides. All genuine offers will be considered.

Anonymous said...

oh, i hate when that happens. :(