L’ Esprit d’ Esacallier: Part Five.

by | Nov 26, 2023 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

She pointed to the shabby flat-pack cupboard in the corner

The crowd dispersed, returning to their respective apartments. Lucien turned to the woman who remained in the room.

“I must apologise for Raymond’s outburst; he is unwell and doesn’t really know any better. I know it’s not an excuse,” he said to Caaisho, placing his hand on her ample forearm. He noticed the crease between her arm and hand which gave the impression they didn’t belong together. It was glistening with sweat.

“I detest that man, what does he have against us? Does he know what we have been through?” She turned to her late husband and wrung her hands in grief. As she tilted her head, and her face creased with pain, she seemed to step from the world of hysterics to that of anguish. The sound of her pitiful crying bit into Lucien’s consciousness. Suddenly another thought overcame him: the children.

“Where are the twins?” He asked, patting her arm. He watched the wave of fat ripple up forearm and couldn’t help thinking that she would be next. Lack of exercise and living on a diet totally alien to that of her home country, combined with constant stress of living in poverty; these were killers individually. Together they were the trilogy of death.

“At a sleepover with my cousin. Oh my God the girls! What am I to tell them, Lucien?” Her frenzy stepped up a level.

“What about Ousmane and Mari? Work?” He felt as if he was hammering nails into her coffin with every question, however necessary.

“Yes, yes. They won’t be back until evening, twelve hour shifts.” Each individual word came out as a sob from her trembling lips.

“Caaisho, shall I cover him? It would be more dignified but it’s up to you.” The doctor’s words were met by short sharp nods from the woman as she dragged her hand down her face, in a typical mournful fashion. She pointed to the shabby flat-pack cupboard in the corner of the sparsely furnished room.

Lucien took a grey sheet that had once been white, from the cupboard and draped it over the prone corpse. The sheet seemed to emphasise his huge bulk and he immediately returned to the practicalities of the situation.

“If you excuse me I will make a phone call.” He got up and walked out into the landing. The space was eerily quiet after the commotion of a few minutes earlier. The residents had all returned to the sanctuary of their own little worlds. He selected a number on the screen, pressed send and waited.

“Hello Bernard, it’s Lucien. I have one for you; it’s big I’m afraid, and the third floor too. Probably been gone for about four to six hours. Could we move fast with it?” There was a pause on the other line Lucien waited.

“Yes. How much? That’s fine, just charge my account.” The final words took another chunk out of his dwindling retirement fund. Reunion Island was looking even further away.

“Two hours? That’s great. I’ll be in the surgery; the paperwork will be waiting for you. Thank you Bernard.” Lucien hung up and returned to the unfortunate apartment. He checked the time on the phone. One hour since the alarm sounded. It felt like a day. This was going to be a long one.

“Come on, Caaisho. Let’s get you sorted. I have made arrangements for Cheik. He will be well looked after and we have much to do if you’re to give him a good send off.” He knelt down near the woman and put his arm around her shoulder.

“Will you stay with me, Lucien? I don’t want to be alone with him. This is a mess. His spirit will be so confused.” Caaisho turned to him, her eyes, large and white, pleading.

“Of course. Would you like a drink? Is it tea or coffee? I don’t know what your preference is.” Lucien’s question masked the dread of the day ahead. Even the punishing routine of a normal day had been pushed out of his reach. He sighed inwardly and decided to go with the flow. Like a man clinging to a tree trunk in a flood.

1 Comment

  1. Ken Childs

    Is this the start of your first novel Brian. Could be a collection of your short stories.

    Reply

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