Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hollow World Chapter 25


Clink. Clink. Clink.

It had been a very long time since The Pennyman had been spoken to.  Other than the dying wishes of Jimmy.  The Pennyman looked at Sam momentarily before resuming pulling the bodies off of the pile where they were stacked like so much cordwood.

“There must be fifty people there, what happened?”  Sam continued his approach.

The Pennyman lifted another body off of the tangle and carried it over to where he could attend to it.  Kneelng down, he placed an obol in the dead man’s mouth before returning to the pile for another body.

“Hey man, I’m talking to you,” Sam strode purposefully into The Pennyman’s path, trying to draw some reaction.

The Pennyman looked at Sam for a moment before walking around him, carrying a child of about ten or twelve.  A bullet hole exposed her intestines to the elements.  At least Graham had gotten the message he thought.

While he was in Wichita attending to the casualties of war, The Pennyman had felt a presence and after a short period of searching, had encountered Graham.  Graham had shouted obscenities at him but he had just stood there, staring.  After about a minute, the string of curses still coming, he had felt the pull of his job and left.  As he walked away, Grahams shouts became louder, until finally The Pennyman had turned a corner and the sound was blocked by the cinder and timber building.

None of the bodies had any trauma to the head.  While it made more work for The Pennyman, it was more satisfying work.  His bag lay near where the first row of corpses, already eleven deep, had begun.  Setting the girl down, he retrieved another obol and placed it in her mouth.

“This is sick, how could they do this to these people?”  Sam was carrying another child, this a boy in his late teens, and lay it down, starting a second row of corpses.  A tear hung off the tip of his nose long enough for him to raise a sleeve to wipe it away.  “Why?”  He looked at the man, the black three-quarter length jacket caked with road dust and dirt, but did not expect an answer, nor did he get one.  Sam kneeled at one of the bodies and reached into its mouth, pulling out the obol and looking at it.  “What is it?”  He received a cold stare, but no answer.

With the help of Sam, The Pennyman finished unstacking the bodies.  Four rows of corpse, forty-eight obols.  He was tired, but his job called.  Picking up the bag, he looked at Sam a final time, nodded his thanks, and walked away.

Clink. Clink. Clink.

If you read something you liked, didn't like, or just have a question about the story in general, I would love to hear from you. even if it is as minor as an misspelled word or a misplaced apostrophe, it made it this far so someone obviously missed it.\

I take feedback seriously, it is the best way for me to improve and the easiest way for you to help me improve.


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