The Fabulous Butcher Boy

Meat, stacked in columns within the village larder; the interior as bitter as the winter that lay beyond the door. Stepping outside, his breath a chain of clouds, William hefted another crimson-flecked sack from the wagon onto his shoulders.

The contents smelled reassuringly of jasmine and peppermint. Unwittingly William pressed his face into the sackcloth.

Snapshots erupted within William’s mind: summer meadows, golden hair, soft lips, whispered desires.

Tabitha.

Her fault.

Too slow, too trusting.

He had Frannie now, plain conniving Frannie.

Tears spilled, Will understood this was grief, the elders had warned it would come.

Yet he mustn’t forget to remain grateful.

For wasn’t he one of the free?

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