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An Autumn Memory (standard:drama, 509 words)
Author: kendall thomas Added: Nov 24 2000Views/Reads: 4441/3Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A man recalls a past event.
 



An Autumn Memory 

It was in the autumn of that year early in the morning about dawn. 
There was a smoky haze in the air that gave the countryside a 
dream-like quality.  I was in a private carriage with a close friend of 
mine by the name of Richard Landor of the wealthy and distinguished 
Landors of Lancashire. 

The countryside, through which we traveled, was one of rolling meadows
and deep forests of multi-hued colors.  The horsesí breath fogged the 
chilly air.  Objects appeared like apparitions out of the haze, as our 
carriage rolled along, then disappeared as suddenly. 

Alongside my friendís white mastiff ran, occasionally giving the air a
happy bark.  The dog had been my friendís constant companion since it 
was a puppy.  They had never been apart--not even for one day--and went 
everywhere together. 

After about an hour we arrived at a clearing surrounded by towering oaks
and wide-spreading maples.  The coachman stopped the carriage, and my 
friend and I got out.  Not far off were several other carriages parked 
by the side of the narrow lane. 

A small group of men in dark suits stood with solemn demeanors waiting
for us in the clearing.  The ground was covered with a blanket of 
leaves that crunched beneath our feet  as we approached them. 

My friend stroked the white mastiffís muzzle as it walked beside him. 
Happily, the dog loped off in front of us circling back and forth and 
around barking with the full joy of life and of being out with his 
master in the brisk, morning air. 

The men greeted us with solemn nods, except for a sullen-faced young man
and his companion who stood off slightly to themselves. 

Some words were exchanged briefly in rigid, formal tones by
intermediaries between my friend and the young man, but no 
reconciliation could be found. 

The young man had sullied the reputation of my friendís fiancee at a
social gathering, and, as no apology had been forthcoming, a duel 
became the only honorable solution. 

Pistols were selected from a mahogany case and loaded.  Dice were cast
for position.  Instructions were given.  My friend handed me his coat 
and vest and rolled up his sleeves to the elbows.  He smiled at me and 
gripped my hand firmly. 

The two men took their positions, ten paces apart, their pistols by
their sides.  At the count they fired.  The shots, almost simultaneous, 
sounded like the snap of a stout branch in the quiet, morning air. 

My friend fell dead, a bullet through his heart. 

The mastiff leaped to his master thinking, no doubt, that he was playing
one of their games.  Then he smelled the blood and would let no one 
come near for a long time, growling fiercely.  I was told, some time 
later, that the poor, dumb brute was inconsolable over the loss of his 
master and had to be put down. 

My friendís fiancee was grief-stricken for several weeks, then left for
the Riviera where she met an Italian count and had a scandalous affair. 


~Will~ 


   


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