Filling Graves

When I woke up in the morning Lesa was dead.

I think she'd known it last night, when she stayed up trying to invent longer and longer palindromic sentences. She knew that her time was short, and she was determined to leave some kind of a mark. Then at midnight she had burned them all, so all that remained was a charred piece of paper saying, "knows evil lives wonky".

Things had degenerated so fast. A year ago there had been a hundred of us. Now there were only two, myself and Myrian. And I no longer knew where Myrian was, only that she was somewhere on the island.

Our tools had survived in better condition that we ourselves. The shovel I used to dig Lesa's grave was still shiny as it had been when the ship first manufactured it, still free of dents. I remembered when I'd been digging Cosima's grave, and I'd been filled with a sudden rage and started swinging the shovel wildly at my surroundings, screaming bestially, until I came to my senses. The shovel had still been undamaged, but the surrounding trees had all been felled.

Just as the grave had become deep enough, I felt a shadow over me. I didn't even need to look up to determine who it was. Myrian, of course.

"Lesa's dead too?" she said. I didn't bother to answer--the body was in full view. "Same as all the others?" I nodded. We still had no idea what it was that killed them. Those most capable of such determination among us had been the first to die.

She started to go, and I said, "Wait. Don't leave me alone."

She turned back. "You don't get it yet, do you. You really don't know why I went away. You really don't know how they died--all of them."

"I--"

"You. You did it. You killed them. The only person that it wasn't obvious to was yourself. We all knew. Why do you think you were the only male not struck down? Why did the women die, one by one, after you became upset with them, or just lost interest? I was the only one who wasn't afraid to go away, to hope that you'd die first. But I guess I was wrong. I'm not going to stick around and let you just take me like you did the others." She spun and dashed off into the jungle.

I shook my head, clearing it of the fog that had come over it. She'd gone mad. I pulled myself out of the grave and lowered Lesa's body into the earth, covering it up when I was done. Then I went to sleep.

It was weeks before I found Myrian's body. I'd been searching for her during the day, and had finally found traces of her. All I found was a skeleton--she had been dead for a month, at least.

I dug two graves that evening.

<Oktay Ahiska gave me the assignment

I Palindrome Dig Grave >

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The Den of Ubiquity/ Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com