death-becomes-him-iiDeath Becomes Him II

Some things are better off left alone. Some things won’t go away until you confront them. Some things won’t die until you kill them. Some things you thought were dead return to haunt you born again. Everyday for a calendar year I have been bothered by the visions in my brain. They appear when I am wide awake as vivid as a red drop of blood splashing on a blue sheet of paper. They appear mostly as demons with long shadows exploring walls left to right. A select few appear as life interactions that lead to someones death. These are the visions that make me question my reality. I had a vision last Halloween that I killed a man who was once my brother. He would later kill me in the vision I had directly after. Since then my brother’s keeper has gone missing in real life along with my sanity. How could this be? Have I killed this man and blocked out the memory of it? Am I recalling pieces of a memory of the Halloween night that was? It has been haunting me for three-hundred and sixty-four days. I prayed for protection and the Lord provided me with armor so bright, it didn’t cast a shadow of any kind. Especially the ones demons chose to reside in. And even though my spirit is blessed and my life is prosperous, I insist I know the truth. Is he alive and if not…

Did I kill him?

October 31, 2012 9:53 pm, somewhere on a back road deep inside the Florida glades. My Nissan Titan rumbles over a back road covered in gravel and small stones. Rocks bang against the underbelly, mixing tapping noises with the clanging of the shovel bouncing around in the bed of the truck. The noise doesn’t break my concentration. My mind focuses on the task at hand as I think about what’s at stake here. I am driving to a spot I visited once next to an old barn where I bought my first motorcycle. I’ve always remembered how remote this area was. I always knew that if I ever had to hide money, jewelry or a dead body, I would bury them here. If I shared that with anyone, they may judge me wrong, when it is not their place to do so. For all men have death in the lonely attic of their darkest thoughts. In a few moments I will have my answer. I pull up to the old barn which is abandoned and pitch black even with my headlights on. I hop out of the truck leaving the engine running. I grab the shovel from the truck’s bed along with a pair of gloves and start heading for a line of trees. The fog lights of the truck shine on a small space between two of those trees. I head for the spot and feel a difference of sturdiness in my planted steps. The soil under my feet is not like the rest of this swampy plane. The dirt I stand on appears to be unsettled like the debt that’s owed to the descendants of slaves. If indeed I did kill him, where I now stand is the spot where he rests. With garden gloves on and an iron shovel resting on my shoulder, I pivot my body 360 degrees, to take a look at my spooky surroundings. Everything that is not touched by the beams of the burning head lights is as black as Satan’s soul. Even the moon light struggles to get through the thick fog between the trees.  I swing the shovel for the first time and it cracks the soil in a quest for truth. With every inch of soil that I move to the side, I also dig into my memories. None of them are of me digging this hole in the first place surprisingly, but memories none the less. I remember how my uncles raised me by committee to compensate for my father’s absence. I remember how my blood brother became distant from me just like our father. I remember how much I missed the brotherhood of fellowship when I left home young. That fact bothers me more than my aching arms and shoulders from the persistent motion of digging. I remember living the life of a gypsy, with my family constantly moving from town to town every few seasons. I remember trying to prove myself to my neighborhood brothers that I was worthy to be among them and never being accepted as such. As my memory reaches an epiphany my shovel reaches the unconscionable. I have hit a few stones while slicing through the Floridian dirt, but the noise was not as hallow as this.  Thud was the sound when my shovel came down. The sound was exactly what you would expect from a large box made of pine, meeting the dull tip of an iron spade.

Thud, thud is the sound a pine box should make when it’s filled with death’s vanity. Like white, soft, satin pillowed walls absorbing the echo so that it doesn’t ring hallow. Thud, thud and thud once more, but the sound I hear is no longer coming from my shovel. The sound changes from the dull tip of an iron shovel, to the bony decaying hand of a very dead friend. My mind must be playing tricks on me, but I have to look closer regardless. The headlights from the truck are not enough to pierce the blackness down in the large whole where my boots stand. So I open my cell phone and drop to my knees. The blue light from the phone illuminates the loose dirt, and reveals a flat surface. I brush away at the crumbs with my free hand and feel the thud repeat from the other side as I do so. Fear has got me my by the balls quite literally. It is all I can do to not empty my bladder right here on his coffin. Ironically, pissing on his grave is exactly how I felt last year. The knocking stops for a time, I put my phone back in my pocket and I sit at the edge of the grave to gather my thoughts. Without the light of my phone the grave again becomes a pit of black nothingness. Then the epiphany hits me again same as the shovel striking pine. Regardless of this reality, I put myself in this position. I was so obsessed with having a brotherhood, that I broke my back to prove I was worthy of his circle, without having him prove he was worthy of being in mine. Killed him or not, just thinking of him has me in this ugly place. Of course the thought of this being a dream as it was before is inconsequential for my soul. I still wanted to kill this man period end. This is a shame because there was a time that I laid my life on the line for the sake of his justice. Perhaps this is another dream that is reminding me of how important it is to not look back. Or even better, a lesson to have not faith in man but in God. But if in fact this is another case of the Grim Reaper riding with the infamous Mr. Sandman, why is the smell of rotting flesh so pungent to me? Why can I taste the stench in the back of my throat to the point where my stomach and back want to touch with repeated heaves? Why is it that the “thud” from the coffin in the blackness beginning to ring again?  Oh… I know how this ends. This is a dream about letting go. It isn’t my dead friend that is powerful enough to torment me. It is the power of my own thoughts. If I continue on the path of regret I will always have a version of this dream. I have no doubt that should I persist in doubting myself and my abilities that the Devil will win. My dead friend in the box represents a life lesson, and like the pain or not, he represents God’s will. Should I continue to sit on the edge of this grave where our friendship died, he will no doubt spring from his coffin and grab me by my throat yelling “Happy Halloween” Repeating the nightmares from before. To break the cycle I must hurry…

     With the fervor of John Henry himself, I cover the grave back with the dirt I removed. Slowly but surely the smell of rotten meat starts to fade. My muscles ache as if its real, my lungs scream for air doing the same but I must hurry. We create our own hell with the amount of joy we allow to get stolen from us. To look at the face of a corpse who no longer matters, is more painful to the living than a friendship that is dead. As I pass the halfway mark of the dirt left to shovel, the fog lifts from the hallowed ground. The moisture starts making way for the sunlight to reflect on its dew. The birds one by one start to sing a song. The grave is completely covered now and the rising Sun never seemed so promising. I throw my shovel in the woods along with my gloves and start my drive back to Georgia. I am kind of upset that I haven’t awakened from this dream yet. It’s typical of a team that’s winning to want the clock to run out on the game. Then I get the break I’ve been waiting for. My phone starts ringing and I have no doubt that if I answer it in this sleep world, I will wake up in the next. But I am a fool. I am a fool because I am really asleep behind the wheel, exhausted from shoveling dirt all night. I have no idea that I’m about to die. My dead friend does though, and his spirit pays me a little visit. The smell of rotted flesh suddenly fills the cabin of the truck. He is in the back seat. He hands me the phone with that same bony decaying hand he was using to knock on his coffin door. I look in the rear-view mirror into his rotted face and he seems almost to be smiling at me. As my truck bleeds over the double yellow lines into a head-on collision with a semi in the real world, his haunting, spirit screams…

“HAPPY HALLOWEEN!”

In the spirit world.