Writing Exercise #18
(Prompt from @storyprompt) [A floating grave, coming towards you down the river.] It shone white against the green-brown of the river, carrying a mat of floating branches and detritus in front of it. I stuck my pole in the river to stop my raft and wiped sweat away from my eyes. Was that what I thought it was? It came closer; yes, it was. A long, semi-translucent white box, wider at the upstream end, a blurred, humanoid shape barely visible through the lid. "Well, now," I said, "you've gone a bit off-course, haven't you?" I bent down, still clutching my raft-pole, and reached out with my other arm to pull it close to the raft. My fingers traced the seal of the Cemetery Guild embossed on the lid. Beside it was an expiration date jet-printed in black ink. "Still fresh, hmm? Maybe they'll want you back," I said. Maybe there will be a reward, I thought. I pulled the box onto the raft, next to the pile of waterhog carcasses. It was almost too much for my poor raft. Fortunately, the shore was close by. I poled over to it as quickly as I dared, and pulled the raft a long way up the sandy bank, toward the first row of desert dunes. I had to admit, I was curious. Should I open it? They kept these things sealed for a reason, of course - the hot desert sun is not gentle to corpses - but surely it wouldn't hurt if I just peeled back the corner a bit. I knew I shouldn't, but I did anyway. A cloud of noxious air came farting out. I reeled back, waving my hand in front of my face, but then leaned in again. It was a man, slightly older than me, with skin even darker than mine. He was nude and bald-shaven. His body fit perfectly into the jelly-plastic mold it lay in. There was a paper tag around one wrist with some indecipherable Cemetery Guild characters scrawled on it. He looked oddly familiar. Nobody I knew had died recently, though. I pushed the lid back, being sure to burp it before locking it down. The body was, as I'd hoped, still in good condition. If I could get the thing upriver to the Cemetery Guild's processing plant, maybe they'd give me money for returning it. Hauntingly familiar, though. If it weren't so absurd, I'd have said it looked almost like an older version of myself. ---15 mins--- Writing Exercise Index: http://www.patreon.com/creation?hid=393711
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