Bed of Black

He stands waist high in a long ago genocide.

 

Holding his arms out to the side.

He wades through broken strings of vertebrae.

Looks up.

Skulls on Pikes

Skulls on pikes.

Warn those who seek.

Stop.

Do not enter.

Some things are better left unremembered.

He shuts his eyes.

Seals them tight.

His personality is pushed aside.

He moves his mouth.

Words that are not his own come out.

“Why are you here?”

“We had a pact.”

“We agreed.”

“You were never to come back here.”

He places a hand on his Pac Man shirt.

Feels the print’s gravel topography.

The slight drop in elevation.

Then the smooth of the cotton.

He moves his finger along the line of textural transition.

Outlines the print.

Repeats.

Under his breath.

The name of his pets.

“Ginger, Jimbo, Muffin, Tiger.”

His personality slowly shoves back.

Drawing upon on a heretofore untapped reservoir of strength.

He opens his eyes.

Lowers his arms.

Runs his fingers along tusks and horns.

Caresses one skull.

Then another.

skull

Spirits rise from the remains.

Bugs.

Birds.

Beasts of all kinds.

They get on the move.

Do not wait.

There is too much to investigate.

They run.

Fly.

Swing.

Swim.

Climb.

They are wild.

Free.

Loose.

Together.

They dig in the dirt.

Dive the depths.

Wade through the thickets.

Sniff the air.

One of them catches a scent.

It alert the others.

All come running.

Gather around.

They hoot.

Grunt.

Whoop.

Stomp.

Trumpet.

Haw.

A caw comes from above.

Off they go.

Chasing a racing green line.

It bends over the horizon.

He reaches out to follow.

They hurdle.

Duck under.

Climb through his fingers.

He giggles.

A black wave reverberates.

They skid.

Rear up.

Scatter.

Flee.

Dissipate.

Just like that.

He stands in what’s left.

Weeps.

Sinks.

Chest.

Shoulders.

Neck.

He tilts back his head.

Bones tumble down.

Cover his face.

Dust crumbles into his mouth.

He swallows decay.

Loss swells his belly.

Quickens his descent.

Back down through the billowing mist.

He falls flat on his back.

Onto a no-post undersized bed.

A pillow catches his head

A bronze door knob turns.

The Room

Darkness walks into the windowless room.

Unfolds a blanket.

Tucks him in.

Mist swirls on the ceiling.

He squints.

Something is tracking his descent.

It undulates.

Picks up speed.

Darkness leans in.

Smiles.

Talks sweet.

Whispers “Go back to sleep.”

His eyelids close.

Open back up.

He studies the ceiling.

No swirling mist.

No posters.

No glow in the dark star stickers.

Smooth.

Low.

Patternless.

Here you are.

There is nowhere else.

He goes to sleep.

Darkness leaves.

Closes the door slowly.

Presses it firmly against its frame.

Listens for the latch bolt to catch.

Click.

It does.

The room goes black.

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