Draft excerpt from my short-story "The Enduring" ...
With winter nearing, Elijah occupied himself with the woodpile, often supplied by Malcolm, easily handling the maul, sing-songing a string of thoughts while splitting logs.
“Chop, chop, the chopping block. Mock me, sucker, I’ll knock your clock. No way, no way, you’ll get away. Chop, chop, the chopping block.”
He’d also unchain the dogs and daily walk with them in the woods, feeling like he set them free, himself free, feeling connected to something along the trails and long-abandoned logging roads that would settle him.
“Free, free, run for the sun. Dogs are gunning it on the hunt. This way, that way, anyway now. Free, free run for the sun.”
It wasn't entirely unexpected, a day in that looming winter that etched itself in Malcolm's mind as another defining moment in his life. It had a particular eerie vibration that chilled him, that he could feel sweeping across an ancient upcropping of tree-covered bluestone shale like a wild spirit in the wind. Still it seemed sudden, the sisters sensing it too, electric. They looked up at the sky, low dark gray clouds moving much more swiftly than the gray masses above them. Heralds of foreboding.
Both the sisters and Malcolm heard the vehicle coming up Claw Valley Pike, the tires in the loose gravel and dirt, coming from the direction of the Pennsylvania border. ...