I have always found dead bodies particularly fascinating. This is especially true when it is a lonely summer night in the middle of the desert and the corpse happens to belong to some blonde skank who gave me attitude in a bar last Thursday. For once I could say it wasn’t my doing, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the sight of thousands of tiny, white newborns nursing on her cadaver.
It was the smell that had led me to her, the sweet scent of decay wafting on the desert breeze, drawing me to the ditch where her body had been carefully laid out. I liked the way the moon lit the scene for me and the way her true-blue miniskirt was bunched up around her waist, legs spread, arms thrown above her head, blouse ripped open, partially baring once supple breasts to the night sky. Mostly though, it was the look on her face, her eyes a serene milky blue, staring off into the sky above and her obscenely gaping mouth with its whore’s red paint smeared across the boundaries of lips to chin and cheek.
Maggots decorated her crudely exposed flesh; ravenous, wriggling beads with their moist bodies glistening jewel-like in the light.
“The latest, edgiest trend in post-mortem fashion,” I mocked in my best computerized Jane voice as I pulled my phone from my pocket and snapped a picture of her. “You’d simply die to get it!” I turned to greet the man who had attempted to sneak up behind me, the shovel in his hands poised in the air still while his jaw fell open and his eyes widened.
“She yours?” I asked calmly, jerking my head toward the ditch in which she lay. The man, tall, thin, and balding with a pair of outdate wire framed glasses perched precariously on the brink of his large nose and a rumpled plaid button-up, lowered the shovel, apparently unable to attack when face to face with what he had thought would be his next victim, and then nodded with a dazed look across his face.
“What are you doing out here?” He rasped after clearing his throat, his discomfort with my presence and intrusion obvious even in the dim of the night.
“I like your work.” I said in lieu of answering his question. It amused me to see the moisture beading along his brow and the subtle way his eyes flicked to and fro, perhaps searching for an escape route, or a another weapon.
“Are you a cop miss?” I chuckled when he asked me this, and shook my head.
“Would we be having this conversation if I was?”
“No, I guess not.” For a moment I just stared at him, unblinking and with a broad grin plastered on my face, letting him wonder, letting him fidget until he finally snapped.“So why are you here then?”
I glanced back at the dead girl, cocked my head to one side, then the other, before replying:
“I don’t know, but I guess, since I am here, I could help you bury her.” To his puzzled expression I motioned to the shovel in his hand, “That is why you brought the shovel right? To bury her?” He nodded slowly but didn’t move, so I came to him and took it out of his hands. “We can take turns digging.”
After about an hour, my as of yet unnamed companion seemed to relax, and was standing over the ditch, staring down at his work with mild disappointment. If I had to guess, I would have assumed that he wished she would have lasted longer and possibly didn’t share my love of decay.
“I tried to save her,” He said out of the blue, “but she was beyond redemption.”
“No arguments here.” Came my grunted response as I stepped out of the hole I’d dug and handed him the shovel. The look that he gave me then said a lot about what he thought of me, and I smiled back at him as if oblivious of his desire to end me the same way he had done her in. Let him try, I thought with an inward smirk, he’d figure out the difference between me and her quick enough.
I sat along the edge of the ditch, my feet hanging down just a couple inches away from the body. If I had wanted to, I could have nudged her white flesh with the toe of my boot, but a slight movement to the right caught my attention. From behind a small desert scrub emerged a scorpion. She was a nearly half a foot in length, yellow, furry, and her back was covered with a multitude of slightly lighter-colored offspring. I found this to be even more interesting than the dead girl, and moving slowly so as not to scare her off I turned toward this magnificent, venomous queen and her young, bracing my upper half on my forearms and lowering my face to her level.
“Hello there.” I whispered to her, thinking it impressive that she proudly bore her children on her back, unlike the motherless maggots still gorging themselves a few feet away whose parents left them in a hunk of dead meat and then moved on to copulate and produce even more bastards. She was a shining example of motherhood, something I would never have to live up to seeing as I lacked the womb characteristic of my sex.
My musings over her had distracted me the no longer present sounds of digging. If I’d been paying attention I would have heard his approach, and maybe the faint whistle of the shovels blade as he swung, but I hadn’t and so was interrupted instead by metal crashing into my skull from above. A brief, but sharp pain resonated through my head and after hitting me the first time he pulled back and reared for another one. I didn’t give him the chance to swing again, and was on my feet quick enough to stop the shovel mid-swing with my hand. I let him try vainly to yank the tool from my grip; it would have been amusing had he not just tried to kill me. With a forceful jerk of my own I ripped the shovel away from him and he fell backwards into the ditch containing the rotting corpse. The sound that came from his mouth as he landed with a loud squelch was a cross between a moan and a high pitched shriek. Scratch my earlier comment, it was still very funny.
I hit him over the head with the shovel, not a fatal blow, but enough to knock him out, and considered it poetic justice. Doubly so when I dragged him and his victim into the hole he’d conveniently finished digging. By the time I’d finished shoveling dirt on the pair I was in a delightful way and was sure to say good bye to momma scorpion before heading in the direction my soon to be deceased friend had come from. His car wasn’t too far away; I hacked into its computer and reset the controls to manual. It would have been easier to use my Spec. Ops access card to override his account, but its activity is tracked by the military and they would have asked a lot of questions like why I was out in the desert and why did I highjack someone else’s vehicle and where is the owner of the vehicle you commandeered? I really couldn’t afford another suspension after that incident in the hospital, they were already threatening to take away my card and make me do grunt work for a year.
Darkness Reigns: 01.2 Joyride