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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tunnel of the Dead

The pungent smell of rotting flesh permeated my existence

Wrapping my stained handkerchief around my face hadn't helped
And I briefly considered rubbing it on a pile of feces that I'd passed a moment ago
But I decided that would just invite other issues

But it wouldn't smell as bad
It just couldn't

This cave seemed to have no end
Nor did the dead bodies that had defended this natural corridor in the mountain

But then as my eyes moved in sync with my carbide lamp's reflected light as it flickered it's yellowy light
I mentally amended that thought
And redefined the corridor as being man-made

For up at the top of the tunnel were tell-tale regular tooling marks
Left long ago by a boring machine of some kind

While distractedly looking up
I stumbled as my foot stepped on a dusty weapon
My weight upon it flexing and breaking the wrist of the body that still grasped it's handle
Fingers still wrapped around the grip
one still firmly on the trigger

This man.......
Scratch that as I see the remains of a brassiere mixed in with the rotting clothes resting on the torso
This woman died firing her weapon

There must be some honor in that
But I'll never know it I hope
As I value my cowardice

It has kept me alive so far in this life

The dark tunnel stretched out beyond the reach of my light
Mercifully empty of any more bodies for the short stretch I could see
Though the smell was still there
Cloying at my senses
Which should have gotten used to it by now

But it hadn't
And maybe never will