Silence Yawning and empty. I wiped my hands as I walked from the grave. Through the tufts of grass sodden and wet.
The sky looked flat and heavy as if at any moment the rain would start again, but it didn't. It just hung overhead, limp like an old bedsheet that has been boiled too many times. It was cold, a creeping misery that stung my hands and face as I moved on through the mossy tombstones.
Something darted from a thicket of yew trees, a young rabbit, skinny and nervous. Like me it didn't want to stay around. No living thing thing with a breath of life left in it would linger. As I reached the path I heard a cry, a pheasant on the other side of church yard wall perhaps. Then blissful silence again.
I wiped my boots and it occurred to me that I wasn't completely alone. Looking toward the church I saw a wisp of fog hanging in the air. Beyond it a figure dressed in green who stared mournfully at me as her mouth moved up and down, no sound coming out.
My sister Felicity some eight years older had been a great beauty in her day. She had been set to make a good match but love disappointed her. She ended up a spinster, and a bitter argumentative old nag. A shrew who kept house for me and made my life a misery. We had argued our way into old age.
She was dead, I knew she was, because I killed her to shut her up. Just a tiny push down the rectory stairs and it was all over. I had just returned from putting flowers on her grave, yellow ones because I knew she hated yellow and it would serve her right.
I moved away but the fog and the figure followed, a little closer every time I looked. I went in and closed the front door on her but it did no good. She had all eternity to wait for me, after all I was the vicar and she was buried in my church yard so there was no escape. She would be there every time I left the house.
That thin mouth moved silently up and down still with no sound, but I heard the message clear enough! I had finally got the silence I had longed for but not the peace.
Dear Felicity had lost the battle but she was going to win the war!