Pretty Susie and Sweet William (A Short Story in Three Parts)

[size=150]Pretty Susie and Sweet William[/size]
(A homage to the Scottish, English and Appalachian folktales/ballads “The Twa Brothers”, “The Rolling of the Stones”, “The Unquiet Grave”, and “Sweet William’s Ghost” set somewhere in present-day Appalachia.)

Part One: The Twa Brothers Rolling the Stones

[color=white]___If I get caught, I’ll be in a world of trouble, Susie thought as she was grabbing two of the posts of the wrought iron gate that separated the realm of the dead from the world of the living. After heaving her body up to climb over the posts’ pointy railheads, she looked nervously about. Before her lay Greenwood Cemetery in the peaceful quiet that only the night can afford. Gravestones, angels, and the spire of the great mausoleum were shining stone gray in the light of the moon. Not a living soul was to be seen. Good, the watchman isn’t around . . . Relieved, Susie jumped off the gate, careful not to step on a grave and thus damage someone’s final resting place.
[color=white]___The moon was just right: full and big and as shimmering as a silver quarter, she illuminated the cemetery as if in honor of the first anniversary of William’s death.
[color=white]___William . . .
[color=white]___Susie’s throat tightened at the thought of him. Tears rose to her eyes. They had been so happy together, had already been planning their wedding when suddenly the accident happened. How many times had she complained to William’s mother, begging her to make them stop playing their childish game, him and his brother, John! “They won’t listen to me,” Susie had cried.
[color=white]___“Oh, boys will be boys,” William’s mother had replied. And that was that.
[color=white]___Yeah, one of the boys is dead now! My sweet William! Stupid, stupid, stupid! Susie tried hard to keep herself from kicking at a nearby gravestone. She wiped the tears off her face angrily. Why did they always have to wrestle, anyway?
[color=white]___On that faithful evening, they had celebrated Susie’s twenty-first birthday. All of her family and friends had been invited–and the family of her betrothed. Mother had prepared a banquet for the occasion and Father had insisted on hiring a band for live music: this was not just their daughter’s birthday, after all, but her coming of age. William’s parents had brought shortbread and two barrels of Scotch; enough to make sure that everyone would have a good time.
[color=white]___That evening they feasted and sang and danced in the tradition of Susie’s Scottish ancestors. The men wore their kilts and staged competitions such as the caber toss where they would lift up and throw a huge pole made from a larch tree high enough so that it would flip around in the air, and the stone put where they would fling heavy stones and watch them rolling along the blue grass until they are “putted”. Then there was the bonniest knees contest. All the men formed a line and raised their kilts above the knees to the cheering and whistling of the women. Susie remembered being amused at the sight of all those hairy legs, though she wasn’t sure whether the bonniest knees contest was truly a Scottish tradition or just plain American fun.
[color=white]___One pair of legs stood out from the rest, for they were as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Guffawing, Father pointed at John’s knees, “I’ll be damned,” he yelled. “You shaved your legs!”
[color=white]___At that, men and women alike were hooting and whistling and clapping their hands louder than before. That ended the contest. They had a winner.
[color=white]___The guests closed around William’s brother to congratulate him. “So, tell us, John”, William teased, “where did you stop your shave?”
[color=white]___John grinned. “Below my neck!” he gave back and they all laughed.
[color=white]___The band started to play and the ball began. William asked Susie for a dance; they had just whirled round once or twice when John cut in. “My dear brother, I must object to your boisterous behavior,” he said with feigned resentment. He took Susie by the hand and smiled. “The winner with the bonniest knees gets the first dance.”
[color=white]___But William did not give in so easily. “You may have the bonniest knees,” he said, seizing Susie’s other hand, “but I have the bonniest girl!”
[color=white]___“Yeah, well, they didn’t have a bonniest girlfriend contest.” John tried to shove William aside; William pushed John away from Susie.
[color=white]___Annoyed, Susie yanked her hands from John’s as well as William’s. “Oh, no! Not again!” she growled. She knew they were just play fighting, yet somehow it made her feel uneasy every time they did it. “Knock it off!”
[color=white]___“Didn’t you hear her?” John mocked. “Better listen to your future wife or she’ll spank you!”
[color=white]___“Ha!” William charged him, slung his arm around John’s neck and pulled his head down toward the hip. John struggled against his brother’s grip and together they spun twice around with John trying desperately to get out of William’s headlock. They were chuckling and gasping as they fell to the ground; there they wallowed about, throwing punches at each other.
[color=white]___Susie rolled her eyes and strode to a table. Leave them to their game, she thought. Boys will be boys. She poured herself a glass of Scotch, knowing full well that she was sulking. Yet, she couldn’t help it. There comes a time when a boy needs to grow up, she was certain. When will a boy become a man? If not shortly before his wedding day, when then? The Scotch burned in her throat and warmed her chest–and Susie felt herself relax. She gazed into the glass. There is a strange comfort to be found in that amber-colored liqueur. And finally, she was allowed to drink it. Oh, well. As long as the boys won’t pull out their knifes . . .
[color=white]___Suddenly she noticed that it had grown awfully quiet around her. The band had stopped playing and the cheerful chatter of the guests had fallen silent. When Susie turned to find out what was going on, she saw that nobody was dancing any longer. Everyone was standing stone-still, all eyes fixed on the same spot near the dance floor. An ominous feeling overwhelmed her. Swallowing hard, she pushed herself past some of the onlookers until she could get a good view of what everybody was gaping at. There, to her feet, lay William, his face contorted, his body writhing in pain. He was holding his side with both hands; a bright red liquid was seeping through his fingers. His mother was kneeling beside him, tears streaming down her cheeks.
[color=white]___“William!” Susie shrieked. Her knees caved in and she found herself on all fours next to her beloved. “William! What on earth . . ?” Cold with terror, she looked from William to his mother, then back to William. “Call an ambulance!” She screamed. “Somebody call an ambulance!”
[color=white]___“We already did,” she heard a male voice say; she vaguely recognized it as her father’s. “The medics are on their way, sweetheart.”
[color=white]___William groaned. “I won’t make it. I . . . won’t . . . make it.”
[color=white]___“Yes, you will!” Susie assured him. She wrapped her arms around his head and brushed his cheek with her lips. “You will. Just hang on. Hang on.”
[color=white]___“Where is Dadaidh?” William breathed. “Where . . . is he?”
[color=white]___“He left to get more shortbread,” William’s mother sobbed. “He’ll be back very soon, darling.”
[color=white]___“Tell him . . . tell him to bury me in . . . in Greenwood.”
[color=white]___Bury? Susie shuddered at the thought of her William being gone forever, rotting away in a coffin deep beneath the earth. “You’re not going to die, Will. You’re not going to die.”
[color=white]___William raised his eyes to look at her. “I love you, Sue,” he said. “Don’t . . . ever . . . forget that.” Then his glance moved away from her, toward his brother.
[color=white]___John had been standing a foot away from them, as wan as a ghost. Whether he was staring at his brother or at the blood dripping from his knife, Susie could not tell; a few locks of his auburn hair were partially covering his face.
[color=white]___William reached for him, his hand smeared with blood. “Not . . . your . . . fault.”
[color=white]___His arm dropped like a stone to the ground.
[color=white]___“William?” Susie whispered. “William? Wake up!” She shook him by the shoulders. “You can’t sleep here! Wake up, wake up, c’mon!” Her voice was shrill now; her concern lapsed into anger. She had enough of his silly games. “Quit teasing me! Playing dead is not funny! It’s not funny!”
[color=white]___She could feel her mother’s gentle touch upon her back. “He’s not playing, love.”
[color=white]___But the truth of her mother’s claim only drove Susie into a rage. “You’re lying!” she yelled. “Why would you say such a thing? How can you be so cruel to me?” She jumped to her feet so hastily that it made her head swim. As she was regaining her balance, her attention shifted to John. All color faded from her sight until she saw nothing but dark shapes before her eyes, as if black wings were beating against her skull.
[color=white]___Somebody yelled, “Hold her or she’ll kill him!”
[color=white]___The wings were beating and beating and beating against the back of her eyeballs and she was screaming over and over again, “You son of a bitch! You murdered him! You murdered my William!” Black feathers were flying all about her–and she realized they were her fists.
[color=white]___John did not budge. He neither dodged her blows nor did he resist them. He simply stood there, swaying like a punching bag.
[color=white]___Susie’s knuckles were sore and wet with blood, yet the feathers kept dancing. The air became thick; she had difficulties drawing breath. Her chest grew tight and she gasped–but the air must have vanished. Susie believed herself in a vacuum . . . a fish out of the water, flapping helplessly on the ground.
[color=white]___“Quick, quick, give me her inhaler!” her father roared. “It’s her asthma. She’s having an attack!”
[color=white]___Countless faces were looming over her. Mother was searching Susie’s pockets for the inhaler while Father loosened Susie’s blouse and bent her upper body forward. “Calm down, girl,” he said, “breathe in and out, in and out . . .”
[color=white]___“Oh, thank goodness, the medics are coming!” Mother called.
[color=white]___The medics rushed to Susie. Not wasting any time, they forced an oxygen mask over her mouth and nose. “You’ll feel better in a moment,” one of them said.
[color=white]___Susie didn’t care. She struggled against them with all her might. No, no, help William! she wanted to shout. Help William! The guests were gawking at her, some holding their hands clasped to their mouth, struck dumb with horror. William’s mother was still on her knees, holding her son’s lifeless body to her chest and rocking back and forth with her eyes shut and her lips moving. A woman in a white jacket filled a syringe with cortisone and injected it into Susie’s vein. Help William, for crying out loud! Susie screamed in her head as the cortisone entered her bloodstream and the oxygen flowed into her lungs . . .

© Claudia G. Kukulka

*Dadaidh = Scottish Gaelic for Daddy

Part Two: Susie at the Unquiet Grave

[color=white]___Remembering that dreadful moment, Susie fumbled for her inhaler to make sure she hadn’t forgotten it at home. Tonight was the most important night of her life and her plan would be difficult to carry out as it is. She could not risk messing it up. The last thing she needed was an asthma attack. But before she could get into a panic, her fingers touched a small, round canister in the pocket of her jeans. Thank goodness, it’s there.
[color=white]___Susie hopped from one brink of a grave to the next until she arrived at the path that led to William’s final resting place. Rows and rows of gravestones were seaming the gravel walk on both sides. To Susie, they looked like an army of soldiers, standing in formation, dark and sinister and always on guard. Susie’s skin grew prickly with goose bumps. Heaving a sigh, she plucked up her last bit of courage and made for her true love’s site.
[color=white]___William’s grave was located north of the mausoleum right next to three large oak trees. His headstone bore the face of an angel, which was flanked by large wings. Beneath it, carved roses adorned the inscription. Susie knew William’s epitaph by heart for it was she who had composed it:

[color=white]_____Boys will be boys
[color=white]___But knives are no toys.

[color=white]___It doesn’t make a difference, she thought, not anymore.
[color=white]___Swiftly, she let her backpack slide from her shoulders and pulled out a wooden tablet covered with wax. Susie had made it herself, according to the instructions she had found in a book about divination. In the past year, she had trudged round every library, searching through book after book, article after article and document after document to learn as much as she could about the art of necromancy. And after all the reading and studying and memorizing of various techniques and verses, the simplest spell had attracted her the most.
[color=white]___She grabbed a twig and drew a large circle around her in the gravel before William’s grave to keep the unwanted forces out and the raised one in. Kneeling down in its midst, she first scratched William’s name, then one circle after another into the wax on her tablet while crooning,

"Circles within circles,
You traveled through them all.
Circles within circles,
Now wake from your sleep
And listen to my call:

Circles within circles,
Travel back and come to me.
Circles within circles,
I’m unraveling the knot,
I’m turning the key.

Circles within circles,
I’m opening the gate.
Circles within circles,
Slide through them and rise
To meet your new fate."

[color=white]___She looked up. William’s grave lay quietly before her. Nothing stirred. There was no sound, except for the hooting of an owl.
[color=white]___Susie furrowed her brow. Why is nothing happening? she wondered, her heart racing with fear. Did I make a mistake? She ripped the book from her backpack and skimmed through the pages until she found the manual for the construction of the tablet and the verses of the spell. She scrutinized the exact wording. No, she had done everything correctly. Whatever had gone wrong, it hadn’t been her fault. Although she had memorized alternative charms just in case the chosen one failed, she became increasingly anxious. What if none of the incantations worked? What if there was no such thing as an afterlife? But she refused to be disheartened. Not now, not yet. I’ll give it another try.
[color=white]___Susie laid the book aside. Her hands were shivering as she turned her attention back to the tablet and began to draw more circles into the wax. “Circles within circles . . .” She whispered the first verse. The words did not roll off her tongue as easily as they had the first time. Her mouth was dry and her stomach felt queasy. Yet, she kept humming and scribbling.
[color=white]___“Now wake from your sleep . . .” Susie closed her eyes in the hopes that William’s eyes would open. In her head, the black wings were beating: WHOOSH, WHOOSH–WHOOSH, WHOOSH, and she remembered the conniption she had suffered over William’s death one year ago. The strength of the wings was so mighty that Susie’s temples began to throb. “And listen to my call . . .” she went on. The bird in her mind darted upward, and slammed into her skull.
[color=white]___Wincing at the pain, Susie recited the second verse. “Travel back and come to me . . .” She took a deep breath but her airways seemed to have clogged up in her chest. With great effort, she pushed the air back out of her lungs, wheezing loudly as she exhaled. The shortness of breath frightened Susie. She did not want to ruin her incantation. Don’t stop charming, she urged herself. You can do it.
[color=white]___“I’m unraveling the knot . . .” she gasped. But the knot in her chest tightened even further. Her lungs were heaving up and down, up and down and her mouth was moving in and out and in and out . . . and Susie felt like a fish out of the water, flapping and flapping and flapping on the planks of a boat. Stay calm, she told herself. Keep breathing. You’re almost done. She opened her eyes. Scratching a rather misshapen circle onto the tablet, she murmured, “I’m turning the key . . .”
[color=white]___Susie couldn’t bear the constriction any longer. She needed to stop hyperventilating. Hastily, she reached inside her pocket and pulled out the inhaler. “Circles within circles . . .” she croaked, drawing three circles with her right hand while shaking the inhaler with her left. “I’m opening the gate . . .”
[color=white]___She closed her lips around the mouthpiece, pushed down on the canister and sucked the aerosol in. Holding her breath, she shook it again, then repeated the procedure. She exhaled until she had no more air in her lungs. Within a few moments, the tightness in her chest loosened and she began to breathe more easily. “Circles within circles . . .” she said, scribbling them down in a wild frenzy. “Slide through them and rise to meet your new fate.”
[color=white]___Susie looked up with a thrill of anticipation.
[color=white]___William’s grave did not stir. The soil was as flat and the flowers upon it as neat as they had been before the ritual. Susie listened closely. The owl was still hooting; other than that, everything was quiet. A slight breeze had gotten up and was now brushing through Susie’s dirty-blond hair. The air smelled of wet earth, similar to her mother’s garden after a rain.
[color=white]___A severe sense of emptiness and despair overtook her. Susie chewed her lip to keep herself from crying. Why didn’t it work? she wondered, swallowing hard. Did it fail because of my asthma attack? Her head was still pounding and her breathing difficult. Her heart heavy with disappointment, Susie climbed to her feet. But she did not want to give up. I must try another charm. The smell grew stronger and stronger. The scent of wet earth turned into a musty odor; it became so intense that Susie wrinkled her nose. Gosh, it stinks! she thought. What in hell is that? Blaming the cemetery gardener for having overwatered the graves, she decided to ignore the stench and choose a different spell. She was about to grab her backpack to take a second book out when she saw a dark figure in the corner of her eyes. Susie turned around and staggered a few steps backward, startled.
[color=white]___“William!” she shrieked.

© Claudia G. Kukulka

I just noticed that I accidentally wrote knifes instead of knives, even though I know it is supposed to be knives. Pah!

Oh, well. As long as the boys won’t pull out their knives . . .


Sweet William’s Ghost

[color=white]___He was wearing the same black suit he had been stabbed and buried in. His reddish-brown curls fell clean and neatly combed to his collar. To Susie’s amazement, William did not look deathly pale at all. On the contrary: his face had a healthy, rosy glow and his green-gray eyes were brimming with vigor. Only the puncture in his loin proved that he had indeed lost his life in a knife fight with his brother. A dark stain was slowly spreading across William’s white shirt, for his wound must have ripped open and was now bleeding through the cotton fabric. Susie was not sure whether William did not realize it or simply chose to ignore it. He was staring at Susie just as astonished as she was staring at him. After a moment of mutual scrutiny, he cocked his head. “Why are you surprised?” he asked. “Isn’t that what you were planning to do? To raise me from the dead?”
[color=white]___Susie stood rooted to the spot. “Yeah, I . . . I was,” she stammered, feeling dumb all of a sudden. Why was she so petrified? The whole year through she had prepared for this moment. Now that it had arrived and she found herself face to face with her darling, Susie couldn’t move, let alone speak or even think straight. All of her thoughts were whirling in her head.
[color=white]___William smirked. “So, what’s the problem?”
[color=white]___“No problem,” she said. But then it dawned on her why she was so perplexed in the first place. “Actually, there was a problem . . . I . . . I thought the spell doesn’t work,” she explained. “I tried it before and it failed, so I did it again and . . . and I thought . . . "
[color=white]___”. . . that it failed again," William finished for her. “I understand. Even when I was alive, it was not easy to wake me up. Remember what my [i]Mamaidh/i used to say?” He imitated his mother’s tone of voice, “A truck, nah, a whole convoy can drive right through his room, and he’d not as much as roll over in his bed!” Then he peered at the tablet under Susie’s arm. “Besides, it took me a while to travel through all those circles, you know?” He drew circles in the air with his index finger and gave Susie that impish grin she loved so much. “Sheesh! How many did you draw? It was quite a trip!”
[color=white]___Susie’s emotions went haywire; she was laughing and crying, both at the same time. “I imagine it was,” she said, wiping her nose on her sleeve for lack of a tissue.
[color=white]___William joined in her laughter. “No, you don’t,” he said, his broad shoulders shaking with amusement. “Not by a long shot.”
[color=white]___Susie was amazed at how lively he was for a dead man. Before she had charmed William out of his grave, she had been afraid he would be a mere shadow of his former self, a zombie-like creature with only his instinct to animate him. God knows how often she had come across such warnings in the books she had studied. ‘There is no guarantee that the deceased will be the same as he or she had been during his or her lifetime,’ she had read ad nauseam. ‘Use at your own risk.’ --She had, and she was glad of it. To Susie, William was as delightful as ever.
[color=white]___“Now tell me, my love,” he said, “why did you call me back to you and thus disturb my sleep?”
[color=white]___The question struck Susie as odd. Wasn’t he happy he was alive again? Life is too short, even for those who are lucky enough to grow old. And William had been so young when he was taken from this world–and from Susie. “But . . . but don’t you want to be with me?” she asked. “I’ve been missing you!” Her voice cracked and she cleared her throat. “I need you by my side.” She moved toward him and lifted her hand to touch his cheek, but William shrank back from her against the edge of the circle they were standing in.
[color=white]___“No!” he called. “Don’t! Please don’t!”
[color=white]___Susie’s blood froze in her veins. Her hand dropped to her thigh. “I don’t get it,” she sobbed. “Don’t you love me anymore?”
[color=white]___“Of course I do,” William breathed. “More than words can say.”
[color=white]___“Then why won’t you let me touch you?”
[color=white]___“Because I can’t.”
[color=white]___Susie was confused. After she had gone through all that trouble, giving her best to grant William a second chance to live his life up until old age, to marry her and raise a family, and to finally do what he had always dreamed of doing–after she had bestowed such a precious gift on him, William did not allow her to caress him? That just didn’t make any sense to her. “I want nothing more,” she pleaded, “than to wrap my arms around your neck and kiss your lily white lips–”
[color=white]___“And I want nothing more than to hug and kiss you back,” William interrupted. “But I can’t. What you’re seeing now is not real. When the church bell tolled the midnight hour, I’ve been gone for twelve months and a day. Don’t you know what time does to a corpse? If you could see my earthly body, you would not recognize it anymore. My lips are cold and hard as clay, for the worms and maggots have eaten my flesh away. My mouth is dry as dust and smells of decay. If you would kiss my bony lips, you would get sick, fall ill, and die.”
[color=white]___“Oh,” Susie sighed, “so that smell is coming from you then.”
[color=white]___“Yup!” William said–and didn’t seem to be the least bit embarrassed about it. “That’s me!”
[color=white]___“Well, I don’t care!” Susie blurted, hurt and desperate. In her eyes, she had nothing to lose; without William, nothing was fun, nothing mattered, and nothing was worth getting out of bed for. She only felt empty all the time, like an old bucket with a rusted-through bottom: porous, brittle and useless. “I would gladly give my life if it meant that we could be together for ever and ever. Oh, dear, don’t you understand? I can’t live without you!”
[color=white]___William glared at her. “Have you lost your mind?” he growled through his teeth. “Are you even aware of what you’re saying? Do you have any idea how much it hurts me to see you so eager to end your life? I mean, damn! You are ready to leave this world like that, hmm?” He snapped his fingers. “Just like that!”
[color=white]___William’s wave of anger crashed against Susie like an ocean against a cliff. Although it had come upon her unexpectedly and with a vengeance, she was determined to withstand its force. “Well, William,” she teased, “if looks could kill, I’d be dead now.”
[color=white]___“I’m sorry, but your grief makes me mad!” William said. “Of course you’re upset and I know you miss me, but you need to move on. You still have so much to live for, so much to look forward to. How dare you throw it all away! No, Susie, not for anyone, and certainly not for me!”
[color=white]___Susie shook her head vehemently. “You got it all wrong, Will. I don’t want to die so we can be together; I want you to live!”
[color=white]___“I’m dead,” William said. “Death comes after life, remember? There’s no turning them around. You might as well [i]go and fetch me a light from a dungeon deep or wring water from a stone./i My days are gone, Susie, and if you touch my clay-cold lips, your time will not be long.”(3)
[color=white]___“That’s not what it says in the books,” Susie murmured. Never in a million years had she expected William to turn her down. All the while she had searched for a good necromantic spell, she had felt certain that–should the incantation be successful–William would be grateful and exuberantly happy to be alive again. How could she have been so naive?
[color=white]___William snorted. “You shouldn’t read Stephen King so much. Although . . . Remember when that guy in Pet Sematary buried his son in that weird pet cemetery and the boy came back out there all evil and insane?” He moved his hands about his head, wriggling his fingers like a loony. “Shouldn’t that have been a warning to you?”
[color=white]___But Susie was in no mood to talk about a novel. “I don’t mean horror fiction.” She lowered her head and slouched her shoulders. William was right, she realized, and the truth of his words punched Susie right in the gut. She so wanted her plans to work out for a future with William; they could have done so many things together, could have had such a great time. All that had been taken from them, stolen by his brother, John. “It’s not fair!” she roared, flinging the tablet on the gravel. “It’s all John’s fault. He ruined everything! Damn him!” Her eyes filled with tears again.
[color=white]___“No, it’s not fair,” William said. “But John did not take my life on purpose. It was an accident, Susie, a stupid accident. If John could undo it all, he would.”
[color=white]___That was small comfort to Susie. “He should have known better.”
[color=white]___“So should I,” William replied, looking incredibly sad. “I messed it up. I’m sorry. If you need to blame someone, blame me. John has been agonizing over why he pulled his knife and how he could have killed me with it. I don’t think he will ever forgive himself–”
[color=white]___“I will never forgive him either!” Susie said defiantly. The mere thought of John was enough to infuriate her. The evening William died, she had developed a hatred for John that went beyond imagination. In her mind, it had not been John’s knife that had killed his brother; it had been his pride. That night, Susie was convinced, John couldn’t stand not getting the first dance with her, so he had to conjure up a fight. “Never!”
[color=white]___William took a few steps toward her, then stopped abruptly, as if afraid that he might come too close. “You should forgive him,” he said. “No, you must forgive him. If you truly love me, and I know that you do, you will forgive him.”
[color=white]___“Why should I?” Susie snapped.
[color=white]___“Because I love him and because he loves you.”
[color=white]___Susie crossed her arms and frowned. William was asking the impossible of her.
[color=white]___“Please,” William urged. “This is my last wish. Our betrothal is over, Susie. I’m dead. ‘Till death do us part’. Had we been married, this would have been it!”
[color=white]___Susie remained silent.
[color=white]___William gave a frustrated groan and ran his fingers through his hair. “Of course you can’t forgive John right away, but in time you will. Only then will he be able to get his life back together.”
[color=white]___John had been drinking, Susie remembered, and he had lost his job because of it. His mother had complained about that. Susie understood why William would want to see his brother doing well; they had always been extremely close. And Susie wanted William to be happy. Reluctantly, she gave in. “Your last wish, huh?” she said and rolled her eyes. “Oh, boy! I will need a lot of time.”
[color=white]___William smiled at her surrender. “Take all the time you need.”
[color=white]___Susie nodded. Stuffing the tablet and the books in her backpack, she said, “You know, Will, I don’t regret charming you out of your grave. Even though I won’t get what I came for, at least I now have the chance to say good-bye.”
[color=white]___William grinned and winked at her. “That’s true. Just don’t do it again. I get cranky when I’m woken up.”
[color=white]___In spite of herself, Susie had to laugh. “Yeah, I noticed.” When they looked each other in the eyes, she knew it was for the last time. It broke her heart. “Good-bye,” was all she could utter before she took off, running away from William as fast as she could, in fear she would otherwise disregard all warnings and throw her arms around his neck and kiss him long and tenderly.
[color=white]___William gazed after her, happy and content. “And at your wedding,” he whispered, smiling to himself, “I will not go to the rolling of the stones or the tossing of the ball, but I will go and see you, pretty Susie, and dance among you all.”(4)
In a way, he died again. Only this time, he felt no pain.

(1) Dadaidh = Scottish Gaelic for Daddy
(2) and (3) = Lines taken from the English ballad “The Unquiet Grave”, Version H b. as collected by Francis James Child, 1868.
(4) = Slight variation of the last stanza of the Appalachian ballad “The Rolling of the Stones”

© 2012, Claudia G. Kukulka

After reading your last story, I got to feel good that it looks like I am reading the Edger
Alan Po’s any creation.


Who is Alan Po? You probably mean Allan Poe.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, question-response: Is New York time ahead of us or behind us?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Min,

wow! I’m a huge admirer of Edgar Allan Poe! That’s a really nice and flattering compliment, Min. Thank you so much!


Yes, the spelling(Allan Poe not Po!) would be that as you say- Torsten.

Claudia, much of the Poe’s writing I read in my early life that was before 90’s so that
I got to remember little… Though I could remember one of his pieces of writing that the
writer wanted to go to the jail, he tried for that in various ways but fail.

Suddenly, the melody sounds came out from near about the church, he realized the meaning of good life and the meaning of innocence, police came and catch him!

Though his major writings are based on the mystery.

Hi Min,

I looked for the story you mentioned, so I searched through my “The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe”. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one with that plot. Then I remembered another 19/20th century American writer named O. Henry. In his short story, “The Cop and the Anthem”, a migratory worker called Soapy is penniless and wants to go to jail for food and a bed, but whatever he tries to get the police to arrest him, he constantly gets away with it. When, in the end, he walks past a church, he hears the organ playing and starts to ponder. He wants to change his life for the better. Suddenly, the police arrest him for one of the petty crimes he had done and he is sentenced to three months in jail. Is that the story you are referring to?


Probably I mixed up with Henry!

As I read before '86 and it’s not a joke to rejuvenate anybody’s memory immediately but many thanks for retrieving me the name of Henry as well!