It was Sunday morning and swirls of dust blew across the dirt road on their way to obscurity, occasionally brushing against the old pickup truck. There was a casual indifference to their movement, an indifference that was not shared by the occupant of the truck.
Faint strains of church music pushed feebly against the wind as if in an attempt to reach him, to change his mind. But church music held no power over him nor did the words of any backwoods preacher that he had ever listened to.
When Ruby had been alive he had humored her when she wanted to listen to the radio preachers. It seemed to comfort her in a way he could not understand. She was gone now and the radio sat mostly silent, except for the evening weather reports. It was best that Ruby was not here now. She would only try to interfere and that would be a nuisance.
On a hill slightly above a grove of oaks was the community cemetery where everyone was eventually sent to the same level no matter their station in life. He found his gaze fixed on the spot halfway up the hill where Ruby, and now Molly, lay buried, the dirt still freshly mounded over their daughter’s grave. One space was saved on the other side of Molly.
He had failed Molly and he had failed Ruby too. He didn’t want to admit it but he knew it was the truth. Ruby would have expected more of him and she would have been right.
In five minutes or so the church would be letting out and after the handshaking and chasing down of children, the worshipers would load up in their cars and head for home and Sunday dinner. Good people, most of them, just trying to get through the briars and brambles of life and hang onto something they could believe in. Anyone could believe in something until it had been taken away, reduced to vaporous recollections of the past.
The winchester rifle made a small metallic click as he laid it across the hood of the truck. Not everyone would be having Sunday dinner today.