Wednesday 21 June 2023

A Grave on the Border by JD Clapp, Mexican mocha

Just north of the border, the deer a hunter shot laid dead on a fresh grave. Under a cross made of two sticks tied together with jute rope, a small stone sat on a photo of a man so it wouldn’t blow away in the desert wind.

           The hunter drug his buck from the grave to dress and quarter it. As he worked, the hunter imagined the dead man had a beautiful wife and two young children. He imagined the dead man in his Mexican village telling his family he would go north to make enough money to start his farm. The hunter envisioned a big celebration upon the dead man’s return, how excited his famila would be to see him. He thought of the dead man’s beautiful wife, hugging and kissing her prodigal husband, her breasts pushing into him with want and relief. He imagined the man’s children clinging to his road-tired legs, tugging at his shirttails, begging for candy from el norte.

 But he knew the man’s children would never visit this remote grave on dia de los muertos to have a picnic with the ghost of their father. He knew their father’s memory would fade just like his star had faded when his own kids grew older. The hunter knew with painful certainty the dead man’s wife, who never liked to be alone, would remarry her good for nothing neighbor, the man who had always coveted her. It disheartened him.

 Then he thought, I wouldn’t mind this grave. It is a peaceful and pretty spot. So, the hunter decided not to report it. And he took the photo of the dead man from under the stone, put in his pocket, and hiked back to his camp with his meat and the deer’s rack.

Back home, when sleep escaped him, the hunter gazed at the antlers of the deer that died on the grave and the photo of the dead man pinned below them. He would wonder how the dead man’s wife was getting along with her new man, and what his grown children were up to. He hoped they still thought of him occasionally, missed him on holidays. He wondered if they were always wondering too.

About the author

JD Clapp is based in San Diego, CA. His work has appeared 101Words, Micro Fiction Mondays Magazine, Free Flash Fiction, Trickster Literary Journal, and Sporting Classics Magazine.


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