Body (Buried Series)

The room was dark; the blinds had been closed, the curtains drawn, only a faint light seeped in from the street lamp outside the window. He pushed me inside and shut the door. I could barely breathe. The smell reminded me of potatoes I’d forgotten in a basket on top of my refrigerator. The spuds had begun to sprout and decay, exuding a stench that sent me searching for the raccoon or opossum I was sure had died outside my kitchen window.

He pointed toward the bed. Nearly blind, I patted the mattress, starting at the foot and working my way up, until my hand fell onto a leg that didn’t flinch under my touch. Frozen in fear, still holding onto the stiff limb, I slowly turned toward the headboard where the comforter had been pulled up over the face in the way that doctors pull a white sheet over the body of a person who had just passed away.

He flicked on the overhead light, and I shielded my eyes under the sudden brightness of the room. “Do you really have to see it to know what’s under there?” he said, stuffing his fists into his pockets.

I returned my gaze down to the bed, stared at the outline of the nose and waited for the in and out pump of the covers in the surrounding area, indicating the flow of breath.

“She’s dead,” he said flatly.

“How?” I asked, my voice cracking, sounding like a pubescent boy.

He shrugged his shoulders, avoided my eyes and looked toward the body lying under the covers. “I just…held the pillow over her face…and didn’t let up until she stopped moving.”



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