I was tired…
I was tired, and I needed to go home and rest.
I stood plainly, as an array of blatant smiles cascaded before me in a haze of smoke and laughter. The men were plenty, amongst a crowded room that held an old standing clock by the door. They were gathered about the room in small groups, as if previously herded together, each with drink in hand.
I stood alone, with my hands bare, digging their way into the deep recesses of my trouser pockets.
The booming chuckles and teetering bodies, having had too much to drink, carried on in the minuets that passed until a long faced man took notice of me.
“Wilson? Wilson, is that you? I had no idea you would be here tonight. I hear you’ll be moving down to Wilshire soon,” a man said as he approached to my left.
I turned to face him.
“Yes. Yes, I’m pondering the idea Mr. Darrowby. I haven’t decided quite yet, actually.”
“You mean you might stay here and take the banking job after all?” the man said with delight.
I stared back at him with a straight face, refusing his question.
“I know. I know. I was once as young as you, you know. I would have wanted to weigh my options as well. Although you’d have to admit, if you did stay, you would be taking in a bit more money,” Mr. Darrowby said before taking a sip of his drink.
“What have you got there?” I asked.
“Brandy,” Mr. Darrowby said gritting his teeth after a big gulp.
“Do you always drink that?” I asked disgusted at the idea of drinking all together.
“Yes, of course. An old man like myself, we’ve got a reputation to uphold. If you can’t drink Brandy, then you’re not a man, I always say,” he said as he sipped a second time.
The liquid came to his lips in a ravenous rush of clear brown poison. It splashed as it hit his light yellow teeth, while his tongue admitted the danger.
“How is it that drinking Brandy makes you a man, Mr. Darrowby?” I asked leaning down toward his face, forcing the question.
“My dear boy. I’m afraid that’s a trade secret, one of many you’ll learn when the time comes, when you have grown as old as I am, once you have joined our bank that is,” Mr. Darrowby nodded staring up at me.
I backed away, resuming my stance.
“I see,” showing my teeth in a grin of acceptance as I nodded.
I looked out at the room again, as Mr. Darrowby delightfully trotted back to join the others.
I was fighting my feelings towards the subject of joining the bank. My hands came out of my pockets and up toward my chest. I gripped the lining of my jacket on either side. The buttons felt warm against my cold stubby fingers, as I straightened myself out. If I was going to stand there the entire evening, I was going to look good doing it.
The time passed slowly.
Although it was nearly midnight, the gleam in the men’s eyes did not fade. They kept right on with their stiff handshakes and rough pats on the back every time one made a joke about the other.
I continued to watch. More time passed.
I managed to settle myself into a comfortable chair by the window.
I looked out into the dark forest that surrounded the old manor. The trees were scattered and torn from the wind that rushed the well-kept scenery and glowing moon. There was a long meandering path that walked its way from the side of the house and out past the gate disappearing into the darkness of the forest. Birds came and went from tree to tree, no doubt in search of shelter for the night.
But the trees…
The trees were tall and wide, wide enough to place a door on and walk on through. My imagination grew as I stared out into that place, pondering the possibilities.
The men were tall and thin, short and wide. Most wore suits, though some had gotten as far as removing their ties and unbuttoning their top buttons, no doubt from their excursions in heavy drinking.
There were several couches scattered about the parlor. Too many men where accompanying far too little a space, though I had gained enough distance from their mockeries.
Bankers, the whole lot of them. What was really going on in their grimacing little heads? As they spoke the question came and left my mind like an unsettling ocean at a distant shore which no one could see. They must have had some reason for doing the things they did, some reason other than money. But then that was the whole reason why I was there wasn’t it; to find the two men I was looking for?
My mind wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t stop wondering what they were thinking. I wanted to ask, but I wanted to get out of there as soon as I could at the same time. But, I had to wait. I had to wait for the two men I was looking for. The two men that would seal the deal for me, on whether or not I was going to stay and become a banker in this place, for the rest of my life.
“Ah Mr. Grant!” A wide man said approaching me with another lean fellow.
“Good evening,” I replied attempting to stand.
“Is it that early?” the second man said as he pulled the chain of his pocket watch from his outer jacket pocket and glanced at the face.
“No, no, no. Don’t stand. Stay seated. We’ll join you,” the wide man said as the two of them took a seat on the couch across from me.
I sat back down, readjusting myself.
“How are you this evening?” I asked.
“You mean, how are you this morning? It’s half past one, John,” the lean man replied staring directly at him.
“Half past one? Is it that late already? Where does the time go when we’re at these lovely dinner parties?” John said raising his drink to his lips.
“How do you do sir? I’m Wallaby Jenkins,” the man said holding his hand out to me.
I took it.
“My name is Mr. Wilson Grant. I guess your friend knows me already. But I don’t believe I had the pleasure Mr.” I said while keeping a firm hold of Mr. Jenkins.
“You are right sir, we have not had the pleasure before now, but I have been looking for you all evening,” John said shuffling through his inner jacket pocket with his right hand.
Johns drink splashed about the inner linings of is cup as he searched. I waited, watching the liquid form mounds of force that could, at any moment, flow over into his lap.
“Mr. Grant is it? I think I have heard of you,” Mr. Jenkins commented taking John’s drink from him as if her were caring for a clumsy child.
“Ah here it is, my card,” John said handing it over to me.
I took it. The card was plain with modest lettering, in bold, at the top.
“Mr. John Walsh,” I read aloud, “Banker and ledger man at The Cornwall Bank and Trust.”
My eyes widened when I realized I had found the man I was looking for.
“That’s right, I am. You know, Wilson, I’ve been at that bank for fifteen years now. I was once considered the best of the best,” Mr. Walsh said.
“Once? Don’t be modest John. You’re still our best man,” Mr. Jenkins said.
“No. Not anymore. Not by any means now that we are in the presence of this fine gentleman,” Mr. Walsh said drawing Mr. Jenkins attention.
“What do you mean sir?” I asked as I continued to look the man over as he spoke.
After all this time. I had him, now, in front of me, and after all this time. I could hardly contain myself as an unconscious smile crept across my face. Mr. John Walsh, the legend.
“I’m glad to see you finally smiling. Tell me Wilson; how long have you been in town?” Mr. Walsh asked.
“Oh, for a couple months now. I wasn’t going to come to the party tonight but the others thought it a good idea for me to be here. You know, in order to get better acquainted. That is of course, if I accept the job here,” I said loosening up my position so that I could lean forward a little towards Mr. Walsh, before he spoke again.
“Yes. I would agree that you made a wise decision by doing so,” Mr. Walsh commented, taking his drink back from Mr. Jenkins clutches.
“So you’re a banker then?” Mr. Jenkins said mulling me over as if I were a decision he had to make, “Where did you grow up? What schools did you attend? How rich is your family? Are you even rich at all?” he continued.
“Now, now Wallaby, that’s quite enough questions. We don’t want to scare him off so quickly now do we?” Mr. Walsh said taking a sip of his drink.
“Mr. Walsh I have to say that I’ve been looking for you to,” I said in a calm tone so as not to arise suspicion, “I’m also looking for your right hand man. I don’t know his name but I believe he has been in many newspaper clippings with you. He’s rather, shall we say, on the larger side,” I said politely.
“You mean this man,” Mr. Walsh said patting Mr. Jenkins on the back with his left arm so hard it caused him to go into a fit of coughs.
“Mr. Jenkins, you’re Mr. Walsh’s right hand man?” I asked with another smile.
“I would like to think of myself,” he managed to get out before coughing again, “as the better man holding these old bones together,” Mr. Jenkins continued as he took Mr. Walsh’s drink from him, inhaling what he could manage.
“What are you doing man? You’ll choke!” Mr. Walsh said as the two fiddled with each other like an old married couple, acting as though I weren’t even in the room.
“What’s in that glass?” I asked.
“Brandy,” Mr. Walsh continued, speaking directly to Mr. Jenkins now, “If you can’t drink Brandy then you’re not a man, I always say,” Mr. Walsh said.
“You know another gentleman was telling the exact same thing earlier this evening,” I commented as the two pulled themselves together.
“Mr. Walsh and Mr. Jenkins, you two are actually the reason I’m here tonight. You see, I’ve heard a great deal about you from my teacher I had in school. He was the reason I came to inquire about a possible job down here,” I said leaning back.
“Is that right? Who is this man that you speak of?” Mr. Walsh asked intrigued, taking his glass back from Mr. Jenkins.
“A Mr. Cotton. James Cotton,” I said proudly watching their faces as they began to change with a heavy uneasiness lingering in their eyes.
“Mr. Cotton you say. Yes, I’ve heard of him,” Mr. Walsh said as his eyes made every attempt not to meet with mine.
“Are you alright Mr. Walsh?” I asked.
“Yes…I’m fine,” He responded in a deeper tone, finding a way to look at me.
“Don’t worry. He gets that way sometimes. You know how men can get in their old age,” Mr. Jenkins said laughing.
“I do,” I replied.
“We knew Mr. Cotton quite well,” Mr. Jenkins said.
“No,” Mr. Walsh said with his eyes urging Mr. Jenkins to drop the subject.
“Not that again. John, Mr. Cotton is long gone now. He’s never coming back. Don’t worry. Besides, you’re far too old to have him act on his promise now. And, if it is true, he’s long dead and gone,” Mr. Jenkins smiled trying to reassure him.
I watched as Mr. Walsh turned to the window, watching the forest with such intensity that his eyes glazed over in his trance.
“What do you mean, act on his promise?” I questioned.
“Why is it that you were looking for us?” Mr. Walsh said bringing himself back.
I could feel the force of his glare penetrating my soul, making me uneasy.
“Mr. Cotton was my teacher, a long time ago, when I was still a boy,” I uttered swallowing with intensities I didn’t know I had.
“And…” Mr. Walsh continued.
“John, calm down, I’m sure he knows nothing about it,” Mr. Jenkins said grabbing a hold of John’s arm as if he might suddenly leap in my direction.
“I explained to him that I wished to go into banking someday. He told me to search the two of you out. He said that it might be beneficial to me, in the future, since I was so eager to get into the business of banking,” I said quite unaware of what he meant by his assumptions.
“He knows. I can see it in his eyes!” Mr. Walsh yelled out amongst the chatter of the room, though no one else took notice of the scene.
“Mr. Walsh is reaching his 57th year now, in his old age. He hasn’t been quite himself. Sometimes he gets carried away with stories,” Mr. Jenkins said attempting to settle him down.
“What story? What happened? Did Mr. Cotton die or something? Was it tragic, fatal?” I asked leaning into Mr. Jenkins as he spoke.
“Well, I don’t think I should be telling you this in the first place. It’s…its nonsense really. It’s…it’s just that,” Mr. Jenkins demeanor changed suddenly as he continued on.
Mr. Walsh turned himself towards the window a second time, holding stiffly the drink in his hand. His lips quivered at the edge of the smooth glass. He took a sip, then a breath. His eyes grew as if the forest was calling out to him, and he its beckoning master.
“Mr. Grant. I’ll tell you the story, if you want to hear it, but only if you promise not to tell anyone. If word got out to anyone else they might think Mr. Walsh a complete loon and send him off to the institution,” Mr. Jenkins said, now whispering as he leaned in closer.
“I promise. I won’t tell anyone,” I said curious as to what he might say next.
“Mr. James Cotton is said to have committed suicide about ten years ago today,” Mr. Jenkins whispered.
I held back, still leaning over.
A rush of emotions came across my face, and left. I didn’t know what to feel, hearing someone else say he was dead, for the first time. Having already known he was dead, myself. I had known Mr. Cotton a lot better than I knew myself. He was the first person that came to understand me, really. I didn’t know what to say, although I assumed my expressions said it all.
“I can see that you were very close with him. I’m sorry that you had to come to hear it this way. I truly am sorry.”
“Please go on,” I said after rubbing my face a couple of times.
“Well, as the story goes, Mr. Cotton was a teacher at the school you went to, and he was married. I had only met him a handful of times and the subject of his wife was mentioned but she was never discussed, you understand.”
“Yes,” I replied with eagerness in my voice.
“What most people don’t know is that Mr. Cotton, although some would say is very lively in the classroom…he, was a very…keep to himself sort of person in his home.
He had a hobby.
He enjoyed the woods so much that he decided to build a house for himself and his wife out there,” Mr. Jenkins said pointing out the window.
“Out there? Where? Near here?” I questioning attempting to look as if I could see through all the lingering darkness.
“Yes. His house. His old house, is just beyond that path, not too far away from here.
I looked to Mr. Walsh who was still staring at the forest. His demeanor had brought his mind into a frenzy it seemed, from which he could not escape, at least for the moment. His hands were old and wrinkled, the right at his mouth. His eyes still widened and locked at that mysterious place outside. If it wasn’t for the drink in his hand, I feared that his left hand might have cramped, though he had forgotten to take another sip for some time now.
Mr. Jenkins watched me.
“Shall I go on?” he asked.
“Yes,” I replied.
“As I was saying. Mr. Cotton was able to build the house himself because of his hobby. He was an avid woodsman and woodcarver. He knew everything there was to know about it.
So, after he had built his house, himself and his wife Merida moved in. Mr. Cotton made it very clear that no one was to come and visit them there. Their house was their own personal life and he didn’t want anyone coming to the door, attempting to meddle in their personal affairs.
It wasn’t until two years past that his wife gave birth to their only child. They were happy, as a family. That was the general impression that was spread, between us colleagues.”
“I’m sorry. How is it that you knew Mr. Cotton exactly?” I asked.
“That’s where the story, comes in. Mr. Cotton and his wife, contrary to what the town might have believed, were in a bit of trouble, when their child reached the age of 10. It was financial trouble. From what Mr. Walsh has told me, Mrs. Cotton, Merida, came to Mr. Walsh with a proposal. She had asked that he take on their finances secretly, without her husband knowing about it, although she never mentioned why.
Everything would have been fine if Merida wouldn’t have made the mistake she did. You see Merida came into town once a month and held private meetings with Mr. Walsh here. I saw her on occasion, although I did not ask questions knowing that it would not be my place to do so.
There was one day in particular, almost a year ago today that Merida came running into the office with tears in her eyes. It had something to do with their arrangement and Mr. Cotton finding out about what she was doing by a receipt she had misplaced, or what I assumed to have fallen on the floor. After reading it he assumed that Merida and Mr. Walsh were carrying on an affair together.
He became quite enraged, from what I saw.
Mr. Walsh explained that he would simple go and explain everything to Mr. Cotton, at his home. Merida of course was against the idea, and pleaded that he never do so.
I was coming out of my office when I witnessed the entire account. Merida was at Mr. Walsh’s side pulling at the front of his jacket, crying profusely. In the next moment Mr. Cotton showed up at the door. He shoved his way inside. He said some cross words with Mr. Walsh and warned him never to speak with his wife again or else he might find his own neck with an ax against it. Mr. Cotton then dragged her off, crying.
I assumed that Merida fled, the next morning, with her little boy. However, no one knows where she could have gone. She had no family, no friends, not anyone here to speak of anyway.
So then, the next morning, after seeing his family had gone, Mr. Cotton took up his ax and lay his neck out on a wooden stump which he would often use to do his work on. He let the ax fall perfectly upon his neck, slicing his head clean off,” Mr. Jenkins said with a discussed look.
“How do you know that it happened that way, or why? You said that no one was allowed, near his house,” I questioned.
Mr. Jenkins leaned in close to me, as if he didn’t want Mr. Walsh to hear what he was about to say next.
“Well, that next morning Merida came into the office with her son. After seeing her I made my way back to my office, as I have mentioned before, not wanting to get involved in something that was no business of mine. However, after walking inside I clumsily got my suspender caught on the door. I was a bit, shall I say, on the larger side back then. I decided it would be best to keep still and listen from the other side of the door, incase John needed my help; so I did. I heard Merida telling John that she needed all of her money, minis the fees that she had acquired for his services. The conversation was muffled but I assumed that she needed the money because she was leaving her husband.
After getting my suspender loose, from the outer door knob, I could see that her son had stood up to listen in at the door. It was at the point where they were discussing Merida’s departure that the boy yelled out, ‘I’m not leaving father, and you can’t make me!’ I assumed him to be very upset at the idea, as he stormed his way out of the office. Merida too, ran after him, hearing his voice at the door. I never saw them again,” Mr. Jenkins said.
“But you still haven’t answered my question Mr. Jenkins; how do you know that Mr. Cotton is dead, if you’ve never been to his home? Have you? How do you know that’s how he died, or why?” I asked.
“I assume. Taking the money, seems to me to be the wise decision, maybe starting a new life somewhere else. But, as far as the ax myth…” Mr. Jenkins said tossing his head back in a heavy laugh.
I watched, letting a smile return to me.
“I’m not so sure the ax suicide happened. It’s really just a myth among the towns’ people here. Supposedly someone who was passing by James’s home saw his body lying there, head severed, ax planted firmly into the stump. However, when that same person returned with help the body was gone, not even the ax could be found. They apparently searched the house afterwards, but the wife and child were already gone. No one’s been by that house since. Most have thought it best to just leave it be, as they say,” Mr. Jenkins said returning to his normal voice.
“I can see him. I know he’s out there…just…waiting for me,” Mr. Walsh murmured under his breath.
I watched his head trace the movements of the wind outside, as if her were following something.
“That’s ridiculous! Wouldn’t you say so Wilson?” Mr. Jenkins said taking his drink from Mr. Walsh, as he failed to notice.
“Quite,” I said with a smile leaning back in my chair.
“But that’s enough of that. We are here to celebrate, isn’t that right John? The possibility of this young chap joining our bank!” Mr. Jenkins asked Mr. Walsh directly.
The change of tone in Mr. Jenkins voice seemed to have woken Mr. Walsh out of his trance. He came to, quickly, straightening himself in his chair to face me. His eyes met with mine before he spoke.
“I say Wilson. I believe you’re in need of a drink! Waiter!” Mr. Walsh said as he motioned for one of the servers to come over.
A well-kept man carrying a towel across his left arm walked over to inquire upon his request.
“Wallaby and I will have another Brandy. And, uh this gentleman would like a…” Mr. Walsh said implying that I finish his statement.
“A water. Just water. I don’t drink,” I said to the waiter.
The waiter nodded and went on his way.
The evening went on. If it wasn’t for the hours that chimed on the old clock by the door, I might not have paid any attention.
We sat there, the three of us regaling on old times, and the joys of being boys that we’d each experienced.
It was when the clock struck five when I knew I had, had enough of the party. I quietly gathered my things and made my way to the door.
“Not leaving so soon are you old chap?” Mr. Walsh said coming up from behind me.
“Oh yes. I’m quite tired. In fact I can’t remember the last time I stayed up this late. It’s nearly dawn,” I commented point outside past the door.
“Oh poppycock! That’s complete nonsense! It’s still dark out. The sun shouldn’t be up for at least another twenty minutes or so,” Mr. Walsh said holding onto me.
“You’re rather drunk Mr. Walsh,” I said helping him stand on his own.
“You know something Wilson; you’re right,” he admitted taking a step forward.
I caught him before he could fall on the steps outside.
“Are you sure you’ll get home alright?” I asked.
“Of course, sure, sure,” he said still in my arms.
“Mr. Walsh. Why don’t I walk you home? Where do you live?” I asked.
“Oh it’s not that far up the road. Maybe a 30 minute walk if we take it briskly,” he said laughing uncontrollably, “Briskly…huh hmmm, that’s a funny word, brisk, briskly,” Mr. Walsh said as I swung his arm over my shoulder and we made our way down the steps.
Mr. Walsh and I made our way to the path on the road.
The coldness of the forest was beginning to simmer away amongst the lightening haze of the sky.
Still we could see our breath in front of us, as we walked.
“You’ll have to turn here. I know a short cut,” Mr. Walsh said pointing off to the left.
“Through the forest?” I asked, “Won’t we get lost?”
“Nonsense my boy. I know where I’m going. Besides we’ll get there in half the time if we go this way. This…way…this…way,” Mr. Walsh repeated, “Does that sound funny to you? This…way,” he continued returning to his horse like fit of laughter.
“No Mr. Walsh,” I added, smiling a bit.
I looked a few feet ahead of us and saw a strange array of trees that did not follow the same pattern as the other.
“I completely forgot. This way takes us past the old Cotton place!” Mr. Walsh continued.
“But the trees,” I said aloud, “The trees are tall and wide here, wide enough to place a door,” I finished, astonished at their size.
“We’ll have to stop here. I’m afraid I’ll have to take a piss. This tree should do,” Mr. Walsh said pulling away from me.
Mr. Walsh faced the trunk and began fiddling with his pants. He could hardly stand, without the trees support.
“Door on tree’s. That’s got to be the silliest thing I’ve ever heard,” Mr. Walsh said leaning into the truck when his arm slipped and the weight of his body fell inside.
He zipped up his pants, kneeling, half inside the tree.
The sun was coming up, off in the distance, shedding bright light amongst the forest. Birds chirped over head as they danced in glory of the new morning.
I walked up behind Mr. Walsh with a blank expression on my face, as a slight chill tickled my back and I shuttered a little at the thought of it.
“Wilson,” Mr. Walsh yelled, again stating to laugh, “Wilson, come and see this. I think that there is a door on this tree,” he said still in disbelief, back out slowly.
I didn’t respond for a moment, leaving him in a quizzical silence.
“Wilson! Are you still there? I say I think that,” Mr. Walsh said when his hand slid over a long white object with large bumps at either end.
He continued to feel around, blinking continuously, when his vision came into focus.
“Is this, are these, bones, human bones? Oh my God; who is that?” Mr. Walsh continued as he removed himself completely from the tree and his eyes came to the hinges on the door, as it swung back and forth on its tilted angle.
“I believe it’s Mr. Cotton, Mr. Walsh,” I said as I began to pace in front of him, “He’s been dead for the past ten years now, rotting, in that tree,” I said bringing my hands to my face, pulling at my chin in deep thought.
“Mr. Cotton? What do you mean, Mr. Cotton?” Mr. Walsh asked while fear masked his face, as he brought his legs up toward his chest attempting to stand.
Mr. Walsh stood balancing himself with the tree, unsure what to say.
“What’s the matter Mr. Walsh? Aren’t you glad that Mr. Cotton’s dead? I mean, now that you know for sure you’ll be able to carry on with your usual life as a banker, one of the best, at Cornwall Bank and Trust, right?” I said coming in a little closer to him.
“Who…are you?” he asked quivering.
“Oh, well that is a good question Mr. Walsh, a very good question indeed. You see I haven’t been completely honest with you this evening. But, I do believe that you have known me for quite some time now, as well as my father Mr. James Cotton,” the words left my lips like a carefully crafted web amongst Mr. Walsh’s mind.
I stood there, staring at him, as a smile crept across my face.
“You’re Wilson Cotton? James’ boy?” Mr. Walsh asked looking as though he were afraid of the answer.
“And, that’s his body?”
“How did you do it? Why did you kill your father?”
“Oh I didn’t kill my father. Mr. Jenkins was quite right about that. You see my father did kill himself. So, the myth is true, but what people don’t know is that I am the one who got rid of the body.
At first I buried him of course, almost immediately. However, then I thought; what if someone comes along and finds the body? Well then eventually word would get back to you that he’s dead, and then you would stop worrying about the promise that my father made to you 10 years ago. That’s a rather long time to be living in fear, wouldn’t’ you say?
What fun would that be? I have spent so many years planning and attending school in order to one day become a banker, and I made it. I have finally met the man that my father spoke so highly of,” I said reaching my hands out to him as if to offer him a hug.
Mr. Walsh shook his head in rejection to my offer as the light orange and pink rays shown in the sky amongst the dissipating clouds. I could see a beautiful day ahead of me.
“He spoke, highly of me?” Mr. Walsh questioned seeming confused.
“Yes. Yes of course. That is right up until he found out that you were carrying on an affair with her,” I said crossing my arms beneath each other against my chest as I stood laughing.
“No. No. That wasn’t what happened! Please believe me,” Mr. Walsh pleaded.
“Hmmm. Well, I’m not one to say for sure Mr. Walsh, but it drove my father to the point of killing himself, and why? Do you really think that if it wasn’t true, that if he didn’t believe that the two of you, my mother and yourself were taking a day out of every month to simply go over finances, that he would have killed himself that next morning, assuming that his wife and child had left him because of it? No. I don’t think it’s that simple Mr. Walsh,” I said as I turned walking over to another tree.
Mr. Walsh watched.
I leaned into the truck revealing another door. I steadily reached inside, keeping my eyes on Mr. Walsh whilst removing an ax, leaving the door open.
“What are you doing man?” He demanded.
I laughed, “Now I’m a man? Weren’t you calling me a boy the entire evening, because men drink Brandy!” I asked rhetorically mimicking his tone.
“I’m sorry I….I,” Mr. Walsh uttered between the chattering of his teeth.
“You know Mr. Walsh My father told me everything. He told me about the meeting he had with you and how you deliberately tried to coerce him into your office and talk things through, over a glass of, Brandy was it?
My father taught me everything he knew. It’s, true he was an excellent woodsman and woodcarver. He taught me how to make things, in the tree’s where he had been hiding many interesting articles from his family. I was just a curious boy when my father died and I was bound to find these doors on the trees sooner or later. And I thought, what an excellent place to keep a body in. After all, no one would think to look in a tree. Wouldn’t you agree Mr. Walsh,” I asked turning the head of the ax upward so that the body of it slide within my grip until the metal reached the knots of my cold knuckles
“You’re not a boy. I’m sorry. Your every bit a…” Mr. Walsh said closing his eyes for a moment trying to gather his words.
“What did you say Mr. Walsh? I told you,” I said calmly before yelling, “I told you. I don’t drink!”
My heart raced as I rushed towards Mr. Walsh who remained still, his eyes closed, ready to face his end.
With the blade held high above my head I threw the ax to Mr. Walsh’s throat making a clean cut by the time the metal hit the bark of the tree.
In the seconds that passed, my heart continued to beat through my chest, in delight of my quest.
Moments passed as I stood there in the light of the oncoming day and the plain expression left on Mr. Walsh’s face, with, his eyes permanently closed.
His body fell slowly beneath, and to the ground.
Once I had calmed myself. I took up the body beneath the arms and dragged it inside the tree from once I had removed the ax.
I took the head from its mantle, gripping it by the hair, and tossed it back with its lifeless partner, closing the door behind.
I detached the ax and looked back at the trees. The trees that stood tall and wide, wide enough to place a door on and walk on through.
I dragged the ax by the handle as I made my way back to my family’s home. The blade seared the dirt with a trail like pattern as it carved its way into the sand and mud. The blood that blanketed the tips began to scrub off as I went.
I had a big decision to make in morning whether I was to take that banking job or not. After all, who head their bank now, now that Mr. Walsh was gone? I began to wonder about all these questions that continued to come and go in my mind.
But I was tired…
I was tired, and I needed to go home and rest.