Microcosms this week is a picture prompt
Norman thought of himself as meticulous; Daphne thought him slow. He started many jobs always intending completion. Rarely did it happen. However the construction of an air-raid shelter was one project Daphne determined Norman would finish.
Norman’s problem was a Victorian urge to over-engineer. The neighbours dug a simple pit which they covered in corrugated iron. Norman hunted out precious bricks, while assessing ground conditions and the best prospect – east-facing he thought.
Progress was slow. Bombing raids came and went. Daphne and the boys sheltered with the neighbours. Meanwhile Norman pottered and pointed and pontificated.
The boys joined up and still Norman built. VE Day passed in a blur for Daphne as she imbibed more oak leaf wine than was recommended.
When she returned, as the rain blew away, Norman was waiting. ‘It’s done.’ At the top of the steps, he added, ‘Pity it’s over really.’
Maybe it was the worry about her boys, off to the Far East, maybe it was the year’s of using the neighbours, maybe it was just the drink but Daphne saw red. She ran at Norman’s back gurgling incoherently and pushed.
The combination of wet steps and the force exerted sent Norman tumbling. He lay inside the door, clearly dead.
Daphne sighed. She made herself tea and then some concrete. In a surprisingly quick time she bricked up the entrance and begun filling in the steps with soil. If anyone asked about Norman she said, ‘He’s decided on a fresh start.’
No one questioned Daphne. When, 60 years later the shelter was opened, none of the family still lived. The dead man was assumed to be a vagrant.
Indeed it wasn’t the body that caused the stir but Norman’s magnificent shelter. In death, at least his precise handiwork had been appreciated.