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22

A man wants to know. A lover wants to know. Wants to suck the very marrow of your bones wants to know.

A man has a right. A lover has a right. Once your body is entered in that way, he will have the right.

Telling him of what cant be told. A lover wants to know what cant be told. For some secret must be offered. It was time, and more than time. She knew, though she was not his wife and would not be. This girl at my high school in Milburn, dyou know where Milburn is, and he said No I dont think so and she said When we were thirteen her father killed her mother, her older brother and her, and then himself, with a double-barreled shotgun in a back bedroom of their house they lived in a funny old stone house like a storybook cottage except it was old, it was sinking into the earth. And he said Jesus! what a terrible thing shifting uneasily was she a close friend of yours and quickly Hazel said No then Yes but not a close friend then, when we were in grade school shed been and Gallagher asked Why did the father do such a terrible thing, was he insane? desperate? poor? with surprising naivet'e for one whod been in the war and had been wounded in the war Gallagher asked and Hazel smiled in the darkness, not Hazel Joness bright yearning smile but a smile of rage Are those reasons for killing your family and yourself, are those the recognized reasons but Gallagher mistook Hazels trembling for emotion holding her tightly in his arms to protect her as always he would protect her Poor darling Hazel! It must have been horrible for you, and for everyone who knew them and Hazel smiled Was it? for the thought had never occurred to her. SayingHe was the town gravedigger. As if that was the explanation. Gallagher would accept this explanation.

Hazel knew it was not true of course. No one in Milburn would have thought it was horrible. It was the gravedigger murdering his family, and himself.

Because hed murdered them all. No one remained to grieve.


| The Gravedigger`s Daughter | c