A single story house rests in the middle of the dense collection of green that is rural Ireland.
The house dressed in layers of neglect, grey and crumbling is hard to miss. In comparison the garden bursts with Spring’s colours.
The elderly lady walking down the path clutches a shovel. She is on the same team as her house. Her dog pounds the path behind her. His snarling look and powerful gait speak volumes: No trespassers tolerated.
Nora glances to her left and right. Then turns her face to the sky saying, ” Tyson, we can’t be too careful, them satellite things see everything.” She chuckles at her own paranoia.
The dog huffs in agreement and settles down to wait.
Nora begins her work, she revels in the certainty that people look but don’t see. Besides who would be interested in a weak old woman who is out to dig a potato patch? Rolling up her sleeves to reveal two skeletal arms she begins to dig with fervor.
“Nothing like a little exercise on a spring day” Fr. O’Malley shouts to her as he changes course to walk beside her.
Her wish for him to move on, vibrates through her bones into the soil. Her wish is denied. “You put me to shame Nora. What is the secret of your endless energy? I seem to have no get up and go.”
“I don’t stand around preaching, Father, I just get on with it and do it.” She growls.
“So I see, well I’d better not hold you up.” He looks at her and then risks life itself by uttering, “I suppose I’ll see you Sunday.”
Her cackle of laughter follows him down the road.
Darkness falls. Moonlight arrives to wash over the scenery. The sweet scent of honeysuckle fills the night. The owls serenade adds to the romantic picture of the night.
Shadows work wonders, transforming Nora into a gentile elderly woman. Her thin frame supports her theory. I’m nothing but a frail woman, I know that’s what they will think as they stagger home from the pub if they see me. Sure, I’m old and eccentric.
Nora takes her time. She knows the comings and goings of the villagers so well she could set her clock by them passing her front door.
Looking into the deep hole she attempts to gauge its size and depth. Long years of working in the curtain factory should stand to her, or so she hopes.
Keeping to her timetable is easy. ‘I have all night,’ she shuffles to the house. Once there she collects the result of her mornings work.
God, I’m a wicked old woman, if I was to enter a church you wouldn’t know which end of me to strike with lightening first.
She stops thinking and concentrates on pushing her prize in the wheelbarrow down the path. Tyson sniffs and lowers his face as though he doesn’t find the smell pleasing.
I have nothing against you, it was the way you wound me up, like a cuckoo clock, I was sure to retaliate.
Sixty five years since she left her convent education school behind. “I was, am a dry old shite really,” she said tipping the wheelbarrow into the hole.
With a soft thud it landed. With difficulty she pulls the wheelbarrow out. A piece of paper escapes, flutters in the light evening breeze. Nora catches it and chortles. Then reading aloud, she feels pride at having won, this time.
‘No one will be exempt from this government ruling , all who do not pay the Property tax will be punished, pay now or deal with the consequences.” With a shake of her head she gave her own verdict,
“Trouble is, they forget, my house my rules or deal with the consequences.” With a huff of agreement the dog sat on guard as she replaced the soil over the cold dead body of the official.