A TRICKLE OF WATER
by JOSEPH J. PATCHEN
o matter how much I wash I cannot quite get all the dirt out from under my fingernails. No matter how hard I scrub I just cannot get all of the soil out from the crevices and cracks in my skin.
Yet the blood simply rinses off. No effort required. Whether wet, sticky or dry it does not matter; the blood rinses freely from my hands with just a trickle of water.
The night was cold and the deeper I dug, the colder it seemed to get. Thank the Dear Lord it is only autumn and the ground has yet to freeze. I was not equipped for a concrete earth. I had to dig by hand, otherwise I would have to wait until the spring.
I do not think I could have waited.
I did not sweat much. I had thought I would have sweated more. My face, body and clothes were only dampened with a small amount of perspiration, less than all the dirt and blood.
The digging went quickly. Maybe it was the new moon. Movement is freer in the dark; less chance of being seen. Amazingly, it is almost two a.m. and I would have bet you yesterday that I would still be at it by three or so.
But here I am, in the warmth of my residence, washing clean, and while I feel the full stinging and burning of soap and water against the cuts and scrapes earned for my endeavors, I am so relaxed.
I did not realize I was this nicked. It was not carelessness, but then again I remember little of the toil involved in emptying her grave. Motivated and in a trance, so to speak, the actual manual labor was as light as a dream in the warm sun right up to the point of my release on her skull. That alone was truly just as exhilarating as I had hoped.
She looked as beautiful tonight as she must have in life.
The feeling is coming back. My digits can flex again now that they soaked sufficiently in the warm soup of disinfectant.
I am revived again.
The stinging pains from the tears in my flesh have now been replaced with an intense itch. Each slit and puncture has erupted with an all-encompassing sensation I actually revel in. As I attempt to dress my wounds, my hands are outlined in a dark and craggy gilding; an outward reminder I shall proudly carry for the next several days.
Her grave has been filled, and since the cemetery is aged and in ruins, those who remember her must already be in her company; so who would actually care?
Joseph J. Patchen's writings have appeared throughout cyberspace and print. He lives in Milford, Connecticut with his wife, four rescue dogs and one rescue parakeet. His website is josephjpatchen.weebly.com
The authors published at HelloHorror retain all rights to their work. For permission to quote from a particular piece, or to reprint, contact the editors who will forward the request. All content on the web site is protected under copyright law.