Grave Migration
By: Bruce Rowe

Lying in horizontal repose surrounded by oppressive darkness, strangely I can feel the worms nibbling away at this flesh that once was my body – a body that will return to the elements from which it came. They eagerly crawl between the spaces in the boards to join in the smorgasbord. The ants seem to have joined in as well. I say 'strangely' because my spirit, on the other hand, is still here, the very thing from which my thoughts emanate. It should have departed long ago at the last desperate gasp of air as I innocently swung at the gallows.

Is there a purpose for my abandonment? Is this all there is, the final yarn that completes my tapestry of what we call life? If so, what a fool I've been not filling my days with eating and drinking in light-hearted merriment, to not live experiencing all the sensations this body could drink up, killing those before they unjustly killed me. (Being a sheriff in a town of outlaws can be detrimental to one's health.) But no, it seems God has even abandoned me, that part that is so like him, a sliver of the divine, a small spark of his light.

What can I do, what must I do, to free my spirit, my true self, from the grave? To force this mouth and tongue to scream would be futile, knowing the sound will not resonate passed the pine box in which this body lies. To force the arms and fingers to claw at the lid would be senseless as well. The worms would have long ago had their way, finishing their task before the burrowing reached the exterior of the world. Six feet of soil is quite a distance when heavily pressed down upon you. Alas, the tickling of the worms goes on.

***

Looking over this body it appears much time has passed. Bones are starting to protrude from the legs, and jaws on the right side are clearly exposed. I got my teeth knocked out before death came along, so nothing to inventory there. Most of the skin is completely dry now and brittle. I wonder what embalming fluid taste like to these small creatures. From all this observation, you would think that I was putting together an autopsy report for a gravedigger. Now that would be the perfect answer to my dilemma, a gravedigger. However, I was poor in life with no valuables to my name and I am worse off now that I no longer have a body to call my own. Ah, here come the snakes now. Eat hearty my slithering friends.

***

Well, here I lay, nothing but bones and three strains of hair. Oops, better make that two. Odd, I'm hearing a rumbling sound, something I've never heard before. It doesn't resemble a horse and carriage, more like a train that can't decide wither to go or stop. There are small needles of yellow light now threading through the dirt and the decayed lid of the pine box. I try to squeeze through but can't. The rumble has stopped. “Don't stop!” I want to scream, but obviously cannot now that the tongue and lips are gone. The yellow needles disappear and reappear three times over a long span. I wonder if that means the passing of days.

***

The needles are back and I hear a soft brushing noise and clods of dirt start crumbling down around me. The yellow needles are growing larger now. A few more seconds and, there, I'm out! Wow, blue skies, a bright shining sun, and the oddest-looking landscape I have ever seen. The buildings are made of glass and metal, there are horseless wagons with people in them rolling up and down on gray roads with white stripes, and I'm hovering over what looks like some kind of digging going on. There's a sign at the entrance of a fence made from yellow ribbons.

No Trespassing!

Archaeological Dig in Progress for Retrieval of Valuable Artifacts.

Well what do you know poor in life valuable in death. Mr. Bones, enjoy your life of celebrity, I, on the other hand, have a personal bone to pick with the man upstairs.

THE END

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