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Requiem For Linny (standard:drama, 9643 words)
Author: J. NicklausAdded: Dec 22 2007Views/Reads: 1846/1046Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Once in a while, the most important lessons we learn are the hardest. The passing of someone dear can both impart, even in their departure.

The dig had taken longer than expected. The early winter of
mid-November, while mild, still stung and made the earth harder to 
shovel. With four seasoned men digging it took the better part of three 
hours to get to easier digging. Few words had been spoken, out of 
respect for Buck, but with the grave completed and the unforgiving 
cold, the gray silence took a back seat to human nature. 

Brant, all five-foot-three of him, plopped down in the snow and wiped
his brow with a dusted-white coat sleeve. "Damn I'm hungry," he stated 
flatly, shooting Jayce a look. "Ya' think Linny's got any of that stew 
left over . . . " Jayce, normally patient, left no room for his 
feelings on the matter, swinging his spade close enough to remove 
Brant's hat and a few hairs as well. "What in the sam hell's wrong with 
you? Have you not been here the last three hours?" Brant's eyes widened 
and mouth dropped open. 

"Buck, I'm real sorry, I didn't mean nothin' . . . " Buck just held up a
gloved hand, gaze still fixated on the hole in the earth before him. 
Walt, his best friend of thirty-odd years stood beside him, easily able 
to discern the presence of another hole--if not nearly as visible, 
equally tangible. "Jayce, Brant . . . you two have done what you can 
here. Why don't both of you ride back to the house and take the truck 
into town, get some chow and a cold beer." 

Brant stood then bent over to retrieve his hat. Faded denim stood out
against the dark blue denim now displaying where he'd sat. He stood 
back up, face red, and shot Jayce a menacing glare."You coulda split my 
head open, jackass." 

"Shut your trap while you're ahead, Brant, and just get on your horse.
I'll be right behind ya." Brant mussed his hair to remove the drifting 
snow before donning his hat again, then shuffled off towards his horse, 
small fans of white splaying out in front of each step. Jayce turned 
his attention to Walt and Buck. "He don't mean no harm, just got a head 
thick as a mule's." 

Walt shuffled his feet, feeling awkward. "I know, Jayce, and he thinks
with his stomach. The damn thing's as big as a bale of hay, so it ain't 
surprising he talks with it too." Both men watched Brant as he 
simultaneously hopped and kicked his foot up to get into the stirrup. 
They didn't see Buck lift his head and look at them, then peer through 
the silent snow in the same direction. Buck stood almost six feet tall, 
with wide shoulders and a face experienced beyond his years, yet he 
kept his coat wrapped around him, hands thrust firmly in the pockets. 
The air hung, veiled, like a wisp of malaise when he spoke. "Never 
could understand what Linny saw in the snow. Damn stuff gets everywhere 
. . . " 

"Too damned cold," Walt added. 

"And makes a devil of mess," Jayce finished. 

Buck stood for a moment, stoic in the midst of the graying white. "Guess
I mentioned it before, huh?" Walt grinned a little, his wiry moustache 
barely lifting under its own weight, "Once or twice, Buck." Try as he 
might, he could only muster a wince through his sorrow--the smile would 
remain on the dark side of the silver moon for some time yet. Jayce 
stepped over, placing his right hand on Buck's shoulder, "You sure I 
can't do anything else for ya?" 

"No, you've done quite enough, Jayce, and I honestly can't thank you
enough, my friend." 

Jayce held the tip of the shovel handle in his palm, and pointed a
leather-clad finger in Buck's direction."If you need anything at all . 
. . " 

"I will. I promise." 'Promise' got lost in the cold November air. Buck
looked down at the snow, watching it begin to dust the interior of the 
grave, then sniffed, hoping no one heard. "Linny loved you guys," his 
throat tightened from everything but the cold, "all of you." 

Walt looked solemnly at Jayce, then to Buck, and back at Jayce. "She's
here, Buck . . . her heart . . . her spirit . . . she's here. She's 
better off than the rest of us. I didn't know anyone, not one person, 

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