Burying the Dead

The mud’s sticky, refusing to leave my fingers no matter how hard I brush them together. My shoulders ache. I should have dumped her overboard; it would have been so much easier.

That wasn’t true though. There was easy and then there was easy.

Easy was slipping the knife between ribs I’d spent the better part of twenty years sleeping next to. Easy was dumping her in the boot and then dragging her up to the tree. But saying good-bye, without sweat, without work? That wasn’t easy.


I’d need soap, and hot water. It was gonna stick beneath the nails though.


She’d always wanted to be buried. We used to talk about it, when we talked. Just like we talked about the tree, about how we met, about how we kissed, about so many things.

Oww, bloody tree roots. God, feels like I’ve just broken my toe. How big is this sodding thing?

She used to say the tree was haunted, the home of some long-dead witch, burned within sight of it for knowing things no ‘holy’ person should know. She said a lot of things, most of them spiteful, or degrading, and most of them at me. She never spoke to me, it was always at me.

Oww, another root. Now it’s my sodding knee as well, could do without the mud on my trousers, got enough blood to clean from the sheets when I get home.


The roots are moving. How are they moving?


The tree looks bigger, which is weird, ‘cause I’ve been walking away from it for the last ten minutes. So what’s the loose soil all about? This is where I buried her.  I have been walking away, I must have been, but this is where I buried her.


Hands back in the soil, reaching down deep. I need to see her, I have to see her. The roots are rising, climbing like worms after a night’s hard rain, climbing over my boots.


I’m never going to get this mud off.


God, the thing’s wrapped around my leg, what the hell is happening? Where’s my shovel, I could hit it, where is it? It’s nowhere, not that I can see. I must have brought it though, to dig the grave.

There’s no loose soil here, my hands are digging into firm mud. But I buried her, I buried her.

The root’s pulling me, god, it’s agony, my foot…


Blacked out for a moment, there.


Can’t feel anything below my waist, probably a good thing, considering what it looks like. Can’t feel my arm either, or see it much below my shoulder. I can hear something, someone, chanting.

Sylvie, what are you doing here? I buried you, didn’t I? I can’t remember now, just getting in the car, driving.

Where’s my shovel?


Maybe a nail brush, one with stiff bristles.


There’s mud in my mouth.





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