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With the Strength of her Conviction (sample) Marcel Admiraal Beneath Dark Waters

With the Strength of her Conviction (sample) With the high-pitched scraping dragging behind her, she reached the door and opened it to the backyard and stood for a moment in the freezing autumn air and the ghostly blue moonlight bouncing off her white, wrinkled face and reflected in her cold, faded eyes. She opened her arms to the familiar cold that she had lived with all her life and that she knew so well. She welcomed the slight eastern breeze that cut through her clothes and her skin and her bones like a well-sharpened knife. She smelled the trees around her and the frost in the air. Oh yes, it would be cold tonight and tomorrow it would have ice on the canals and frost on the naked branches and the empty fields. When she stepped on the lawn, she already could hear the fragile cracking of the leaves of grass. She let the door of the shed fall shut behind her and shuffled forth. In the middle of the grass, in the centre of the moonlight, she stopped, grabbed the handle with her two skinny hands and closed her eyes for a second. “Good Lord,” Betty muttered, “give me strength to do this. Sweet Robert, please show me again how to do this.” Behind her old eyelids, she saw her husband, much younger, working and she tried to copy his movements. “Don't try to lift it,” he seemed to say. “You won't be able to. Swing it behind you, over your head, wait for gravity to grab it and then simply let it drop. Squeeze the handle. Feel it going up and then, simply, let it fall.” She tried and failed and tried again and after the fourth or fifth frustrating time, she took a deep breath and with the strength of ages, she got it. At first, it was a little scary and unfamiliar, but after a few tries she was able to swing the axe high above her head and let it drop with deadly precision. Full story available from Floating Robes as the 1st of March.

With the Strength of her Conviction sample