A Scatter of Bones

This is my latest story available on Amazon Kindle (link to the right)

Here’s a brief look at the beginning:

A scatter of bones surprised Stephen as he reached the crest of the small hill. He was supposed to be out hunting with his brothers but so far all they’d scared up was one magpie and a lot of mud. Ma had sent them out. Once too often she’d found the stash of food Stephen kept under his bed and she’d said – not unkindly – that maybe they could stand to have another side of venison in the smoke house. As though it was fear of scarcity that made him hide away biscuits and cheese and root vegetables.

He wanted to get closer to the bones but they were scattered out a few feet down the steeper side of the hill and he thought if he went down there he might not make it back up. They hadn’t walked far from the farm, less than half a mile, but it was far enough to leave him breathless.

Halfway from the farm to this spot, his hunting rifle had gotten too heavy to carry and he had to give it to Andy. If he hadn’t been so out of breath he might’ve laughed to see Marshall splitting his worry between him pushing himself too hard and a nine year old being put in charge of a rifle for the first time in his life.

Even now, Marshall’s voice followed him up the hill, scolding him.

“Stephen you sit and rest while me and Andy follow up these tracks. I can’t take you back to Ma more wore out than I brought you.”

Stephen ignored Marshall’s charge and moved a little to one side to get a better look at the remains. He’d seen enough skeletons abandoned on battlefields or rising their way up out of shallow hasty graves to know they were human. He could tell more than a few were missing, dragged off by scavengers probably, or pulled down the hill by melting snow. The rest lay stretched out before him, one skeletal hand reaching out as though expecting someone.


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