Andrew R Crow
Although it was past twilight, two of the farmhands were
spreading heavy loads of compost on the newly-plowed field to the west
of the window he was looking through. A quiet, whispery sound behind
"What do you see, when you look like that?"
"Numbers", he wanted to say, "Positive and negative, yin and
yang, good and evil finally coming together this night in a cosmic
numerical judgment day, where everything finally equals out." But what
he really said was "Nothing. Just glad this evening is over, another
healthy child, another happy ending." The last one, he thought to
As if to emphasise the point, a soft mewling was heard from the
bedroom, with joyous crying of the mother and gentle, frustrated
laughing of the father. "No, put your other hand here..."
It had been ten years since he'd returned from the war, injured
fighting the Afrika Korps, not sure how or when the war would end.
Injured, scarred, bitter. But full of guilt, mostly. Seventeen lives he
had taken. A doctor, fighting to save lives at the North African front,
forced to take up arms when they were overwhelmed. Fighting to take
But tonight's baby, the seventeenth live birth since he'd
switched specialties last year had, he hoped, cleared the slate. There
was none of the expected joy in this, just cold purpose. He was sadder
than he'd ever been.
He looked out the window at the starlight and wondered where he
would go from here.
First published: February, 2007
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