“Just put the spade down please and come back inside, we can sort out the hole tomorrow.”
Her voice sounded tired, jaded even, as though she had seen this behaviour a thousand times before and just wanted this particular charade to be over with. Which, in truth, she did. She had her boyfriend to meet, holidays to ponder over.
“No, you know I want to do this, I want to bury myself, just for a bit! I have to know what physical death feels like, where we lie in the ground for eternity. Besides mam said you can’t interfere with me anymore ’cause of Dr Johnson’s orders!”
There was a faint hint of glee in the upswing of that last word.
It was true, the quack had said that James must ride out his emotions that, given the situation wasn’t life threatening, he should be able to act out what he said he wanted to do.
At this point I had given up and I could hear their continuing conversation drifting up from the back garden through the open window. I’d retired to my room to drink in the solace of it, the place where I had lived for nearly 25 years before finally moving myself on.
I had known for a while that I needed to leave, that James’s dramas could take care of themselves and that he was as alright as he was ever was going to be. It had struck mam and dad particularly hard that one, knowing that he’d need care, not constant but enough to keep them on their toes. I’d done my part of course, I’d helped around the house, kept him company as I searched for a job, but we had agreed that I needed to move cities to find chance of work in my area. This city wasn’t dying but it wasn’t exactly going through a boom cycle either. There was a comfortable constant turn over of both jobs and people, so that the faces and policies in the local administration changed enough but not too fast to upset the local citizens.
“I’m doing it! I’m pouring the soil over myself!”
I peeped over to the edge of the open window and saw that James was indeed lying supine in his homemade burial, carefully pushing the clumps of soil over his lower half. He seemed content, happy even. His body was slowly being reclaimed by the cold earth of home.
He wasn’t overly fond of the insects and arachnids that made the soils and grasses their homes, but he’d put up with them if they wriggled and scuttled away from his thrashing actions. Worms in particular fascinated him though, the flesh coloured tube of life dancing on his palm before he chucked them clean away, free to carry on their tunneling lifestyle.
It wouldn’t last long of course, he’d come to his senses and wriggle himself free of the pitifully small amount of soil that he’d managed to cover himself in and come screaming back into the house, tearing his body this way and that.