Upon the forest floor the thoughts of the dead linger amongst their remains.

Image Credit: 
Public Domain

I walked through the forest and saw your face in the trees. It followed me even though I asked it not to. I hid for days in places I thought you could not find me, but you always did. That’s when I started to really see who you were, you were the blood in my veins, the voice in my head and the bastard who wouldn’t let me go. Your face became more haunting within the distorted trees, whose leaves and branches would cross over so quickly that I would always lose sight of you. Crowding me, even in darkness, I had to remove you from me. So I cut you out slowly with knives I made myself. My Kidney. My Appendix. My Heart. Each organ at a time until I lay amongst the foliage. You bled out of me and I was finally allowed to go home. I lay there for days with a smile on my face. Crows sat upon me, gathering their friends, picking at what was left of you within me. It never did hurt too much, it was probably the excitement of the whole ordeal being over.

Gradually the winds became more frequent and aggressive, forcing the trees to abandon their leaves that passed over me like pixies venturing into the night on wild stallions. I was left with lank wooden fingers hanging over me while they creaked lullabies throughout the night. Each day I was encased by the leaves who were not able to flee so quickly. They started to rot below me and I could feel my bed become softer as my half-rotten corpse sunk into theirs. I was picked at by any passer-by that would have me, they enjoyed my cold flesh and muscle ripping between their teeth. However, as the leaves rotted below me more frequently and the lank wooden fingers remained, each creature seemed to go someplace else. Finally the occasional morning song that the darkling thrush could not seem to resist only ever greeted me. His curious eyes flicked light upon me as his tiny feet clicked over my bones while he sang and danced only for me. One bitterly cold morning, as the sun crept through the lowest points of the trees, snow began to fall. As I noticed the soft flakes fall from the sky the bitter cold seemed to warm itself with a welcoming expression. It placed itself upon my bones more gently than you ever kissed my lips. That was when I realised…I am loved. In this moment I am shrunken, hollow and cold, but a moistened angel falling upon me so delicately lets me know that I am loved. Intimately we lay together, sacred and forever. Until one day a child fell around my legs to uncover my bones. Screaming to his parents, “Something horrible is over there.” I was shocked.

After all, I created such a masterpiece out of the broken body you left behind. I had given myself to the ground while it encased me as I healed and eventually it turned me into an expressionless trail of cold, rough and dusty bones. The animals even seemed to admire me so much that they left me to display myself as I wanted, while it was only the birds who entertained me. Now I was being degraded by three sets of wide eyes and open jaws.

“It’s definitely human,” she said… “Don’t look darling!”

The child hid in his mother’s coat.

“I’m going to call the police,” said the man.

The woman used her hand to shield her child’s face even more so than her coat did as she looked down at me. Her expression was fixed upon where mine did not appear. Her mouth wider than the vastest of landscapes, her eyes glazed with such fear that I could barely see her pupils and her chest rising and falling more rapidly than the winter’s rough tide. She did not move from this stance until her husband returned from making the call. As he appeared from the milky darkness that the sunset had begun to create I knew that my time here was over.

That night was the darkest night I had ever experienced in the forest. If the blackness could have folded into itself and out again not a single thing would have flinched. Such an extraordinary sight. I lay in silence trying to preserve every feeling the place gave me. Feeling the rotting foliage beneath me I took in the way it pressed against my cold bones to almost warm them against the cold winds which blew through the trees. Each time they creaked me a lullaby and let their branches move so swiftly that they could have been dancing too. I had not seen a creature for a long while among the area which I lay but that night I heard all kinds of paws running around me to eventually settle. Squeaks and whines came from the creatures who seemed to sit around me in a circle and that’s when I heard the wings of many birds break the air with an elegant urgency. Resting upon the branches on the trees they chirped and squawked. All the while I could hear my darkling thrush among them who seemed to be singing the most melancholy song that had ever graced my presence. I don’t know how long they sung to me for but I wanted to be able to do something in order to make myself stay.

As the sun rose I saw the snow almost pour into my bones as it melted so rapidly. I almost felt it run away from me. Sun rays lit them up so delightfully that they seemed to glow, but this morning they only exposed me to the officers arriving at the scene. I was interrogated by their latex covered fingers and could not do a single thing as they all stood around me, discussing what might have happened. Not a single one of them considered how I would feel about them carelessly moving me about like I was something to work out. I could not work out why, if the animals knew why I was there, they could not see it also. One of them derived that it was homicide. My masterpiece, my creation… Slowly, they began to take me apart. I had spent so long putting myself back together and they could not see what I had created. I began to think it was because they did not see what you had done to me. How you tore me apart from flesh, to muscle and bone while all I did was get lost in the fucked-up optimism that came from desperation. They did not see how I laid myself here to escape the vulgar way you picked at my brain with your cast iron teeth and the way you followed me through every sunlit garden I ever tried to hide in. So eventually each part of me sat in a separate bag piled one upon another inside a case marked ‘evidence.’

Gently, at least, they laid me out on a metal table and this time I really did feel the cold pierce through my bones. I saw them try to put me back together, but it wasn’t the same… They did not see that I was magnificent in the way I had fallen. I was left with a woman whose latex hands inspected me again and again. Routinely she cleaned my bones and soaked them in bleach, which made them look so delicate and pure, almost sickly. Dried out, she took one of my bones. Not a single bit of fat remained and as she carved into it I saw the last fire burn out.

“I can’t find anything on the system,” she said aloud.

I tried to reach out to myself but I could not touch a single thing. I did not know where I was going to end up but all I knew was that I had been taken apart again. Helpless I lay there for a few more hours until somebody came, with their latex hands, to bag me up and pile me on top of myself inside that same case. I think it was some kind of evidence vault that I was put into. I am not so sure, but I’ve been here for a while now. I do not have any part of nature here to comfort me, animals do not admire me so much that they leave me the way I fell and my darkling thrush is no longer here to entertain me. I am bleached and dried, hauled up in a silent darkened vault with no one to admire me. Each day I take myself back to the place where I laid so beautifully. Delicately wonderful upon the dying leaves, protected from you by the lank wooden fingers overhanging from the trees and admired by every creature who wishes to pass me. I see my darkling thrush waiting for me, his eyes twitching with light exposing his melancholy wondering. He only sings when the sun rises now… When the milky blue of the morning still lets him think that I may be laid bare where I once was.

Kirsty-Louise is a published author and poet with a BA hons in English Literature. Working as a Secondary English Teacher, dog walks on the coast, and reading books pass her time in Ramsgate & Margate.

Join the Discussion

Please ensure all comments abide by the Thanet Writers Comments Policy

Add a Comment