HOW TERRIBLE IT IS TO LOVE SOMETHING THAT DEATH CAN TOUCH
Unknown (common gravestone epitaph)
Maybe someday I’ll get around to writing some of the longer stories I have percolating in my brain. Maybe someday I will put together a collection of these stories along with some of the poems and letters I’ve written. Maybe someday I will make these available either for direct download via my publisher. Maybe I’ll use these covers. Maybe.
Something was wrong with Clement Morecote. Something terrible.
On the outskirts of Saginaw, Michigan, the old man lived in an old house on the top of a hill. It was a once remarkable house, and he was a once remarkable man. There was little to be said about the hill. Surrounded by woods, except for a clearing on the east side, and with a poorly maintained road that no longer allowed approach by horse or carriage, the way was mostly overgrown and nearly impassible. Morecote Manor was constructed from wood and stone taken from the immediate surroundings: mostly oak and elm with decorative work being done in maple. There was an obvious disdain for the cheaper white pines that had made Clement his fortune. Limestone quarried locally at the Bay Port mines gave the house a fortress-like appearance. Lake Superior red sandstone trimmed the edges. The house was an imposing structure, much like the man who claimed to have built it, though both had lived better days.
Walter Jacobs was a doctor. He was not a good doctor, but a doctor nonetheless. He killed as many patients as he saved, but he meant well and he did what he could. He loved to make house-calls and while he mostly tried to stay mostly sober, people knew if you wanted his best work, it was best to get to the good doctor early in the day. “I love alcohol and alcohol loves me!” was a confession he often made to his priest. He knew drink was bad for him, knew it was rotting his insides and destroying his liver, but take away a man’s hope and you also take away his cares. Walter had little hope.
A man with nothing to lose, no longer cares when he loses.
Once upon a time, in the faraway land of Ada, Ohio, there was a man, kneeling before a healer, with a baby in his arms, and tears of grief on his face. The doctor, a man by the name of Walter Jacobs, looked down, and said, “It’s not your fault. There’s nothing you could have done. Sometimes, God needs another angel.” He said this, for you see, the baby was dead, blue skinned and cold. “It’s not your fault. There’s nothing you could have done. Sometimes, God needs another angel,” over and over again, he uttered his grim mantra. “It’s not your fault. There’s nothing...” When the man finally looked up from the baby, the doctor placed one hand on the man’s shoulder, and the other on the infant’s forehead as a penitent priest delivering benediction. ”Let me tell you a story,” he said. “Hopefully, it will be of some small comfort. Stop me if this tale is familiar to you.”