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Week One: Replay posted 14 July 2004 in Member Written WorksWeek One: Replay by Replay, Auditor

Note: I struggled a little with this, especially keeping the tone consistant throughout, but I think I got there in the end (be sure to tell me if I didn't though). There are still a few bits in it that I'm not sure work very well, so if you see any, please point them out and give a suggestion on how it could have been done better. Don't mind if you're harsh as I won't be offended. I just hope you give good reasons so that I can learn from them.

A short gust of wind whipped over the cemetery’s high walls, causing those gathered around the gravesite to momentarily clutch their cloaks a little tighter. The sky above was iron-grey and it was beginning to rain. Intermittent drops fell onto the top of Gabe’s head, flattening his dark brown hair to his skull and running down the back of his neck, as he stared down at his wife’s final resting place. He hardly noticed.

Around him, the others stood in solemn silence as the priest finished reading the final rights of the dead. The words made as little an impact on his consciousness as the rain.

He felt numb; the darkness that was his thoughts toying with the idea that someone had reached into his chest and removed some vital part of him. He wondered what it was that still animated him.

How was he supposed to go on now that Dani was gone? She had been such a huge part of his life that he now felt incomplete. Halved. Broken. How was he supposed to go on without the other half of himself—the better half of himself?

It was Dani who had turned him away from the destructive path he had been on all those years ago. Dani, who had shown him that there were better things in life out there. Dani, who had made him feel truly alive. And now she was gone, lost in a senseless act of violence, and somehow he was supposed to find a way to go on living without her.

Someone placed a hand on Gabe’s shoulder and he looked up. It was an old friend of his wife—Lacy, he thought her name was—who wanted to offer their condolences once again. He nodded as she told him how wonderful a person Dani had been, and how she would be missed by so many. Gabe mumbled his thanks, then watched as she walked away, gripping her coat tightly to keep out the wind and rain.

The other guests were slowly making their way towards the exit of the cemetery. Gabe glanced from face to face, trying unsuccessfully to put names to them. Dani would have known who they were. She had always been good with names; always had given people her undivided attention and got to know them properly, no matter who they were. And now he no longer had her to turn to.

Gabe turned towards the priest, ready to thank him, when something else catch his eye. It was a tall man, dressed in black, who stood leaning against an old oak tree on the far side of the grounds, studying him. A strong sense arose in Gabe that he should know this man, and as their eyes locked for a moment, that sense grew. He was sure that they had crossed paths in the past, but when? And where? The man’s name seemed to flicker across the back of Gabe’s mind somewhere, just out of reach. He tried to grab it, only to have it continually slip through his fingers. The only thing he could be certain of was that, this time, it was not someone who Dani could have put a name to.

Some sign of recognition must have been visible on Gabe’s face, for the man gave a small smile and tipped his head in acknowledgement. Gabe gave no response; only stood there, dumbly watching as the man calmly strode away.

All the others had left now. Only the priest remained, who waited patiently a few steps away. It was time for Gabe to start thinking about leaving as well. He tried to think of some final words he could say, but nothing would come to him.

“She was a good woman,” the priest kindly prompted him.

“The best,” replied Gabe. “Better than I ever deserved.”

The priest made no reply, but compassion shone from his eyes. Gabe turned away from that look that reminded him so much of her, as tears that he tried to suppress now rose within him for the first time.

“I’d better get going,” he said softly.

The priest only nodded. He knew there was something else Gabe wished to say.

Gabe cast his eyes down and took a deep breath. “How—“ He swallowed and started again. “How am I supposed to go on without her?”

The priest was silent for a moment. “I cannot really answer that for you,” he finally said. “All I can say is, try not to hold back or cling to your grief. Let it play out its natural course and, in time, things will get better.”

“In time,” Gabe morosely repeated.

A sad smile spread across the priest’s face. “I know it may not seem like it right now, but yes, in time, things will get better.”

Gabe stood there staring down at her grave, letting that point sink in. It did not seem like anytime soon the emptiness he felt would pass. He supposed he would have to take the priests word for it. He tried to think of what Dani would have said to him if she were here now. Most likely she would have said the very same thing. He often used to joke that she must have been some religious figure in a previous life.

Gabe finally looked the priest in the eyes again. “Thank you,” he said. “For everything.”

The priest placed a hand of Gabe’s shoulder. “If you ever need anyone to talk to, about anything, my door is always open.”

“Thank you, Father.” Gabe gave Dani’s grave one last look then turned and made his way along the muddy path towards the exit. And for the first time in days a new track of thought began to play out in his mind. Just who was the man in black? view post


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