Father and son

(The following is not exactly a story about love. Just a piece of micro-fiction that came out of a writing exercise…)

‘Father.’ Angus pushed the blade of his shovel hard into the frozen ground. He seemed suddenly older than his years. ‘Father,’ he said again, ‘why are all the children weeping?’

His father paused long enough to say, ‘Are they weeping then? I thought perhaps it were the wind.’ Then his pick-axe crashed down. He kept his eyes on the flattened field, the edge of the trench, the blade as it struck and struck and struck again.

‘Ay, Father. T’is the little ones.’

‘Blessed cold it is for them. Go warm yourself a while, Boy.’

A fire crackled nearby, wet sticks fizzing within the glow. Angus glanced towards it before driving his blade again into the soil.

‘Warm yourself, Boy,’ his father repeated, sounding almost angry now. Shocked, Angus turned to see silent tears gathering on the old man’s face.

The boy put down his shovel. He walked slowly to the fire. It’s warmth felt good on his raw-skinned palms. From above, the sound of wheeling crows merged with the distant orphan cries.