Laid out on a cold table

Content that her plan was a good one, Anna gathered the lower portions of her skirt (it wouldn't do to get a Sunday dress full of moss and dirt) and settled down on the stump.

The stump was actually quite comfortable. It was almost cathartic to sit upon the very thing that was causing her frustration almost moments ago. Anna closed her eyes and listened the the sound of the wind rustling through the trees, carrying with the the faint scent of the ocean just a few miles away.

Anna waited, certain that at any moment she would hear her mother's voice calling her name or the laughter of the smaller children that would use these woods as a "fortress" when they played their silly imaginary games. 

No worried motherly voice nor delighted cries of children ever came. There was only the wind, the trees, the path, and the stump.

Anna waited patiently, she was sure a good two hours had passed since she left the church with Mary. No doubt her mother had walked the entire length of the pathway from the house and was probably worried sick. 

While life in the village was fairly safe (the residents never locked their doors), it wasn't unknown for tragedy to strike from time to time. Last year a young boy, James, had gone missing and had last been seen playing alone on the shoreline, A fisherman found his remains a few days later, bloated, bruised, and tangled in the rope of a lobster-trap. 

A doctor had been visiting the village (to administer the booster shots) when they discovered the boy. Anna had been volunteering at the clinic when several men from the village delivered the corpse to get an expert opinion from the doctor. She had been asked to leave, but Anna insisted she stay, she was going to be a nurse after all and would probably see much worst.

The doctor gave the body a quick examination before declaring that the lad had probably slipped on a rock, knocked himself unconscious, and had drowned when the tide had come in. 

Anna could still see poor James, a boy she had gone to school with, laid out cold on the table. She could still see the doctor with his gloves and his mask touch various parts of the body, twisting, turning, and examining in a clinical fashion. 

Would that happen to her? Would she not be found in time? Would she end up some lifeless corpse on a table being poked and prodded by a stranger? 

The sound of a tea-kettle whisked her back to reality. 

The End

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