It was always the summertime when I was a child,
Even during February, because it was summer in my head.
Spring was Earth lowering the mask of winter and laughing.
I have assembled you here in this, the dining car, because I am now ready to reveal the identity of Colonel Rumsworthy's killer.
It was not — as many, including Detective Sergeant Mewler here, have suggested — the beautiful Penelope Jule, star of stage and screen: she was otherwise occupied in the Bundermans' compartment seducing Mr. Bunderman… and his wife. Nor could it have been the Rector as he is left-handed and therefore completely incompetent. Even the locomotive's coalman has been ruled out, as he would have left a far greater, sootier mess.
It was I. I am the killer.
I've been doomed for so long now that I don't remember what grace felt like. For you it was quick; for you it must have seemed like an end. In moments of terrible despair I wish our lots reversed, but then I am ashamed by my weakness, and the shame drives me onwards.
The few square feet of ground where you belong, where you should be resting, it eludes me. Sometimes I dream of it lifting itself up, grass and all, and moving across the landscape because I've brought you too close, because you're almost there, and re-planting itself in some far away spot. Sometimes I dream that — like us — it never stops moving, always avoiding the tip of my spade like a soldier dodges the spear-point.
It's only a dream, a nightmare: your intended earth remains undisturbed, waiting for me to find it. It's just a question of time.
They ambled with no urgency up the hillside, at the rear of the procession, already in the shadow of the great stone statue. "Is he a God or a King?"
His mother answered, "A God and a King."
"Was he always both? Which one was he first?"
"You're full of questions! He was a King first, I think, and then later a God; that's what I think, anyway. I'm sure the priests would answer the other way around."
"When did he become a statue?"
She laughed, squeezed his hand. "A very long time ago, darling. And he's not changing back."
It used to be — in my mother's time — that the forest surrounded the towns and villages of men, and that the world was mostly ours even by day; now, we huddle in ever-shrinking woods, choked from all sides by concrete and asphalt and glass, and often must hide even at night. They blunder in to piss and hunt and hide their bags of pornographic magazines and their murdered bodies.
I wish there was something to be done about it all.
My mother laughs at me. This will pass; they can't last much longer at this rate. Soon now, dear, soon.