opal

He’s always amazed at how quickly the smell disappears and this time of year, it’s no bother as trade is slow – and there’s no wind to speak of. Wild dogs take care of most of it – just got to watch that they don’t remove the bones. Just before they finish, he takes careful aim from his broken down bus that serves as his home, and scatters the dust covered pack so he can retrieve all the parts.

It’s no longer a problem – they know the deal and they get a feed if they comply. The clay is so deep in his pores that by mid day he sweats out grey specks and in the dry of the evening air, his pallor matches the power coating of the rocks mined in shafts around his settlement.

He makes a note to himself of location as he empties the bloodied rags of flesh and sinew into the shaft behind number 43. But he doesn’t need to really, after all, he could remember quite clearly which shaft held which body… he just couldn’t remember the time frame. Over ten years, days slipped from the calendar only blank pages for viewing.

As soon as he was finished, a couple of barrows of clay and potch to cover, he knew that the only thing that could keep him awake at night was the elusive colour of that perfect stone, that sweet, warm and beautiful opal… she was out there and he would find her.

Text: © J. L. Nash, 2010

Image: © Saverino Cardia with Brian Shimansky

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