Excerpt from "Because You Weren't There"
The corpse lay supine in the dust. Feet trudged clockwise in a wide, multi-layer circle around it. None of the owners of the feet knew who the sometime inhabitant of the corpse had been, but that didn't matter. Someone was dead. It was entirely appropriate to mourn. There ought to have been a low, hopeless drizzle blurring the sharp lines and muting every color. Instead, the sky was blue, bright and thoughtless of funeral propriety. The sun shone down, perfectly cavalier. It beamed across the clearing as though upon children at play, friends hand-in-hand among tulips, or lovers picking their romantic way through golden stalks of wheat. It brutally emphasized the universal injustice of death, that life goes on. The sun and the stars and the sky don't stop to mourn. That's something only people do. Sometimes, if the deceased touched only a small corner of the world, people don't do it either. These people did, simply because there was no one else to do it. They had found the corpse alone, unknown and abandoned, and they mourned in part because no one was there to mourn. Their pace was slow, despairing, their feet heavy, their demeanor dejected. One has died, their manner said. This one has died. This one will never come again. At times, a mourner, overcome, would stumble to their knees in the hot, dry dust. Each fall went unnoticed by the others. Each mourner rose again unaided. Each was isolated in their grief, and it made the grief that much sharper. At this point, an observer might have noticed that something unaccounted for by physical law was happening to the corpse, or, rather to the cracked earth beneath and around it. As the hours passed and the group of mourners plodded their heavy circle, the inner space it described and bounded was slowly, slowly descending. The corpse rested now in a wide, round pit, two feet deep and sinking all the while.... __ Full-length fictionette (1141 words) appears in PDF and audio formats for Patrons pledging from $1/month and $3/month respectively. PDF: https://www.patreon.com/creation?hid=2448657 MP3: https://www.patreon.com/creation?hid=2448664 Cover art incorporates original photography by Nicole J. LeBoeuf, who sometimes likes to play in the dirt.