It was dark when he pulled up outside the wooden ranch-house and turned his horse loose to graze on the grass by the porch. He unloaded the supplies and piled them on the kitchen floor and table, not caring to put them away. He still wore his travelling clothes, coat and all, as he rummaged through a box until he found what he was looking for. He sat on a chair at the kitchen table and stared at the bottle of whisky he had pulled from the box. He kicked off his boots, the sound as they hit the floor reverberating around the empty house.
He uncorked the bottle and drank it straight from the neck. The familiar burn of the liquid as it slipped down his throat relaxed him. He would only have a couple of mouthfuls, he was not a heavy drinker, just enough to help forget the pain; to help dull the ache that throbbed behind his eyes.
He closed his eyes and sat back in the chair. He rested his feet up on the table, one of the few pieces of furniture in the house. It was a basic building, but it was big enough for one man, which was all that he needed now.
He took one more swig of the whisky before sleep began to overtake him. The last thing he thought of as he slipped away into the black nothingness was of her face as they closed the box.
— Micheal O’Flaherty