Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Excerpt from 'Parts of Noah' (11): The Walk Through Third Cemetery

Half of the tombstones in Third Cemetery wore names of people I’d seen, some alive, most of them dead. This story may be as real as Zeus’ exploding microwave bullet story, but I remember it as exactly as he does. First corpse I’d ever seen, probably my first memory. You probably remember eating cake, stuffing your face with the junk sugar frosting and stuffing your little tiny ego with all the adoration you could ever ask for. You might remember the first bug you ate, maybe the first time you really scraped yourself up, stitches and bone, I’m sure you’ve had your falls. Maybe you remember your dad, sitting on his lap, or your mom’s lullabies. Maybe you’re like Dizzy, who tries to think back but sees nothing, not even black or white, just absolutely nothing. What I remember, the farthest back my brains can see, is a man in a bathtub, shriveled and bled dry. I look back and I just see the colour red. His eyes were closed and his arms were crossed over his stomach, and though I know now that it must have been a knife, I had no idea then what a stab wound was. I don’t remember the incident with any sort of emotion attached, I just see it and don’t wonder if it’s shaped me any. I never saw the man afterwards. Wait, a rephrase: The man in the road with the tears and the mustache might have been him. I didn’t stop to make sure. I wonder if the grave lady is still speaking poetry, even with ants and worms taking her over and the suffocation of dirt. I walked along the rows of tombstones with Dizzy circling me, twirling in her own pattern, smiling but singing no lullaby, not giggling. She was reading aloud the names of the skeletons on the ground.
 
-Robert May, he’s seen his last, beside Donna Jean who died so fast, never living to see herself a woman, beside Jonny Jacks just part of the earth now, though he never loved it.
 
She said all this while dancing zig-zags through the tombstone field, her head bowed, her hair hanging far past her face and shading all of her face but her eyes. She was looking at the ground, not the names on the cement slabs. There were no monuments in Third Cemetery, no fancy gargoyles or flower arrangements. It was all uniform, exact replica concrete slabs with cheap black paint smeared across. I could barely read the names of the deceased, but Dizzy seemed to know them all.
 
-Harley Wilby, bled dry in a tub, Donald Mayor saw a bullet through and through, poor poor Mary May hung herself and it didn’t take long, Martin Lillet died alone as he lived, alone, and Chloe Stern without a head, not a happy ending, not a zombie here with a clean conscience.
 
-I’ve been waiting for hands to burst from the dirt. Sounds like a lot of these people have…
 
-Unfinished business. It’s souls only souls that come back, the bodies they stay in the coffin’s eternity, it’s the ghosts that have a goal, your body is just a tool. You’ll be around a lot longer than that skin you’re wearing will.

We had made it to the other end of the cemetery, no zombies rising and her continually listing off names and speaking in riddles. It might have been the pill and the breathing, or the girl and her spinning, but I felt entirely at peace. I looked back across the graves, nobody had seemed to notice Zeus’ car smashed up into the dumptruck, anybody that walked by just walked, nobody looks around much anymore. I turned back around and Dizzy was gone, the gates to the buyer’s house was half open, made of metal rods with dull spikes at the tip of each. The house itself was more of a shack but a living space is anywhere you create it, and I’ve lived in a lot worse. I didn’t see Dizzy anywhere in the yard, and saw only dying grass and a withering tree. I pulled the bag of pills that wasn’t mine out of my jeans, swiping a vein colored one and a snot colored one and sealing the bag shut, and walked up the two wooden stairs to the buyer’s door without a knob or a knocker. The windows were covered and I could hear nothing on the inside. A dead mouse lay where a ‘welcome’ mat might have been, and if you looked close enough you could see tiny words inked into its dead but never decayed body, a language I didn’t recognize. In a moment of clarity staring at that rodent, I knew that once the deal was dealt with, I’d go in search of the living and breathing, so much death in a day can tire a spirit and I could feel mine dwindling, so I took another pill and entered the buyer’s shack.

(End of Excerpt)

This is original writing from the short story titled 'Parts of Noah'. Please credit this work to the creator, Chessterr Hollowberry. Thanks!

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