Death of Inman:
The boy lay in the snow where he had fallen. Then he
half sat and fiddled with the caps and the hammer to his pistol.
Put that thing down, Inman said. He had the shot
hammer back and the bore leveled at the boy.
The boy looked at him and his blue eyes were empty
as a round of ice frozen on the bucket tip. He looked white in the
face and even whiter in the crescents under his eyes. He was a
little wormy blond thing, his hair cropped close as if he had
recently been battling head-lice. Face blank.
Nothing about the boy moved but his hand, and it
moved quicker than you could see.
Inman suddenly lay on the ground.
The boy sat and looked at him and then looked at the
pistol in his hand and said, They God. As if he had not reckoned at
all on it functioning as it had.
heard the gunshots in the distance, dry and thin as sticks breaking.
She did not say anything to Ruby. She just turned and ran. He hat
flew off her head and she kept on running and left it on the ground
like a shadow behind her. She met Stobrod and he held Ralphs mane
in a death grip, though the horse had slowed to a trot.
Back there, Stobrod said. He kept on going.
When she reached the place, the boy had already
gathered up the horses and gone. She went to the men on the ground
and looked at them, and then she found Inman apart from them. She
sat and held him in her lap. He tried to talk, but she hushed him.
He drifted in and out and dreamed a bright dream of a home. It had
a coldwater spring rising out of rock, black dirt fields, old trees.
In his dream the year seemed to be happening all at one time, all
the seasons blending together. Apple trees hanging heavy with fruit
but yet unaccountably blossoming, ice rimming the spring, okra
plants blooming yellow and maroon, maple leaves red as October, corn
tops tasseling, a stuffed chair pulled up to the glowing parlor
hearth, pumpkins shining in the fields, laurels blooming on the
hillsides, ditch banks full of orange jewelweed, white blossoms on
dogwood, purple on redbud. Everything coming around at once. And
there were white oaks, and a great number of crows, or at least the
spirits of crows, dancing and singing in the upper limbs. There was
something he wanted to say.