Mr Hughes sits dead in his chair, a glass of whisky in his hand, while a low crackle spews from the wireless.
Sasha has been laying at his feet since he died, at 5.54 this morning. It is now near lunch time.
Mr Hughes had decided to die, and so he did. His beloved wife had departed a week earlier, and Mr Hughes set his mind to giving up.
For a week as he shuffled toward death, he put his affairs in order. There weren’t many affairs to be ordered, but he left his estate to his dog Sasha, and left her in the care of the state, with the condition that she remained in the house until she died.
He had some trouble, did Mr Hughes. He thought of all the ways a man can die, but none of them took his fancy. They were too messy, or too expensive, or too illegal.
And so last night he sat down with Sasha, poured himself a whisky, and concentrated on the white noise the wireless had to offer. He sat as still as a statue, and stared out his window.
The rose garden stared back at him from the dew-touched morning lawn. How his wife had adored and tended to those roses! Her hands were bitten by thorns and calloused from secateurs, but the flowers nodded at Mr Hughes then as if in apology for his loss. In the week that Mrs Hughes had been gone, weeds had already started to take over the rose beds. Every time Mr Hughes looked at his wife’s secateurs he felt wrong to fix the situation.
Now he resembles a frozen tree, bluish and brittle, haunting yet beautiful. All Sasha can do is wait for someone to come and knock on the door to find her master’s body.