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Flash in the Pan: Piecework

The night my grandfather died, was just after Christmas after a sudden heavy blizzard and during a period of extreme cold.  He died sitting next to the storage heater, where he had sat everyday ever since he got sick.  He would sit rattling away, then it all stopped.  Nan went in to give him a cup of tea and he was dead.  She tucked the plaid blanket in around him and went out into the night, hard and cold like a diamond.  True Blue, the old pub that had sat in their property and housed nothing but pigeons in its last years, loomed like an old cripple backing onto the canal, frozen fast and thick.  She heard whining coming from behind True Blue, it was the old blonde Labrador Toby, stuck on the ice.  He was afraid and scrambling around.  At first Nan found it funny and shouted ‘Yer daft thing.’  Then she felt sorry for the dog.  She was not so old, she was ten years younger than her husband, something she forgot sometimes.  The dog looked at her pleadingly, like maybe granddad had done sometimes.  She lowered herself onto the ice, the moon was bright and she was far away from other houses and the road so when the power went she didn’t notice.  My aunty went round to see everything was alright when everything went black, finding the front door open allowing some lazy snow flakes that had begun to float down, in, and my grandfather dead by the storage heater.  She left the house at a loss where to look for Nan, she called ‘Mum? Mum!’  Nan heard her daughter, a woman calling her like a child.

‘Am ere!’  My aunty heard the voice with difficulty, most of the sound was eaten up by the snow, it seemed that True Blue was talking with Nan’s voice.

‘Mum, whatcher doing?  Yer’ll break yer bloody neck!’

My Nan stood on the ice holding Toby, who looked sorrowful and relieved and embarrassed.  Nan slipped a bit and Aunty went to help.

‘Stay there!  The ice’ll crack!’

My Aunty frowned, Nan was mad but still her mum, she did as she was told.  Nan slowly picked her way across the canal in her sheepskin slippers.  Aunty took Toby off me Nan without a word and nan said ‘Yer dad’s dead duck.’   Nan’s hair, that had been grey for six years was brown now.  Just like that.

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This entry was posted on July 10, 2012 by in Flash in The Pan, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , .

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