Goodnight, Sweet Dreams

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I stood at the back of the cabin, a secluded winter night. The trees rustled gently in the breeze, and the full moon shimmered in the darkness, though partially hidden by the clouds. Briefly checking my pocket watch, its hands pointing north, I started shoveling.

A little pigeon I held in my palm, cold and lifeless. I stuffed it into my sweater to avoid glaring at it while digging its burrow. My daughter Evelyn convinced me to bury it. She was always the caring one, I do say, though she could not bear to witness the pitiful bird buried under the soil we tread. It was an uncomfortable feeling. Her golden locks, her porcelain skin, dotted with a pair of emerald eyes, she was my baby angel. It was only the two of us living in the woods (apart from the wilderness beyond, of course). Not many people could relish in the mere isolation, surrounded by the trees and the creatures lurking within. The atmosphere would be void of sound, excluding the occasional cracking of branches and snarling of the critters. But we had each other to keep safe, and that was enough.

Deeper and deeper the grave became as my energy drained bit by bit—a frozen icicle lining down my spine. My breath steadily weighed heavier as I pressed onward. I tried to erase the image of the unfortunate avian from my mind, a disheartening view. Stay silent and keep going; You'll finish soon enough. My eyes would, however, catch glimpses of the bears through the trunks, their lustrous, jaundiced-looking eyes. I gulped. Just do yourself a favor and ignore them.

Difficult to believe it was already November. Time flies quickly, and I've yet to conceive a gift for Evelyn. Although, her birthday was a month from now, so no need to rush. I could utilize my carpentry skills and build her a doll. She cherished them; Loved them to pieces, like how I adored her. Evelyn had the most beautiful smile.

Suddenly, I felt something moist and cold gracing my neck, startling me. Slowly glancing at my side, it was merely a frosted droplet. I sighed in relief. Maybe I had one too many tonight. Evelyn would probably appreciate it if I stopped. I wouldn't want to see her tear up like back then. That pigeon didn't deserve the fate it received, crushed under my sole. I should have been more careful. We were arguing more frequently nowadays, and I couldn't handle it any longer. She became increasingly distant after the incident out of sorrow, despite how much I tried convincing her it was an accident. But she's a child, my child, and I did not want her to be like this. I should have apologized.

The snow felt as if it was crawling up my legs, clawing at me and piercing my nerves. Despite that, I preferred not to lose myself in the mist and kept mining the earth as it grew more immersed and foreboding. I became frightened by the most trivial noises while constantly reminding myself to overlook the wild animals prowling in the duskiness. Clutching my chest, I knew Evelyn would be worried seeing her parent acting so paranoid. With that in mind, I gradually calmed down and continued deepening the hole. Breathe in, breathe out.

Eventually, I succeeded. Wiping my forehead, I paused and stared into the six feet crater for a fleeting moment before taking out the deceased avian and kneeling on the ground to bury it. I laid it in the opening as it slumbered, wishing that their family would visit someday, before drowning it with the clump of dirt. I wanted to cry, but I held back my tears. It wouldn't be worth it.

After a while, the carcass had wholly submerged in the loam, concealed from the light. Flattening the mound, I suddenly caught the dreadful stench originating from my clothes. I should really take a bath—a warm one. Evelyn would not enjoy the reek, that’s for sure. Speaking of which, I hope she hasn't woken up yet. She needs all the sleep she can get, after all.

With the deed done, I stood still in the same position as a momentary silence filled the gap, my heartbeats cracking the illusion every so often. I glared at my worn-out hands while the corpse was stashed away by the blizzard. All had gone mute. My surroundings had gone hushed. Only nothing remained in my ears.

"Sweet dreams, little pigeon. I'm…"

Without wasting another second outside, I headed back to the wooden home to wipe off the wine from my attire. Peacefulness unknowingly fled from my bed as I slept, but thank goodness, at least Evelyn hadn't risen from her nap. She dozed rather quietly on her mattress—

—like the precious bird that she was.


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