by Jacqui Pack

We scattered Jasper’s ashes at the top of Butser Hill. Two handfuls each. The wind took him. Four clouds of grief spread out across an otherwise empty sky and drifted over the A3. We cried, for what we had lost as well as in thanks for the years that we’d shared, then returned to the car that still had his bed in the back.

The next day I opened the front door to find four small mounds of ash on the step. After drying my eyes, I swept the ashes into the urn and drove to the car park at Eastney. The beach was deserted. I said a short prayer under my breath and emptied the urn over the sea. The foamy waves Jasper had so often waded through welcomed him back, drawing their old friend far into The Solent for one final swim.

It rained hard that night. In the morning, when I opened the blind, a thin circle of ash was lying over the top of the pond.

The third time we laid Jasper to rest we didn’t leave home. Alongside the hedge that borders our garden he basks in sunlight until mid-afternoon and, when the moon lights the sky, he’s content to remain in his favourite spot. Faithfully watching over us all as he sleeps.

Jacqui Pack’s fiction and poetry have appeared in a variety of publications, including Litro Online, Swarm, Storgy, and Synaesthesia. She was among the winners of The London Magazine’s 2013 Southern ‘Universities Short Story Competition,’ was awarded Long Story Short’s ‘Story of the Year 2009’ and holds an MA in Creative Writing. Further information, including links to published work, can be found at http://jacquipack.jimdo.com or via @JPCertHum.