- Vol. 01
- Chapter 05
Image by Denise Nestor
Third from the bottomThere's that smell of blood; old, thick, sour. You had been still for a while, your breaths sucked back into your bodies, your lives pissed into the soil on which we lay piled like mummies in a pyramid. Only, I was wasn't dead enough; the odd man out.
Most days, I wake up with that red smell lodged in my nose, seeping into my sinuses, making my tongue feel salted and meaty. I was third from the bottom, second from top, tucked in the middle of your unfamiliar bodies. You were warm at first, then you stiffened above me and under me. All I had to do was take one deep breath, and you - the one on top of me - would topple off my back. But as the men walked past, prodding dead limbs with borrowed guns, eager to find a flesh still twitching, you seem to grow heavier, pinning me to the others like brothers meeting after years. The white of your eyes looking at the yellow sky seemed to please them; they moved on. What would your mothers think of me? This man, undead, covered in their sons' sieved bodies. Pretending; while guns sang and bullets found their way into deep places, between shoulder blades and in the guts of better men.
I'm alive, still. Still alive. But when I sleep on my bed, I'm always third from the bottom, second from top. I'm between you, my brothers. Pretending to sleep like the dead.