“In nomine Patri, Fili, Spiritus Sancti, Amen.”
The small gathering of people mumbled their echo, and then began to walk away from the hole in the ground.
Ophelia was rooted to the spot, gripping the Incan necklace in her hands, willing them all to leave so that none would see her cast it into the dark cleft, to rest with Alonso’s body in this foreign ground.
Why had they come here? How had he persuaded her that the risks of the Peruvian jungle were worth taking?
She was crying now. The tears had begun to fall, silently, as the last footsteps disappeared out of earshot. She walked slowly to the edge of her husband’s grave and sank to her knees at the head end. There he was, bound in strips of cloth, as his will had requested. No coffin to keep him from the land he had loved so much. As she droped the golden necklace, sobs wracked her small frame and then a scream of pain forced its way out. She collapsed in the soft mud.
All at once she started; all around there were eyes in the jungle, watching her.