Bodo Hastens the Work

‘Her hair is spindly as threads of dark ocean waves,’ Bodo told the new servant, who grunted, nodded, and dug in the earth.

‘And her hands are soft like dew drops on mint leaves; she is a rosy, lavender Easter dawn,’ Bodo went on, his eyes glistening, gazing into the misty morning grey, lost.

The new servant said, ‘What’s abouts her eyes? Pretty is they? Likes a maiden’s eyes oughts to be?’

Bodo clasped his hands together. ‘Like ancient pools of an ancient city lost under ancient ash,’ he breathed, his portly body heaving under his brown robes. ‘I speak in new ways, and only her love can be why!’

The fog swirled in a breeze and Bodo could see her eyes within the wisps of cloud. He said, ‘The way she looks at you—into you!—you can only vanish into her amber eyes.’

‘Ah, she sounds likes quites the lovely maiden,’ mumbled the new servant, leaning on his shovel.

‘When she kisses me,’ Bodo whispered, and a tear dropped from his eye, ‘sweet as a rhubarb tart. Oh, my Love, my Gwinny.’ He looked down at the body wrapped in violet silken cloths, hidden away, cold and dead, paled and putrefying from plague.

The new servant dug once more in the earth.

The back doors of the manor swung open and the lord of the land stepped out, a kerchief held up to his nose. ‘Is she buried yet?’ he called from across an acre.

‘Almosts,’ replied the new servant. Bodo hadn’t turned to the lord, he remained staring down at the violet silks.

‘Well, hasten your work!’ shouted the lord of the manor. ‘Get her into the hole and buried! Then report to the stables; the goats need tending to at once!’ The lord swept back into the manor, the doors crashing behind him.

The world was quiet with the busy feet of grasshoppers and mantises, the branches of the yew tree creaking, the silent haze of sunlight shining through and through the fog.

‘He’s a right arse, he is,’ the new servant grumbled, stabbing at the dirt and tossing it in a pile.

Bodo trudged away. ‘I will get another shovel,’ he spoke over his shoulder. ‘We will hasten our work, then tend to the goats.’

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