Basia J Wolf



March 2016


There are two kinds of crying we do for the dead. There are the tears of loneliness when a sudden memory reminds us our dead are never coming home again. And then there is the crying we do in the oppressive hours of darkness and it is the sound the soul makes when it is bereft and broken and empty.

Grief is a predatory bird riding your smooth high calmness, far from the surface you show the world. It strikes you when you’re not looking, usually when you think you’re doing good. Grief is a stalking entity; it circles and it waits and it watches so that it may strike with precision, without warning, without mercy. Once it has you, you might as well be dead.


Punch to the heart revisited

“I only smoked because he offered me a cigarette. It wasn’t all that bad, I thought I’d choke my lungs up but I didn’t. I never did anything until I met him. Never drank alcohol, never took drugs. Never saw anyone die.”

“Did you see him kill Shayna?”

Gracie stared at the ground. “No.”

Karen’s throat constricted. “I need to ask you something,” she looked at Gracie, “about Shayna. How was she? Was she scared? Did she say anything?”

“If she was scared she didn’t show it. It was me who was scared because I knew what was coming, my hands were shaking so bad. She told me not to be afraid. I know she wanted me to help her but I couldn’t. He has a lot of weapons, Detective, and he’s so strong. He had a gun to my head to show her. She told me to do what I had to do to stay alive.”

It took immense effort, but Karen fought back her emotions. “That sounds like my girl Shay,” she tried to make a smile happen, “ice cold.”

Gracie jerked her head round. “Weird, that’s what she said too, ice cold.”

“Did she say anything else?”

Karen knew she was losing the battle with her emotions, tears stung behind her eyes, her voice thickened with every word, strained under the crushing weight of grief she had yet to release. She willed herself to pull it together, “Gracie, what did she say?”

Gracie kicked at a stone. “She said that there is no word for goodbye in Navajo.”

Do you feel lucky today?

He lay on top the the flat rock, the rifle on its bipod. He lay for over an hour looking down the scope, a quarter balanced on the barrel. It didn’t move, not even once. Stillness in his lungs, stillness in his body. Breathe in, breathe out. Slow everything down, breath, heart rate, time. At some point he entered the zone where he and his gun had become one, that what he saw through the immense magnification of the scope, was an extension of his own eye.

Movement caught his eye, a car maybe half a mile away. He dialed clicks into the elevation drum of his scope. A lone driver in a beat up old blue Chevy. His finger hovered over the trigger, the guy’s head in the cross hairs. He let him pass. Life and death was in his hands, he was god like. All seeing, all powerful.



image by Harold “Doc” Edgerton

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: