Sunday, November 13, 2011
Under His Thumbnail
It was dead, of that I was certain.
I saw how it was butchered. I cringed as it wailed in pain. And even more at the gurgling sound it made, as it drowned in its own blood. Life spilled and seeped into the earth, and it gradually faded. Then it just lay there, unmoving.
For good measure, the man with the bloodied hands came back with a hammer and hit it on its head. Neither one flinched. Then the hammer came down a second time. I inched closer after the man left and nudged it lightly with my foot. Not a twitch.
I knelt beside it and stared at its young and beautiful face. What a waste, I thought to myself. Only the shock of what I witnessed kept me from breaking down. A makeshift grave, a quick burial, I patted down even the memory of it beneath the fresh earth.
"Are you sure it's dead?" the man asked again, bringing me back to the present. Behind him, I thought I saw the ground shift. Something stirred, though imperceptibly, underneath. He reached out to touch my face, and I trembled at the sight of caked rust under his fingernails.
I shoved the man aside and threw myself on the ground. I plowed through the dirt with my bare hands until i found what I buried over a decade ago. I grabbed the closest piece of rock that i could find and started pounding. When I finally stopped, I couldn't see with all the dust I stirred up.
I stood up, dusted myself, and went back to the man who was still there, waiting for my response.
"Yes. It is dead."
photo from here