Daniel planed the final piece of timber. A few more shavings and he knew that it would fit. He wasn’t happy with one section so he spent another minute sanding it.
He admired his work.
The other two stood on plinths. He never considered himself arrogant. They were beautiful and in perfect proportion.
The three caskets were so different but he had carved them in such a way that there was no doubt that they were part of each other.
That was what it was all about, separate but linked.
It was strange how his life had panned out. He knew all that he loved would never be as one, there would only be half.
Barney nosed his way into the workshop.
The dog was hesitant but he met his master half-way.
He sniffed in the direction of where his brother lay. He stopped and whined.
Daniel walked over and scratched his ears.
“I know son. We all miss him. Go and see your mum, on you go.”
The dog turned and headed back into the house.
Daniel unclamped the lid and checked that it fitted. It was as perfect as the rest of it. He re-opened it and put it on a trolley. Archie lay on another bench. He walked over and kissed the dog on the head and very gently lifted him into the coffin.
“Bye old friend. It’s been a pleasure.”
He screwed the lid down and attached a brass plate.
Archie – Best friend of Daniel and Claire. Brother of Barney.
Daniel pushed the trolley into the freezer. He swallowed as he closed the door.
He sat at his work bench and took a sip of cold tea. He polished the other two brass plates that lay there. He felt the tears as he began to engrave. He stopped to wipe his eyes.
He worked slowly as he wanted to get them right first time. It had to be first time.
Daniel – Husband to Claire and Father to Chris and Liam.
He began to weep. He couldn’t work on the third name plate until he stopped sobbing. He was determined that the writing would match.
Daniel took a few deep breaths and checked his hand. It was a few minutes before the shaking stopped.
He was now ready to continue.
Chris – Son of Claire and Daniel. Twin Brother of Liam.
He managed the final full stop and began to cry once again as he moved over to the coffins.
He screwed the name plate onto the larger one. He gave it one more polish.
Daniel covered up the small coffin except for where he was attaching the final plate.
He rubbed his face with the cloth.
Claire called out.
“Daniel! Quick! My water’s broke!”
He sank to his knees as the pain in his head returned.
Image – Google Images
11 thoughts on “Perfectly Split by Hugh Cron”
I liked how this story gently drew me into Daniel’s world – a skilled carpenter with an obsession for perfection. As I read on it became clear he was a troubled man, one who either foreseen the death of himself and his family or else was so mentally disturbed he was contemplating their demise. (what about Archie? Does he not get a coffin?).
I am left wondering what has happened in Daniel’s life to create the depression that has overcome him.
I have a confession to make – Archie did get a coffin, I had ballsed up the names!!
I changed them round.
But the story is less enigmatic now. (Maybe I should have said nothing!!)
Regarding Daniel – Only time would tell his reasoning and that is what we are left with, our opinions on his reasoning.
It’s always a pleasure to read your observations and comments.
All the very best my friend.
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This is very elusive. I mean, “Why’s Daniel already have name plates for the living?” He might be someone who is very prepared, or he could be the upcoming cause for the name plates. You don’t know, which makes this highly effective short fiction.
Tried counting how many you have; but it didn’t work out very well. I need a new glasses prescription, but the King ordered all optometrists closed (so we can’t see what he’s doing). I got as low as 84 and as high as 92.
Anyway, very good work here. You seem to be hitting a prolific phase.
See my comments to James.
But no matter what, the reasoning is still open to interpretation.
If Daniel believes in something so strongly, his opinion isn’t wrong to him, even if his actions are to others.
Thanks as always for your kind words. I’ll get round to counting one of these days when I am seeing straight!
Sir, As soon as I understand the everything I know, I believe that I will locate an insult in what you say. We Easily Offended Johns excel at locating insults. Don’t know about the Ians, however. Someone named Ian doesn’t seem likely to be easily offended. Must be all the haggis. Or could be that you don’t hear anyone saying “Hey, Ian-Boy.”
Not sure if I’m on the right lines, but I was struck by the tension in Daniel. He is indeed perfectly split – he creates but looks towards destruction, he is expecting a child, but will likely be thinking of that child’s death before it is born. No wonder he has a pain in his head at the end.
I enjoy your stories, Hugh. Keep them coming!
Thanks so much for your kind words.
I love when anything I have written allows the reader to go off with their own thoughts. Some folks are so arrogant that they believe everyone must get their point. I think that is very insular. If a reader takes something else from a piece of writing, this gives that story new life. I would rather a hundred people came up with a hundred different scenarios from the same piece of writing.
Some of my favourite submissions are those stories that change my mind every time I read them.
Thanks again, much appreciated.
Daniel is kind of split between life and death. And like previous commenters have said, likely very depressed, this is a well characterized person with depression. This definitely does not bode well for Claire. Did Daniel put Archie in the coffin meant for Barney? He’s all mixed up. Pretty spooky.
It wasn’t so much the MC who was mixed up regarding the dogs, it was the idiot writer!
But maybe I should have left it, as that took it on a few different roads and I kind of like thinking on your ideas.
Everyone who has commented has had their own thoughts with a few common denominators.
I’ve not done many like this but I enjoy them when they come around. Mainly because they make me think myself into a few different reasonings that may work.
Thanks as always, your comments are much appreciated!!
All the very best my friend.
Several valid takes on what “split” refers to. Mine is that Daniel is split between good and evil. Speaking of “good” … Good story!
Good and evil is one of those topics that always works. It is in most stories in some form or another. In fact, when you think on it, any stories about humans have these traits in abundance!
If anyone is stuck to write something, I’d always suggest a revenge story. We are all suckers for a revenge story! But if the good gets revenge on the evil, do they then bugger up the balance??
Thanks as always, it’s great to see you around the site!
All the very best my friend.