After I dropped out of university I spent some time working on my uncle’s farm. My uncle was called Frank and wasn’t much to look at, the whiskey had done that to him, whiskey and heartache. He was getting on now so I chopped wood for the fire and made dinner as best as I could. In the evenings I lost myself in Tolstoy.
My uncle got me into butchery. The first thirteen pigs I killed I named. The last thirteen I resorted to using numbers. Perhaps I was feeling more human.
The one person I killed, in an accident, her name I have long since forgotten.
I remember the date it happened though, that’s something.
When the summer was over I started back for the city and found myself in a diner with a woman I did not know. I told her that I loved her right there and then and knew from the moment I set eyes upon her that we were to be married. She was called Mercy and she thought what I said and did was very strange but that she would leave it go this time because I had a tired face and when men are tired they do foolish things.
Frank died a little while after that and the pigs cannibalised each other before the last one finally starved to death. I don’t know if she had a name or a number.
I married Mercy but she left me after a few years and married another pig farmer because he was heartbroken and she felt pity for him. I told her as she was leaving that she had too much faith in the word and she said she knew this to be true.
by Roy Endean
Roy Endean lives in the south of Ireland. His work has appeared in Brand Magazine, The Steel Toe Review and Corium, and has been performed by The Accidental Theatre Company. He is the recent recipient of the Burbage New Writing Prize.