Saturday, 6 June 2020

'Hackney' by William Squirrell

Emma was distressed because God had been by that afternoon and killed all the fairies.

“Well,” Charles said, “they were a nuisance.”

“They were beautiful,” said Emma.

“Flying into the windows,” Charles was reading The Times. “Getting into the sugar. The good sherry. And that terrible language whenever we suggested they might restrict themselves to the garden.”

“It was an awful surprise,” Emma said. “I looked up from the azaleas and there he was; hovering like a miniature sun over the hydrangea, so burnished and brassy and naked.”

Charles frowned.

“The fairies all came rushing out to see him,” Emma continued: “Thousands of them!”
Charles raised an eyebrow.

“Yes: thousands!” she said.

“Really, Emma, a garden such as ours can hardly support a dozen faeries.”

“Then they must have come from all the other gardens in the neighborhood as well, Charles, because there really were thousands.”

“What happened next?” Charles returned to the paper.

“They perambulated about him as they do, in a lovely, glittering cascade of ruby and emerald and sapphire, singing their sweet hymns, glorifying his name, and then he said: “Enough!””

““Enough?”” asked Charles.

“Yes,” said Emma. “He said: “Enough!” and they all fluttered down to the lawn and were dead.”

Emma began to cry. Charles folded up the paper and laid it on the table beside the vase with the cut flowers.

 “Oh, darling,” said Charles and came over to hold her. “It was just the garden fairies; there will be more coming along soon enough. Like after the killing frost, remember? Poor little beggars. In a few years they were back, weren’t they? In even greater numbers, and they’ll be back this time too.”

“I don’t think so, Charles,” sobbed Emma. “I think he killed them all: all over the world, in every garden, every meadow, every wood, and every forest. I think he killed them all.”

“But why would he do such a thing?” asked Charles.

“Why does he do anything?” said Emma: “Because he’s a beast!”

“Hush,” said Charles and stroked her hair. “We don’t want him to hear you, do we?”

“Oh, he’s long gone,” sniffed Emma. “He rose up into the air and flew south towards Hackney.”

“Towards Hackney?” Charles glanced out into the garden and cleared his throat. “Where are they now? The fairies?”

“I had Martins rake them up and throw them on the fire.”

“He said “Enough”?”

“Yes,” said Emma. “And then they died and off he flew.”

“Towards Hackney?”

“Yes,” said Emma and took a deep breath. “But enough of my silliness, Charles, how was your day? How was the City? Did you see anyone interesting at the club?”

“Well,” said Charles. “Not so interesting as God.”

And Emma laughed.

She wiped the tears away and laughed because Charles was right, of course, it was interesting that God had been by and killed the faeries, certainly very interesting indeed, but nothing more that, nothing important, just interesting.

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