Saturday, August 16, 2008

Phraselet No. 57

There was something in the hollow.

He saw it first sticking out round the edge of a gorse-bush. It was light in colour, and pointed, rather like a foot.

He felt a little sick.

“Someone has gone to sleep here,” he said aloud.

Then he thought:

“Funny -- it’s always the feet they leave showing.”

He scrambled down among the bushes, slipping on the short turf and nearly rolling to the bottom. He swore irritably.

The person was sleeping oddly. The flies must be a nuisance all over her head like that.

It occurred to him that it was rather early in the year for flies. There had been an advertising rhyme in the papers. Something about “Each fly to swat now means, remember, Three hundred fewer next September.” Or was it a thousand fewer? He couldn’t get the metre quite right.

Then he pulled himself together and went forward. The flies rose up in a little cloud.

It must have been a pretty heavy blow, he thought, to smash the back of the skull in like that. The shingled hair was blonde. The face lay between the bare arms.

Of course, without the photograph he could not -- he need not -- be certain this was Vera Findlater.

All this had taken him perhaps thirty seconds.

- Dorothy Sayers, Unnatural Death

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