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How could I be so stupid? How could this have happened? It seemed so natural, so right, so easy.  Now here I stood in our living room, on a cold hardwood floor, staring out the picture window, lost in the inky-blue of a darkening rooms. An ink blue which obscured the real life colors. It wasn’t dark enough to turn on the light, but not light enough for reading.
+
How could I be so stupid? How could this have happened? It seemed so natural, so right, so easy. Now here I stood in our living room, on a cold hardwood floor, staring out the picture window, lost in the inky-blue of a darkening rooms. An ink blue which obscured the real life colors. It wasn’t dark enough to turn on the light, but not light enough for reading.
   
 
I didn't want to turn on the light. I secretly feared it would chase the sun behind the horizon.
 
I didn't want to turn on the light. I secretly feared it would chase the sun behind the horizon.
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So, I stood here, shirtless, unmoving.
 
So, I stood here, shirtless, unmoving.
   
Before me, through the window, I could see the evening galvanized into the gloomy light.  I could see my lawn. It was not cut. I had allowed it to grow lush. A testament to the recent rain we received.  Straight ahead was a strip of road, splitting the view in half.  On the opposite side I could see the cornfield.  It rose up from the ditch into the knot of hills in the distance.  To my left I could see the elderly oak, along with an ivy-lined barb-wire fence, it  eclipsed the view of my neighbor’s house. The boughs of the oak tree appeared as a mash of shadow and form, but I knew the branches were there, supporting a rope swing.
+
Before me, through the window, I could see the evening galvanized into the gloomy light. I could see my lawn. It was not cut. I had allowed it to grow lush. A testament to the recent rain we received. Straight ahead was a strip of road, splitting the view in half. On the opposite side I could see the cornfield. It rose up from the ditch into the knot of hills in the distance. To my left I could see the elderly oak, along with an ivy-lined barb-wire fence, it eclipsed the view of my neighbor’s house. The boughs of the oak tree appeared as a mash of shadow and form, but I knew the branches were there, supporting a rope swing.
   
 
What would the neighbors think if they saw me now? What would they say? Would they scream? Would they call the police? The paramedics?
 
What would the neighbors think if they saw me now? What would they say? Would they scream? Would they call the police? The paramedics?
   
Yes, they were good people.  They would.
+
Yes, they were good people. They would.
   
Shame washed over me again.  Stinging moisture grew in the corner of my eye. I instinctively reached up to wipe it away, but my hand struck the red handle, and my hand retracted as if it had touched a live wire.
+
Shame washed over me again. Stinging moisture grew in the corner of my eye. I instinctively reached up to wipe it away, but my hand struck the red handle, and my hand retracted as if it had touched a live wire.
   
 
The moisture in my eyes bloated into a tear and streaked down my cheek.
 
The moisture in my eyes bloated into a tear and streaked down my cheek.
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Oh, what if my wife saw me now? What would she say? What would she do? Would she be so horrified she would run away?
 
Oh, what if my wife saw me now? What would she say? What would she do? Would she be so horrified she would run away?
   
I stood in silence again, and allowed the slick tear to collect on my collar bone.  I listened to the insect-like tick of the second hand of the clock in the hallway. It mechanically ate away at the remainder of the day. I took several heavy, quivering breaths before I finally found the courage to reach up again with my hand.
+
I stood in silence again, and allowed the slick tear to collect on my collar bone. I listened to the insect-like tick of the second hand of the clock in the hallway. It mechanically ate away at the remainder of the day. I took several heavy, quivering breaths before I finally found the courage to reach up again with my hand.
   
I could feel the cool evening air crawl around my hand as I drew my trembling hand up, moving like it was in slow motion.  My hand finally found courage in spite of me, seeking out the protrusion from my neck.  My hand wrapped around the red handle.  I could feel its weight in my palm.  I  flexed my fingers, feeling the sweat building a layer between my skin and the smooth, plastic handle.
+
I could feel the cool evening air crawl around my hand as I drew my trembling hand up, moving like it was in slow motion. My hand finally found courage in spite of me, seeking out the protrusion from my neck. My hand wrapped around the red handle. I could feel its weight in my palm. I  flexed my fingers, feeling the sweat building a layer between my skin and the smooth, plastic handle.
   
Oh, how I knew this handle.  I could feel its weight against my palm.  My index finger snaked from the handle to the metal which protruded from it.  My finger followed along the curving bar.  It inched along until it found the meaning of the metal, the purpose.  I felt the serrated edges, like teeth of a tiny predator.
+
Oh, how I knew this handle. I could feel its weight against my palm. My index finger snaked from the handle to the metal which protruded from it. My finger followed along the curving bar. It inched along until it found the meaning of the metal, the purpose. I felt the serrated edges, like teeth of a tiny predator.
   
How many times did I see the hacksaw in my garage workshop, hung up on the peg board like a trophy next to the screw drivers, the crescent wrench, the vise-grips, the pliers?  How many times had I lifted it off with a clacking sound. How many times I had I used it, to cut a pipe, a metal bar, a padlock from the shed?
+
How many times did I see the hacksaw in my garage workshop, hung up on the peg board like a trophy next to the screw drivers, the crescent wrench, the vise-grips, the pliers? How many times had I lifted it off with a clacking sound. How many times I had I used it, to cut a pipe, a metal bar, a padlock from the shed?
   
 
What went through my mind this evening as I had lifted it from the board, the other tools clacking in unison?
 
What went through my mind this evening as I had lifted it from the board, the other tools clacking in unison?
   
What was I thinking as the teeth pressed against the soft of my skin?  What compelled me to the draw those teeth, dragging them across the surface of body, ripping up flesh as the hand drew back again for a second draw?  My arm pumped on, the saw blade lashing at my flesh, biting into the stringy, rubbery muscles. The sickening feeling of flesh and fluid moving across the blade. It slashed into the cartilage of my larynx with an opening, wet sound, like clams caught in a grinder. 
+
What was I thinking as the teeth pressed against the soft of my skin? What compelled me to the draw those teeth, dragging them across the surface of body, ripping up flesh as the hand drew back again for a second draw? My arm pumped on, the saw blade lashing at my flesh, biting into the stringy, rubbery muscles. The sickening feeling of flesh and fluid moving across the blade. It slashed into the cartilage of my larynx with an opening, wet sound, like clams caught in a grinder. 
   
 
What demon possessed me as my hand repeatedly pumped, faster and faster until the realization snapped into place?
 
What demon possessed me as my hand repeatedly pumped, faster and faster until the realization snapped into place?
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I was sawing through my neck.
 
I was sawing through my neck.
   
The blade passed nearly halfway through my neck, millimeters, I'm sure from my spine.  No blood coursed out. No blood pumped out in red arcs. No flesh dropped away like wood chips. What was wrong with me? Was I human anymore?
+
The blade passed nearly halfway through my neck, millimeters, I'm sure from my spine. No blood coursed out. No blood pumped out in red arcs. No flesh dropped away like wood chips. What was wrong with me? Was I human anymore?
   
 
It didn't feel real. I must be dreaming, I thought. I had to be!
 
It didn't feel real. I must be dreaming, I thought. I had to be!
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And I stopped.
 
And I stopped.
   
And there I stood.  The light of the day was playing over my sweaty, heated skin.  Pin-point stars began to twinkle, heralding dusk.
+
And there I stood. The light of the day was playing over my sweaty, heated skin. Pin-point stars began to twinkle, heralding dusk.
   
 
''Wish I will. Wish I might....''
 
''Wish I will. Wish I might....''
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How could I face anyone. My family, my friends. How would they ever understand the madness which overtook me. 
 
How could I face anyone. My family, my friends. How would they ever understand the madness which overtook me. 
   
My wife would soon be home from town.  She would pull up in the van, and after the squeak and close of her driver's door, she would push through the storm door, crinkling a brown paper bag, calling out my name.
+
My wife would soon be home from town. She would pull up in the van, and after the squeak and close of her driver's door, she would push through the storm door, crinkling a brown paper bag, calling out my name.
   
 
She would find me here.
 
She would find me here.
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Damaged.
 
Damaged.
   
Fear gripped my mind, blinding me. In my fear, I scrambled through the house, tripping over furniture, my toes finding the edge of chairs.  I burst from the front doors, the screen door barking in protest.  I leaped onto the front lawn, feeling the instant cool of the gathering dew.  I could feel the hacksaw in my neck, bouncing the red handle off my collar bone as I ran. I bounded onto the black tarmac.  I lost my balance, dropping to the blacktop, my fingers smarting against the tarmac. I could feel the aching heat it retained from the sun.
+
Fear gripped my mind, blinding me. In my fear, I scrambled through the house, tripping over furniture, my toes finding the edge of chairs. I burst from the front doors, the screen door barking in protest. I leaped onto the front lawn, feeling the instant cool of the gathering dew. I could feel the hacksaw in my neck, bouncing the red handle off my collar bone as I ran. I bounded onto the black tarmac. I lost my balance, dropping to the blacktop, my fingers smarting against the tarmac. I could feel the aching heat it retained from the sun.
   
 
Panic gripped me again as a new light fell upon me. I looked up to see headlights bearing down on me, casting a gleam off the blade of the saw.
 
Panic gripped me again as a new light fell upon me. I looked up to see headlights bearing down on me, casting a gleam off the blade of the saw.
   
I was a like a deer, mesmerized and terrified to the core.  I shouted a one-word encouragement to force myself into an upright position and dove into the opposite ditch  just as the car and its blaring horn rushed by me.  I rolled down the bank, my knee skinning on a rock or crushed aluminum can.
+
I was a like a deer, mesmerized and terrified to the core. I shouted a one-word encouragement to force myself into an upright position and dove into the opposite ditch just as the car and its blaring horn rushed by me. I rolled down the bank, my knee skinning on a rock or crushed aluminum can.
  +
  +
I laid there, my eyes upturned to the sky above. It was aloof to my condition, uncaring. More stars appeared, twinkling madly. As tears welled in my eyes, blurring the stars into cobweb blotches, I struck out at the dried, dead weeds and loose twigs, fighting off sobs. As they subsided, my eyes focused on the forest of cornfield.
   
I laid there, my eyes upturned to the sky above. It was aloof to my condition, uncaring.  More stars appeared, twinkling madly.  As tears welled in my eyes, blurring the stars into cobweb blotches, I struck out at the dried, dead weeds and loose twigs, fighting off sobs.  As they subsided, my eyes focused on the forest of cornfield.
 
 
With a newfound energy, I stood and dove into the cornfield.  I sucked at the air. New moistness gathered in my eyes. I was howling, crying as I flew through the corn rows.
 
With a newfound energy, I stood and dove into the cornfield.  I sucked at the air. New moistness gathered in my eyes. I was howling, crying as I flew through the corn rows.
   
 
They can't find me like this! They can't!
 
They can't find me like this! They can't!
   
The sharp edges of the corn leaves lashed at me as I pushed through.  Vertigo reeled in the pit of my stomach. My head throbbed as I passed through the repeating plants.  The rows of corn were never ending, casting their evening dew on me until I was slick with the mixture of their moisture and my tears and sweat.
+
The sharp edges of the corn leaves lashed at me as I pushed through. Vertigo reeled in the pit of my stomach. My head throbbed as I passed through the repeating plants. The rows of corn were never ending, casting their evening dew on me until I was slick with the mixture of their moisture and my tears and sweat.
   
 
The row threatened an eternity of green, silent stalks, webbing into darkness.
 
The row threatened an eternity of green, silent stalks, webbing into darkness.
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Pulling my hands away, I knew it was too late. No one would understand. I could not go back. The damage could not be undone. There was only one thing left to do.
 
Pulling my hands away, I knew it was too late. No one would understand. I could not go back. The damage could not be undone. There was only one thing left to do.
   
I grasped the handle of the saw with both hands, and taking a deep breath, I felt the draft of air draw through the new opening in my neck.  I pulled back in a decisive stroke, the teeth spoke with a jagged slither against my vertebrae.
+
I grasped the handle of the saw with both hands, and taking a deep breath, I felt the draft of air draw through the new opening in my neck. I pulled back in a decisive stroke, the teeth spoke with a jagged slither against my vertebrae.
   
 
Yet again, as my arms pumped, faster and faster, there was no pain with each push and pull. The strokes grew to a crescendo until with a satisfying slash through skin, my head fell from my body.
 
Yet again, as my arms pumped, faster and faster, there was no pain with each push and pull. The strokes grew to a crescendo until with a satisfying slash through skin, my head fell from my body.
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Through my eyes, I could see my body flip and roll out of view, spinning end over end into the dirt and darkness.
 
Through my eyes, I could see my body flip and roll out of view, spinning end over end into the dirt and darkness.
   
Then I had new sight. All the colors, even in the darkness I could see with such vividness. The rich green canvas-like cornstalks, the glassy, bulbous dew collected in the arms of the thick leaves, the powdery soft silt.  I could see every grain blinking brilliantly, like a million, trillion little diamonds reflecting back in the evening light.
+
Then I had new sight. All the colors, even in the darkness I could see with such vividness. The rich green canvas-like cornstalks, the glassy, bulbous dew collected in the arms of the thick leaves, the powdery soft silt. I could see every grain blinking brilliantly, like a million, trillion little diamonds reflecting back in the evening light.
   
I looked down at the head at my knees. It laid sideways, the eyes slightly rolled up into the head. I could see the tone of my flushed, light skin, every pore in its surface, the dirt pervading them.  I could see every follicle on my head, deeply rooted, dark. I could count each and every one.
+
I looked down at the head at my knees. It laid sideways, the eyes slightly rolled up into the head. I could see the tone of my flushed, light skin, every pore in its surface, the dirt pervading them. I could see every follicle on my head, deeply rooted, dark. I could count each and every one.
   
 
I reached down with my hands, which look more powerful than I ever thought they would be be. I could see the blood pulsate through the dark veins, the crevasses and creases, the wrinkles folding over every knuckle, the hairs standing upright in the cool air.
 
I reached down with my hands, which look more powerful than I ever thought they would be be. I could see the blood pulsate through the dark veins, the crevasses and creases, the wrinkles folding over every knuckle, the hairs standing upright in the cool air.
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I picked up my head and gently set it aside, and without hesitation, dug into the earth. I carefully scooped it out, pulling it aside, like a child in a sandbox, purposeful and determined. I dug into the darker earth, where I found the earthworms and the nitrates. I could feel the power of the world, the growth, the potential, the life, until the hole was deep enough, wide enough for my former head.
 
I picked up my head and gently set it aside, and without hesitation, dug into the earth. I carefully scooped it out, pulling it aside, like a child in a sandbox, purposeful and determined. I dug into the darker earth, where I found the earthworms and the nitrates. I could feel the power of the world, the growth, the potential, the life, until the hole was deep enough, wide enough for my former head.
   
I gently, reverently, picked up my head, looked upon the face once again, dirty, streamed with old tears.  I thought of all those eyes had seen, the good and the bad. And the mouth, which uttered so many words over the years, the tender and the harsh.  With equal reverence, but no regret, I placed the head into the hole, and carefully pulled the dirt back onto it.  First it filled the spaces around the crown and the ears, filling up to the chin. Then, it fell on the lips, the eyes, leaving the nose poked above the fresh earth. It almost made me laugh, the comical way it poked skyward until the last handfuls hid it from view, and I patted the low mound, like it was an old friend.
+
I gently, reverently, picked up my head, looked upon the face once again, dirty, streamed with old tears. I thought of all those eyes had seen, the good and the bad. And the mouth, which uttered so many words over the years, the tender and the harsh. With equal reverence, but no regret, I placed the head into the hole, and carefully pulled the dirt back onto it.  First it filled the spaces around the crown and the ears, filling up to the chin. Then, it fell on the lips, the eyes, leaving the nose poked above the fresh earth. It almost made me laugh, the comical way it poked skyward until the last handfuls hid it from view, and I patted the low mound, like it was an old friend.
   
 
A hand touched my shoulder. I jumped and turned.
 
A hand touched my shoulder. I jumped and turned.
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I was no longer in the cornfield. I was in my bed. My mind struggled for a moment to adjust.
 
I was no longer in the cornfield. I was in my bed. My mind struggled for a moment to adjust.
  +
 
"Are you okay?" she asked, concern swelling in her eyes, a soft smile on her lips, "you were screaming in your sleep."
 
"Are you okay?" she asked, concern swelling in her eyes, a soft smile on her lips, "you were screaming in your sleep."
   
 
"Bad dream," I mumbled.
 
"Bad dream," I mumbled.
   
She kissed me on the cheek. I could feel every impression of her lips, every small crease, the remainder of her lipstick from earlier in the day, I could smell the hint of mint on her breath. A part of me ached for her, for more, but my thoughts returned to the dream.  She settled against me and returned to sleep. I did not.
+
She kissed me on the cheek. I could feel every impression of her lips, every small crease, the remainder of her lipstick from earlier in the day, I could smell the hint of mint on her breath. A part of me ached for her, for more, but my thoughts returned to the dream. She settled against me and returned to sleep. I did not.
  +
 
When I was assured that she would not reawaken, I shifted out of bed. I looked back once more before I left the room.
 
When I was assured that she would not reawaken, I shifted out of bed. I looked back once more before I left the room.
   
It was early morning, the sky behind the hills of corn were softening into a muted purple.  The first pink hints of a returning sun were just below it.  I stepped from the front door, pushing the screen door open, as if apologizing to it for being so rough in my dream.  In moments, I had crossed the lawn, still thick and lush, still damp, wetting the cuff of my pajama pants.  I crossed the tarmac which was now cool and damp.  I passed down through the ditch, felt the edge of a tin can, the same one that scuffed my knee. My knee ached in remembrance from the dream.
+
It was early morning, the sky behind the hills of corn were softening into a muted purple. The first pink hints of a returning sun were just below it. I stepped from the front door, pushing the screen door open, as if apologizing to it for being so rough in my dream. In moments, I had crossed the lawn, still thick and lush, still damp, wetting the cuff of my pajama pants. I crossed the tarmac which was now cool and damp. I passed down through the ditch, felt the edge of a tin can, the same one that scuffed my knee. My knee ached in remembrance from the dream.
   
I crept though the carbon-copy of cornstalks, the saber-like leaves scraped at my bare arms. The rows growing wider and the stalks grew taller as I pressed onward until I reached a small clearing.  My heart pace raced as I approached the center. I licked my lips as the sweat began to form on them.
+
I crept though the carbon-copy of cornstalks, the saber-like leaves scraped at my bare arms. The rows growing wider and the stalks grew taller as I pressed onward until I reached a small clearing. My heart pace raced as I approached the center. I licked my lips as the sweat began to form on them.
In the center of the small clearing.... a mound of dirt.
+
In the center of the small clearing... a mound of dirt.
   
A small mound of dirt, patted together by human hands. A lump jumped up in my throat as I lowered myself to my knees.  I gulped hard as I slowly, carefully pulled away the dirt, praying I would not find what I knew would be there.
+
A small mound of dirt, patted together by human hands. A lump jumped up in my throat as I lowered myself to my knees. I gulped hard as I slowly, carefully pulled away the dirt, praying I would not find what I knew would be there.
 
{{sort|Impulse, The}}
 
{{sort|Impulse, The}}
 
[[Category:Mental Illness]]
 
[[Category:Mental Illness]]

Latest revision as of 01:16, July 1, 2018

How could I be so stupid? How could this have happened? It seemed so natural, so right, so easy. Now here I stood in our living room, on a cold hardwood floor, staring out the picture window, lost in the inky-blue of a darkening rooms. An ink blue which obscured the real life colors. It wasn’t dark enough to turn on the light, but not light enough for reading.

I didn't want to turn on the light. I secretly feared it would chase the sun behind the horizon.

Mainly, I didn't want to see what I had done to myself.

So, I stood here, shirtless, unmoving.

Before me, through the window, I could see the evening galvanized into the gloomy light. I could see my lawn. It was not cut. I had allowed it to grow lush. A testament to the recent rain we received. Straight ahead was a strip of road, splitting the view in half. On the opposite side I could see the cornfield. It rose up from the ditch into the knot of hills in the distance. To my left I could see the elderly oak, along with an ivy-lined barb-wire fence, it eclipsed the view of my neighbor’s house. The boughs of the oak tree appeared as a mash of shadow and form, but I knew the branches were there, supporting a rope swing.

What would the neighbors think if they saw me now? What would they say? Would they scream? Would they call the police? The paramedics?

Yes, they were good people. They would.

Shame washed over me again. Stinging moisture grew in the corner of my eye. I instinctively reached up to wipe it away, but my hand struck the red handle, and my hand retracted as if it had touched a live wire.

The moisture in my eyes bloated into a tear and streaked down my cheek.

Oh, what if my wife saw me now? What would she say? What would she do? Would she be so horrified she would run away?

I stood in silence again, and allowed the slick tear to collect on my collar bone. I listened to the insect-like tick of the second hand of the clock in the hallway. It mechanically ate away at the remainder of the day. I took several heavy, quivering breaths before I finally found the courage to reach up again with my hand.

I could feel the cool evening air crawl around my hand as I drew my trembling hand up, moving like it was in slow motion. My hand finally found courage in spite of me, seeking out the protrusion from my neck. My hand wrapped around the red handle. I could feel its weight in my palm. I  flexed my fingers, feeling the sweat building a layer between my skin and the smooth, plastic handle.

Oh, how I knew this handle. I could feel its weight against my palm. My index finger snaked from the handle to the metal which protruded from it. My finger followed along the curving bar. It inched along until it found the meaning of the metal, the purpose. I felt the serrated edges, like teeth of a tiny predator.

How many times did I see the hacksaw in my garage workshop, hung up on the peg board like a trophy next to the screw drivers, the crescent wrench, the vise-grips, the pliers? How many times had I lifted it off with a clacking sound. How many times I had I used it, to cut a pipe, a metal bar, a padlock from the shed?

What went through my mind this evening as I had lifted it from the board, the other tools clacking in unison?

What was I thinking as the teeth pressed against the soft of my skin? What compelled me to the draw those teeth, dragging them across the surface of body, ripping up flesh as the hand drew back again for a second draw? My arm pumped on, the saw blade lashing at my flesh, biting into the stringy, rubbery muscles. The sickening feeling of flesh and fluid moving across the blade. It slashed into the cartilage of my larynx with an opening, wet sound, like clams caught in a grinder. 

What demon possessed me as my hand repeatedly pumped, faster and faster until the realization snapped into place?

I was sawing through my neck.

The blade passed nearly halfway through my neck, millimeters, I'm sure from my spine. No blood coursed out. No blood pumped out in red arcs. No flesh dropped away like wood chips. What was wrong with me? Was I human anymore?

It didn't feel real. I must be dreaming, I thought. I had to be!

There was no pain. No gore.

And I stopped.

And there I stood. The light of the day was playing over my sweaty, heated skin. Pin-point stars began to twinkle, heralding dusk.

Wish I will. Wish I might....

How could I face anyone. My family, my friends. How would they ever understand the madness which overtook me. 

My wife would soon be home from town. She would pull up in the van, and after the squeak and close of her driver's door, she would push through the storm door, crinkling a brown paper bag, calling out my name.

She would find me here.

Damaged.

Fear gripped my mind, blinding me. In my fear, I scrambled through the house, tripping over furniture, my toes finding the edge of chairs. I burst from the front doors, the screen door barking in protest. I leaped onto the front lawn, feeling the instant cool of the gathering dew. I could feel the hacksaw in my neck, bouncing the red handle off my collar bone as I ran. I bounded onto the black tarmac. I lost my balance, dropping to the blacktop, my fingers smarting against the tarmac. I could feel the aching heat it retained from the sun.

Panic gripped me again as a new light fell upon me. I looked up to see headlights bearing down on me, casting a gleam off the blade of the saw.

I was a like a deer, mesmerized and terrified to the core. I shouted a one-word encouragement to force myself into an upright position and dove into the opposite ditch just as the car and its blaring horn rushed by me. I rolled down the bank, my knee skinning on a rock or crushed aluminum can.

I laid there, my eyes upturned to the sky above. It was aloof to my condition, uncaring. More stars appeared, twinkling madly. As tears welled in my eyes, blurring the stars into cobweb blotches, I struck out at the dried, dead weeds and loose twigs, fighting off sobs. As they subsided, my eyes focused on the forest of cornfield.

With a newfound energy, I stood and dove into the cornfield.  I sucked at the air. New moistness gathered in my eyes. I was howling, crying as I flew through the corn rows.

They can't find me like this! They can't!

The sharp edges of the corn leaves lashed at me as I pushed through. Vertigo reeled in the pit of my stomach. My head throbbed as I passed through the repeating plants. The rows of corn were never ending, casting their evening dew on me until I was slick with the mixture of their moisture and my tears and sweat.

The row threatened an eternity of green, silent stalks, webbing into darkness.

The cornstalks grew around me (or was I growing smaller?). They towered over me, their leaves reaching into the indigo evening sky, knitting together, creating a vaulted ceiling, a cathedral of vegetation.

My wet feet collected a layer of soft silt, becoming a coat of earthy paste adhering to the bottom of my feet.

Tears continued to streak my face, my body tumbled as the towering corn whispered to one another. I curled into a ball, my palms digging into my stinging eye sockets.

I cried out in vain, "They can fix this! They can make me better!"

Pulling my hands away, I knew it was too late. No one would understand. I could not go back. The damage could not be undone. There was only one thing left to do.

I grasped the handle of the saw with both hands, and taking a deep breath, I felt the draft of air draw through the new opening in my neck. I pulled back in a decisive stroke, the teeth spoke with a jagged slither against my vertebrae.

Yet again, as my arms pumped, faster and faster, there was no pain with each push and pull. The strokes grew to a crescendo until with a satisfying slash through skin, my head fell from my body.

Through my eyes, I could see my body flip and roll out of view, spinning end over end into the dirt and darkness.

Then I had new sight. All the colors, even in the darkness I could see with such vividness. The rich green canvas-like cornstalks, the glassy, bulbous dew collected in the arms of the thick leaves, the powdery soft silt. I could see every grain blinking brilliantly, like a million, trillion little diamonds reflecting back in the evening light.

I looked down at the head at my knees. It laid sideways, the eyes slightly rolled up into the head. I could see the tone of my flushed, light skin, every pore in its surface, the dirt pervading them. I could see every follicle on my head, deeply rooted, dark. I could count each and every one.

I reached down with my hands, which look more powerful than I ever thought they would be be. I could see the blood pulsate through the dark veins, the crevasses and creases, the wrinkles folding over every knuckle, the hairs standing upright in the cool air.

I picked up my head and gently set it aside, and without hesitation, dug into the earth. I carefully scooped it out, pulling it aside, like a child in a sandbox, purposeful and determined. I dug into the darker earth, where I found the earthworms and the nitrates. I could feel the power of the world, the growth, the potential, the life, until the hole was deep enough, wide enough for my former head.

I gently, reverently, picked up my head, looked upon the face once again, dirty, streamed with old tears. I thought of all those eyes had seen, the good and the bad. And the mouth, which uttered so many words over the years, the tender and the harsh. With equal reverence, but no regret, I placed the head into the hole, and carefully pulled the dirt back onto it.  First it filled the spaces around the crown and the ears, filling up to the chin. Then, it fell on the lips, the eyes, leaving the nose poked above the fresh earth. It almost made me laugh, the comical way it poked skyward until the last handfuls hid it from view, and I patted the low mound, like it was an old friend.

A hand touched my shoulder. I jumped and turned.

I saw the face of my wife.

I was no longer in the cornfield. I was in my bed. My mind struggled for a moment to adjust.

"Are you okay?" she asked, concern swelling in her eyes, a soft smile on her lips, "you were screaming in your sleep."

"Bad dream," I mumbled.

She kissed me on the cheek. I could feel every impression of her lips, every small crease, the remainder of her lipstick from earlier in the day, I could smell the hint of mint on her breath. A part of me ached for her, for more, but my thoughts returned to the dream. She settled against me and returned to sleep. I did not.

When I was assured that she would not reawaken, I shifted out of bed. I looked back once more before I left the room.

It was early morning, the sky behind the hills of corn were softening into a muted purple. The first pink hints of a returning sun were just below it. I stepped from the front door, pushing the screen door open, as if apologizing to it for being so rough in my dream. In moments, I had crossed the lawn, still thick and lush, still damp, wetting the cuff of my pajama pants. I crossed the tarmac which was now cool and damp. I passed down through the ditch, felt the edge of a tin can, the same one that scuffed my knee. My knee ached in remembrance from the dream.

I crept though the carbon-copy of cornstalks, the saber-like leaves scraped at my bare arms. The rows growing wider and the stalks grew taller as I pressed onward until I reached a small clearing. My heart pace raced as I approached the center. I licked my lips as the sweat began to form on them. In the center of the small clearing... a mound of dirt.

A small mound of dirt, patted together by human hands. A lump jumped up in my throat as I lowered myself to my knees. I gulped hard as I slowly, carefully pulled away the dirt, praying I would not find what I knew would be there.

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