One Man’s View of Heaven

Yorkshire Dales

After the war, he stayed in Yorkshire. For a while, he toured about, staying at inns and tipping ale, up until the day he met the shepherd.

“So I see you made it,” said the shepherd, which had seemed an odd thing to say at the time.

They’d passed a few days, or maybe it was weeks, at the shepherd’s cottage, just talking. He’d told the shepherd about Emily, and the boy back home, and how he knew he should return, but for some reason just couldn’t.

The shepherd understood. “You can stay here,” he said. “Watch the flock.”

And so the man did, and the days passed to years, and the years to decades, until the day he saw her: Emily, walking up the path. He hurried down to meet her. She was every bit the beauty he’d left behind that day on the dock.

“What are you doing here?”

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw, a weekly location-based fiction prompt. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

 

23 Comments

  1. Oh, this is just too beautiful for mere words. Love the depth and breadth of this. Reminds me much of Hannah Hunnards(sp?) “Hinds feet in High places”. Which, if you haven’t read it, you ought give it a go. 🙂 ❤

    1. Very kind of you! I’m not familiar with the story. Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. What a lovely story. It gives me more questions than answers, which is exactly right for 150 words.

  3. A really intriguing tale. I’d love to know more, so I’m not left wondering why he’d choose the Yorkshire Dales (lovely as they are) over Emily and the boy. Something’s made him “not rait int’ ‘ead”.

    You’re not going to tell all, though, are you?

    1. I’m not sure if I should, because the ultimate interpretation of the reader, but my personal take is hinted at in the title. I think he was killed in action, but didn’t realize it. And so he doesn’t return to them because somehow he knows he can’t. He’s lost in his afterworld.

      The inspiration came from the thought: “What a lovely place, I could spend an eternity there.” And so my character did.

      Thanks for reading!

      1. Ah…now I see. I confess to not having spotted the clue in the title. I live in Yorkshire (although I wasn’t born here) and the locals refer to it as “God’s Own County”, so I’m probably used to lots of people regarding it as their own piece of heaven. I like the story even better now. Thank you.

      2. Neat! My ancestors hail from there and what you said made me like my take on Yorkshire even more. Looks so lovely.

  4. This is such a peaceful yet disturbing piece. As JS said, why would he give up Emily and the boy? There’s a mystery there, and I’m sure you won’t tell us what it is. Great take on the prompt.

    (and how he knew should return (I think you’re missing a “he” in this sentence – so easy to do)

    1. Ah good, catch, thanks. Now I’ll have to nuke another word.

      The reason he can’t/doesn’t return is in the title.

      1. Duh! Thanks. Note to self ~ pay attention!!!

      2. Not fair of me to cheat and put it in the title anyway. That puts it past the 150 words.

      3. I did the same thing in my FF story What Mother Wrought – not cheating according to Rochelle. : – )

  5. lillmcgill

    So this is heaven.

    1. No, this is Iowa. Oh wait, no–it’s Yorkshire Dales. Maybe your heaven is Iowa 😉

  6. So intriguing Karen. A sort of predestination about the time and place he found himself in, as if the universe would bring them back together eventually. Has an ageless feel to it. Lovely story

  7. Very compelling! When the “shepherd” greeted him, that (plus the story’s title) said it all. I love that Emily chose the same place–this answers the question as to why he fell in love with the place. He wasn’t able to explore anything else; he may not have known it, but he was waiting for her to walk down that path. She, too, didn’t realize they were in heaven–just wondered why he was greeting her. Lovely!

    1. Your kind words mean a lot! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!

  8. lillmcgill

    That last comment is what I meant to say. . . .
    She said it so well.

  9. Beautiful visual you have drawn.

    1. Thanks Neel! Thanks for reading.

  10. […] block made me late to the party this week. As always a hearty ‘thank you’ to Karen Rawson and J Hardy […]

  11. Dear Karen,

    Wonderful!!! I love a title that adds to the story. A lovely piece with a ‘happy’ ending.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

  12. This is really good,. He sees Emily when he has died, makes me wonder he she felt he left her and their son to fend. But it’s heaven so she would forgive him. I wonder why the Shepard let him stay? But I thought perhaps there is symbolism here in the Shepard being ‘The good Shepard’ as Jesus is often called.

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