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Short Stories

I don't often write short stories! But here's a very small selection, with a little introduction for each one.

That Bloody Book

This was written for a short story competition on a writers’ website.  I was given erotica as a genre, but couldn’t resist inserting some humour!

Terror.  Abject terror.  He’d never felt it before, not even that time outside Tescos when his foot had slipped off the clutch and he’d rear-ended a Fiat Punto.

‘Joyce, what’s going on?’

Panic had already switched into overdrive.  If he wasn’t too careful, he’d end up down at A&E with a suspected coronary.  She had no right to do this to him, no right to upset the quiet, respectable life that he’d managed to lead for the last fifty nine years … with hardly any complications at all.

‘Joyce, what’s this stuff on the bed?’

The stuff on the bed certainly looked like complications.  He scanned the objects that had been scattered across the chintz throw:  a pair of handcuffs decorated with pink fur; a silk blindfold; the spatula from the kitchen.

‘Why is the spatula up here, Joyce?’

He knew very well why the spatula was lying on the bed, nestling in amongst the roses and the lilacs.

‘I’m just having a shave.’  His wife’s voice slipped under the bathroom door.  It was dripping with something that it hadn’t dripped with for an awfully long time.

Glancing towards the hallway, he wondered if it was a good time to bolt for freedom.  He could make himself a cocoa, watch a little Match of the Day, insist in a very manly way that she forget about all this nonsense and then carry on with life as he knew it: cleaning classrooms in the mornings, whiling away the afternoons in deep, one-sided conversation with his vegetables, slipping in the occasional fishing session down at the canal.  He liked it that way.  Each day the same.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided by the loving wife, the dependable wife, the wife who’d been satisfied with her lot … until now.

‘I’m going to make a cocoa, love.  Do you want one?’

‘No!  I do not want a cocoa, Trevor!  I want sex!’

‘But …’  He let out a quiet groan.  Sex was the last thing he wanted right now.  In fact, sex was the last thing he ever wanted these days.  A chore.  That was what it was.  Like washing the pots, or putting out the bins.  ‘I’ve had a hell of a day, love.  You know what it’s like at the back end.’

‘No, I don’t!’  The bathroom door creaked a little before it was flung wide open.  ‘And that’s the problem,’ Joyce breathed.

His gaze yo-yoed up and down her body, taking in the pink, chenille dressing gown, the heavy make-up, the greying hair pulled back into a tight pony tail.  Why on earth was she wearing her hair like that?  She never wore her hair like that.  By day, it was always tucked away in a neat bun, only to be released every night at ten o’clock on the dot, when it was finally allowed to tumble freely across her nightie.

‘I … didn’t mean that,’ he stuttered.  ‘I meant the Autumn.  The back end.  I’ve been pruning all day.  I’m shattered.’

‘Well, there’s some Red Bull in the fridge,’ she wheezed.  ‘Barbara says it keeps Ken going.’  Her eyes narrowed.  Her lips parted.  Her bosom rose and fell like a pair of bellows.  ‘It’s time we got kinky, Trevor.  Get your kit off.’

His head fell to his chest.  It was inevitable, of course.  He’d half expected it for weeks now.  One by one, the quiet men of the Allotment Society had fallen victim to that bloody book: while Ken had become increasingly disheveled and Barry had gone a bit quiet, Pete had lost himself in a pile of dirty magazines and Derek had taken to napping in his shed.  And now it was his turn.  And why was that?  Because he’d been complacent, just like the rest of them.  Because while the quiet men of the Allotment Society had been tending to their potatoes or thinning out the crops or fighting against vicious armies of marauding wire worm, their good wives had formed a reading circle.

And nothing was more dangerous than that.

He glanced at his wife’s bedside cabinet.  There it was, that bloody book.  It had been lurking in the house for an age now, mysteriously migrating from the living room to the kitchen, from the kitchen to the bathroom, and finally to the bedroom.  He’d lost count of the times she’d buried her head in it, ignoring the chops as they burned under the grill or the phone ringing, or even – just the once – an episode of Eastenders.

‘What’s up with you?’ Joyce demanded.

‘Do we really have to use the spatula?’

‘Of course we do.  It’s for spanking.  Barbara said I should get a paddle, but I’m not made of bloody money.  This is good enough.’

She stood in the doorway with her hands clamped against her hips, waiting expectantly.

‘But it’s the spatula, Joyce.  From the kitchen.’

‘I’ll give it a wash.’

He closed his eyes and suppressed a groan.

‘Come on, Trevor.  Get your clothes off.’

His eyelids flicked open.  ‘Oh bollocks.’

‘Don’t swear like that, Trevor.  It’s not nice.’  She sucked at her lips, apparently deep in thought.  ‘But you do have to say that you’re going to fuck me.’


‘Say it, Trevor.  Say I’m going to fuck you.’

He gazed at his wife’s face.  Her eyes seemed to have gone a bit weird, just like the dog when it smelt out fox shit.

‘I’m going to …’  He faltered.

‘Fuck you.  Hard.’

‘Hard?’ he squeaked.

‘Trust me, Trevor.  Just say it and then we get all steamy.  I might even have an orgasm during sex.’

‘You mean you’ve never?’

She shook her head.

‘But you’ve always made noises, Joyce.’

‘That’s because you’re supposed to.’

‘You’ve never?’

‘Plenty of times, Trevor.  With these little beauties.’  She waved two fingers through the air.

He felt his stomach lurch.  Oh god, she’d been doing that?  All these years?

‘Joyce, I’m not happy with this.’

‘And I’m not happy with the usual crap, Trevor.  I want a bit of spice.’  Sidling over to the bed, she picked up the handcuffs.  ‘I’ve been down Ann Summers especially for you.  Barbara came with me.’

‘Barbara?’  He swallowed back a lump.  Poor old Ken.  So he was in for a tough time too.  He glanced at the curtains, imagining the scene across the road, wondering if his allotment buddy was in the same situation.  When he turned back, his heart stopped, or at least it seemed that way.  Joyce had removed the dressing gown and right now she was splayed out across the bed covers, legs apart, arms above her head, her eyes shimmering with something distinctly unusual.  And yes, she’d shaved.  Just not in the usual places.

‘Now, talk dirty to me,’ she purred.

He shook his head.  Oh god, he was in trouble.  Joyce was actually purring.  He’d never heard her do that before.  Squawking, yes.  The occasional screech.  But purring?  Never.

‘I can’t do it, Joyce.’

‘Yes, you can.  Just think about your vegetables.  That’ll get you excited.’


‘Just do it!’

He jolted at the tone of her voice.  She was getting all demanding and when Joyce got like that, there was simply no denying her.  He closed his eyes again, just for a moment, summoning every last bit of strength for the task ahead.

‘I’m going to man-handle you, Joyce,’ he stammered, doing his best to please his wife.  ‘You dirty turnip.’  He balled a fist and waved it in the air.  ‘I’m going to yank you about a bit and … er … clean up your crevices.’

‘Oh, come on, Trevor.  You can do better than that.’

‘Can I?’  He wasn’t entirely sure that he could.  Damn that bloody book.

‘I want you to dominate me.’

‘Oh, I don’t know about that, Joyce.’

‘Come on.  You’re quite domineering at the Allotment Society.’

‘Yes, but that’s different.’

‘How is it?’

‘Well, you know.  I’m president.  I’ve got to keep things in order.’

‘All that power,’ Joyce mumbled to herself, closing her eyes.  My very own Mr Grey.’

‘Mr Who?’

‘Never mind.’

For a moment or two she seemed to slip away and he quietly hoped that she’d fallen asleep.  No such luck.  With a sigh, she slid her tongue across her bottom lip and opened her eyes.

‘I’ve been a naughty gardener, Trevor.’

‘Have you?’

‘Oh yes.  I’ve used the wrong sort of fertilizer.’

Much to his surprise, he sensed a movement in his pants, almost like a sleepy hamster fidgeting in its cage.

‘Joyce, you need to stop this now.’

‘I cheated in the cucumber contest, Trevor.’  Another purr escaped her lips, as thick as treacle this time.

The thing in his pants moved again.

‘Joyce, no.’

‘Do you know what I did?’ she breathed.

‘I need a good night’s sleep, Joyce.  I’m going fishing tomorrow.’  He fiddled with his waistband.

‘I went out there every night, and rode my cucumber.  That was my secret, Trevor.  I’ve had it right up my …’


He raised a hand to stop her and squeezed his thighs together, as if that would help matters.  For some reason beyond his comprehension, blood had begun to course its way through his John Thomas like water through a hosepipe.  He could practically feel the ruddy thing inflating beneath his corduroy trousers.

‘I didn’t hoe my patch this year,’ she pushed on, sucking on her index finger before drawing it out of her mouth, across her lips and down between her breasts.

They’d been pert in her youth, those breasts.  He could still remember the first time he’d seen them.  Back then, they’d reminded him of a pair of cherry buns.  Now, whenever he looked at them, which wasn’t that often, he always found himself thinking about blancmange.

‘I’ve been in Derek’s shed.  I’ve had my hands all over his tool rack.’

‘No, Joyce.’

Another rush of blood.  Good grief!  What the hell was going on?

‘I fiddled with his Spear and Jackson.’

‘Joyce!  Oh god, Joyce!’

Something else was pumping now, right through his brain.  He had no idea what it was, but it left him with a strange sort of feeling, the sort of feeling that washed over him every time he looked at the spades in B&Q.  Oh good lord.  His wife’s dirty talk was turning into a madman.  It was turning him on.

‘I ran my fingers round his barrel.  Right round the rim.’


He was hardly aware of what happened next.  In flash, he’d ripped off his shirt, tugged down his trousers and stumbled out of his best Marks and Spencers underpants.  Glancing down at his John Thomas, his mouth fell open in awe.  Good god!  How on earth had that happened?  It was the size of a prize-winning courgette!  It was out of control.  And he was out of control too, every last bit of him.  Possessed by a myriad of sensations, he hurled himself onto the bed and nuzzled his face into the mounds of blancmange.

‘Long dead,’ he murmured.  ‘I thought this was long dead.’

‘Tell me I’m a bad girl,’ Joyce breathed.

‘You’re a bad girl,’ he breathed back, stunned at the words that were pouring out of his mouth.  ‘A very bad girl.’

‘And what are you going to do about it, Trevor?’

‘I’m going to handcuff you to the bed, Joyce.’  He took a moment to check the solid pine slats of the headboard.  She’d made him drive sixty miles to the nearest IKEA to get the bloody thing.  It had taken an age to put together.

‘I hope we don’t scratch it up,’ he muttered.

‘Oh don’t worry about that.  Tell me what you’re going to do next.’

She lifted the spatula from the bed covers, and waved it about.

‘I’m going to spank you.’

‘And then what?’

‘I’m going to …’

‘Say it, Trevor.  Say it.’

‘Oh god, Joyce, I’m going to fuck you … hard.’

As he trailed his fingers across her thighs, he sent out a silent thank you to the good wives of the Allotment Society, and their reading circle … and that bloody book.

The Gift

This was written for the second round of the competition.  I was given Fantasy as the genre this time.  Knowing very little about Fantasy, I just had to be silly!

Losing my footing, I tumble through the Gateway of the Sanctum.  A pair of strong hands wrap themselves around my arms and pull me to my feet.

‘Careful.’  A rich voice resonates through my ears.

Straightening up, I gaze into a pair of deep, hazel eyes and gasp.  My god, they’re intense.

‘I’m sorry, Greymalkin,’ I murmur, sensing a strange fluttering between my thighs.  I’ve heard of his powerful beauty, but never really understood the true extent of it … not until now.

Shaking his head, he releases me from his grasp and turns away.  As he makes his way across to the window, I watch in awe, taking in the power of his bulky, masculine form – all four feet of it.  He stands with his back to me, his stocky arms folded, gazing out over the towers of Sittle.

‘Join me, Fallacia.’

Taking my place at his side, I look out over the citadel.  It gleams against the darkening sky.  Here and there, a dragon flits between the rooftops.  Somewhere out there is my home, a modest house where I’ve lived a normal life, looking after my mother by night and attending the School of Mystical Skills by day.  Only an hour ago, I was plucked out of that normality and brought here, carried on the back of a sleek, black, top-of-the-range dragon to Christos Greymalkin’s personal dragon-pad on the roof.  I take in a shaky breath.  What on earth can he want with me?  I’m a nobody.

He turns to me.  His dark eyes flash with promise.  ‘As you know, we have a war coming,’ he states, watching me carefully.

I lower my eyelids.  ‘Yes, Greymalkin.’

He sighs.  ‘The Vanillish are rising in the East.  The agents of Normality are on the move.  We are amassing our own armies as we speak, but we are few.  We lost most of our Floggers in the last war.  I’m afraid that the Gimpish will be defeated.  This beautiful city of Sittle will be lost.  We will lose our cherished way of life.’

‘But you have control, sir.’

‘Oh I do, Fallacia.’  His eyes darken.  ‘I exercise control in every part of my life.’

‘So, why do you need me?’

‘All will become clear.’  He stares at me for an eternity.  A spark of heat ignites at my core.  I squeeze my legs together.   ‘Did you like that spell book I sent you?’ he asks at last, raising an eyebrow.

I suck in a sharp breath.  The leather-bound, first edition of Thomas Hardwinkle’s Toss, delivered to my door by an owl.  A mysterious gift from a secret benefactor.

‘That was you?’

He nods.  ‘I’ve been watching your progress for a while now.  I sent you Hardwinkle’s Toss as a test.  If my suspicions were correct, then you would use it appropriately.  And you did.  You cast the spell of Badonga.  It called to me.’

‘I didn’t think …’

‘Only one person can cast that spell, Fallacia.’  He pauses.  ‘And you did it.’


‘Yes!  You!  You have no idea what you do to me.’

‘No, sir.’

‘Do you see my long staff?’

He motions towards his magical length.

‘It doubled in girth, even as you approached my sanctum.  The Balls of Wonder began to thrum.’

‘I don’t understand.’

‘Then I will enlighten you.’  He lowers himself onto a chair.  ‘I wanted to meet you, Fallacia, because I have a mission for you.’

A mission?  For me?  I gaze into the brooding mystery of his eyes, my brain flooding with possibilities.  All I know is that I’ve been summoned to the plush inner sanctum of the most powerful Master alive, a Master who rarely engages with the underlings.  I still can’t work out why he’s showing an interest in me.

‘I’d do anything for you, sir.’  Overcome by his beauty, that’s all I manage to mutter.

His lips curl up into a smile.

‘I’ve been watching you.  You’ve done well in your training.  I understand that you are a Grade A Naïve.’

‘Thank you.’

I gaze in admiration at his physical beauty: his firm thighs, clad in a pair of tight, purple leggings; the rigid chest hidden behind a green, felt doublet.  I’m overcome by lust.  If only I could rip of that doublet and get my hands on his obviously ripped, yet diminutive form.

‘It has come to my attention that you have a special gift.’


‘Yes, you.’  He points a stubby finger at me.  His eyes are hooded now and my breath hitches.  He must be mistaken.

I’ve not yet graduated from the School of Mystical Skills.  I’m not yet worthy of the name of my people.

‘You were born with this gift, Fallacia.  You are all powerful, but you do not know this yet.’

I can barely believe what I’m hearing.

‘With your gift, we will be able to conquer the agents of Normality.  With you by my side, my power is increased a thousand fold.  You are the one who is going to save the Gimpish, Fallacia.’

‘But how, sir?’

‘It’s simple.’  Pushing himself up from his chair, he strides towards me and runs a stunted finger down my cheek.  A spark of electricity throbs its way through my tiny, yet muscular body.  ‘Feel that, Fallacia?’ he grumbles.  ‘We must move quickly.  The time is right.  My long staff is primed for action.  But in order for me to defeat the Agents of Normality, you must take me to your Special Place.’

My heartbeat judders.  My Special Place.  Knowing that a Naïve must take only one person there in her life, I shake my head.  I can barely believe that Christos Greymalkin will be the one.

‘But you know what this means?’ I breathe.

‘Of course I do.’  Greymalkin’s face tightens.  ‘With your Special Place and my Long Staff, the Vanillish will be defeated, but at a price.’  He pauses, locking me in with his eyes.  ‘You will be mine.  Forever.’

25th August 1485

Having reached the third round of the competition, I was given Historical Fiction as the next genre.  I had to take it seriously this time.  I was beaten!

The friars had gone.  With their duties performed, they’d beaten a quiet retreat.  A guard had been set on the street outside.  The doors sealed.  Not a soul would enter or leave the chapel until the job was done.

‘We’ve made it too small.’  The smell of incense still hung in the air.  Sickly sweet, it cloyed at Simon’s nostrils.  He glanced up at the high windows.  The sun was low in the sky now.  The last, thin rays of light filtered through the stained glass and danced against the choir stalls.  Soon it would be dark.

‘Well, what are we to do without measurements?’  Walter threw up his hands.  ‘It’s too late now.’

Twisting the shaft of his spade between his fingers, Simon stared down into the hole.  Just like Walter, he’d always prided himself on a good job, whatever he’d been set to do around the friary, but this had been next to impossible.  Only last night, they’d been summoned by the friars, ordered to prise away the tiles of the choir floor and dig a grave by candlelight.  At the time, they’d had no idea who they’d been digging it for.  But now they knew alright.

‘This doesn’t seem respectful,’ Simon whispered.

‘Why not?’

‘Shouldn’t the friars stay with him?’

‘The friars have done their job, lad.  They’ve muttered all their nonsense and made sure he’s gone to heaven.  It’s our turn now.’

Deep in thought and clutching at his own spade, Walter eyed up the white linen shroud that had been draped over the top of the body.  When the friars had brought it in, it had been pristine.  But now, after the brief ceremony, it was smothered in mud.

‘What are you thinking?’ Simon asked.

‘I’m thinking I could make use of that cloth.’

‘You can’t take it,’ Simon hissed, glancing at the doors.

‘Why not?’

‘Because …’ he faltered.  ‘Because … it’s desecration.’

‘Desecration, my arse.  Who’s going to notice once we’ve shoveled all the muck back in?  I’m taking it.  I can hide it down my trousers.  Besides, don’t you want to see him for yourself?’

Simon shook his head.  ‘If I’d wanted to see him for myself, I would have gone to the Newarke along with the rest of town.’

‘And I would have gone to the Newarke too,’ Walter laughed, ‘if only I’d been able to stand.’

Simon gritted his teeth, swallowing back the urge to remind Walter that there’d been no need for it all.  The man was dead and that was a fact.  Putting his naked body on display for all to see had been nothing but a cruel and grisly show.

‘And that’s why I want to see him now.’  Walter hiccoughed.  Wobbling slightly, he let go of his shovel, leaving it to crash to the floor.

‘For God’s sake, Walter!’  For a second time, Simon glanced towards the doors.  The guards must have heard that.  ‘You’re pissed again.’

‘Of course I am,’ Walter grunted, lowering himself unsteadily into the hole and placing his feet to either side of the corpse’s legs.  ‘How the fuck else am I supposed to get through life?’  He looked back up at Simon, his reddened features highlighted by a shaft of sunlight, his eyes sly with alcohol.  ‘Come on, lad.  Let’s have a little look.  Just you and me.  No one will ever know.’

‘God will know, Walter, and God will not forgive us.’

Walter sneered.  ‘God has no time for people like us.  God’s looking the other way.’  Bending over, he took hold of the sheet.

‘Leave it, Walter!’

‘Just a quick look.’

Before Simon could protest again, the sheet had been tugged back, the head revealed.  Topped with a mess of fair hair that was matted with blood, the scalp chopped clean away in places, it was twisted to the left, the chin resting awkwardly against a shoulder.  Suddenly curious, Simon leaned forwards, noting the grey skin, a bruise on the forehead, a cut across the right jaw, another on the right cheek.  The eyes were closed now, the lips parted slightly, as if they were about to speak.

‘He’s taken a fair old battering to his bonce.’

‘Put the sheet back, Walter.  I hear footsteps.’

The two men waited for a moment.  The footsteps came from the main road.  Just passers-by.  Almost as soon as they came into earshot, they faded again.  With a shrug, Walter pulled the shroud away from the body and propped himself up against the side of the grave.

‘So, there you are, young man.  A King in all his glory.’

‘Cover him up.  This isn’t right.’

Simon willed his eyes to look away, but they were having none of it.  Instead, enthralled by the sight of a man who’d ruled a country, they rested on the naked form of King Richard.  Curled up in the hole with his delicate hands resting against his crotch, he looked for all the world as if he were asleep.

‘There are no marks on his body,’ Simon gasped.

‘He was wearing armour, lad.’  Walter gestured towards the top end of the grave.  ‘It’s the head wounds that killed him.  It was a brutal battle by all accounts.  But then again, what battle isn’t?’

Simon shook his head, closed his eyes for a second or two.  So far, he’d tried not to think about what might have happened at Bosworth.  Recruited at the last minute by Richard’s army, his two older brothers had gone out to fight.  And neither of them had returned.  Not yet.  Perhaps they never would.

‘He has a woman’s hands,’ Walter remarked.  ‘And look at his shoulders.  One’s higher than the other.’

‘Can’t we straighten him out a bit?’

‘Why would we do that?  He’s twisted in death, just as he was in life.  The man was a bastard.’

‘The man was a King.’

‘So what?’  Walter gave the right leg a little kick.  ‘There you go, you piece of shit.  You deserve that.’

‘Stop it, Walter.’

‘Why?’  The old man stumbled a little, pointed at the body.  ‘He was just a man.  He pissed out of his dick.’  He jabbed his toecap against the dead king’s hands, shoving them to one side, revealing a limp penis.  Grinning back up at Simon, he raised an eyebrow.   ‘And he crapped out of his arse too, just like you and me.’

‘Don’t talk like that, Walter.  He was chosen by God to rule us.’

Walter tutted.  ‘He took hold of the throne by stealth and force, lad.  God did not decide that.  And now Henry’s done the same.  I know their type.  Selfish.  Hungry for power and riches.  They don’t care who they tread on to get what they want.  And if you think God chose them, then you’re much mistaken.’

‘Put his hands back.’

At last, with a huff, Walter nudged the hands back into position.

‘Have some respect, Walter.’

‘I have no respect for Kings.’

‘Then have respect for a human being.  He was a father, like you.  He lost a child.’

Simon examined the dead King’s face.  All the years of worry and pain and violence seemed to have been etched into the skin.  Had those eyes ever shed a tear, he wondered.  Surely, they had.  Stories had abounded.  After their son’s death, Richard and his wife had closed themselves away to mourn.  And then he’d lost her too …

‘We all know misery,’ Walter murmured.  ‘Feel no sympathy for this creature.  Haven’t you heard the rumours?’

‘Of course I have.’

‘He had no morals.’

‘And what are morals to you?  You chuck your money away in the alehouse while your children starve.’

‘What of it?’  Walter waved a hand dismissively.  ‘I never asked for the brats.’

‘You beat your wife.’

‘You shut your mouth, lad, if you know what’s good for you.’  He pointed a finger in warning.  ‘Women are made for two reasons in life.  One is to take a cock and the other is to take a fist.  You’ll learn that soon enough.’

‘Richard was a better man than you.’

‘He was a tyrant.’  Walter gave the leg another kick.

‘And I’ve heard different.  Stop it, Walter!’

‘Why?  Because he was a King?  Why do you defend this man?  If it weren’t for him, your brothers would still be here.’

Simon tightened the grip on his spade.  ‘They’ll be home soon.’

Walter began to laugh.  ‘No they won’t.  They’re lying in a heap at Bosworth field … because of your precious Richard.’

‘If they’re dead, it’s because of Henry.  It’s because of traitors.’

‘And if they’re dead, how do you think your brothers will be buried?  Eh?  With respect and dignity?’  Walter hiccoughed again and swayed slightly.  ‘No,’ he went on, waving his hand about.  ‘They’ll be buried in a ditch … if they’re lucky.  Forgotten.  So tell me something, why does this bastard deserve any more than that?’

‘Because he was a King.’

‘No matter, lad.  Your brothers are owed as much respect as his kind.  What difference does it make whether you’re a king or a peasant?’

Walter fell silent.  From somewhere up above in the rafters, a bird chirped.  The two men gazed down into the hole.

‘If I could see to it, I’d give my brothers what they deserve,’ Simon whispered, his words almost lost in the darkening air.  He wanted to go home now, to comfort his mother and his sisters.  ‘Let’s cover him up, Walter.  Please.’

With a nod, Walter hauled himself back out of the grave and tossed the shroud to the floor.

‘There’s talk of a tombstone,’ Simon muttered.  ‘I heard the friars.  It’s King Henry’s wish.’

‘Then he’s a fool.  It’s best for this man to be forgotten, just like your brothers.’  Walter picked up his spade.  ‘And he will be forgotten too, you mark my words.’

With slow, rhythmic movements, Walter scraped up the mud, scattering it across the dead King’s flesh.  And while he worked, he whistled tunelessly, oblivious to the fact that Simon hadn’t moved.  Instead, with a silent prayer on his lips, the young man watched as the dirt piled up against the body, as the last remnants of skin and life and humanity, and all the good deeds and the bad, disappeared forever beneath the filth.