Ashes to Ashes: Mud to Mud

t was raining over the colourless cemetery. The morning had been cold and grey but it started raining when they arrived at the graveside. Cold, heavy drops of rain with a biting wind stirring the few remaining leaves on the path leading to the grave. Wyn’s brothers tightened their scarves around their necks and turned up their overcoat collars. Flanked by the two brothers, Richard looked wearily at the other mourners. An uncle, whom Richard had met some years back at Wyn’s wedding, a few close neighbours and friends of Wyn’s mother. Richard was pleased to see two old schoolteachers. Unknown faces completed the sombre gathering. None of the old crowd of friends. Guto and Geraint, Wyn’s brothers, probably hadn’t bothered to contact them and even Richard was surprised to have been notified. Wyn’s mother had probably insisted that he be contacted. No women of course at the graveside service. They would be busy at the house preparing too many sandwiches for too few mourners.

Richard Rhys shuddered. His eyes turned to the grave. Wyn had died on Christmas Eve. The grave in Cefn-y-Parc cemetery had been hastily dug. The cold rain was running off the footpaths, trickling between the gravestones and carrying clayey water into the open grave. Richard leaned forward. He could see the bottom of the grave disappearing. The curate must have noticed too because he was talking faster and faster, imagining the family’s distress as the coffin was being lowered into the muddy reaches.