Thursday, August 08, 2013

Nocturnal insanity

July 30th, 2004

The little girl was dead, but it was no one’s fault. But who would believe us?
We shoved her in the closet, just in time, because Jim and the others were coming up.
But we hadn’t been thorough enough.
Jim walked in and saw the little hand sticking out from under the blanket.
“Is that a little girl?” he shouted, terrified.
“No!”, we replied and tried to make him leave the room. “It’s a wax figure!”
Eventually we managed to get him out… and then stared at each other, out of breath.
“What are we gonna do?” said one boy. “They’re gonna find us out!”
“We have to get rid of the body!”, I said.
“But where?”, he said. “They’re gonna find her, and then it will look like murder because we tried to get rid of her.”
“Yeah, who is gonna believe us that she died by accident”, I replied sarcastically.
I looked around the room and then looked into the closet. The trapdoor was only halfway covered, by clothes and toys.
“That’s it!”, I said.
“They’re gonna find her!”
“Not if they are not looking for her. Here.”, I said. “Help me!”
The girl had been in our closet for days. Her cold skin was damp and felt like jelly. I dared not uncover her body… the smell would be unbearable.
The boy opened the trapdoor. The blackness in there, the catacombs, the canalisation, the pit was impenetrable. It was old and had not been in use for decades. I would have been surprised if anyone knew it existed.
“You sure?”, he asked.
“Why would anyone go in there?”
The boy stayed silent and without a further word helped me shove the body across the rim.
The corpse of the little girl plunged into darkness. Far down we heard it hitting the floor like a sack. The boy turned away, his face looking green.
The other kid came closer and peered into the black hole. “I can’t see her!”
“Good!”, I said. “Don’t lean over too far!”
The kid stretched its neck, and that’s when it lost its toy fish Nemo. I would have laughed at the pun, if the consequences hadn’t been so harsh. The kid would scream and cry and get all kinds of people up here, pointing them to the hiding place. When it comes to losing toys, kids lose all sense of caution. They don’t give a shit if we go to jail for life, as long as they get fuckin Nemo back.
And hadn’t I predicted it, the kid’s lips began to quiver dangerously. “Nemo!”, it whined.
“It’s ok”, I said. Then I turned to the others. “One of us has to go get him.”
“I am not going down there!”, said big sister.
Tommy looked away, his face white, avoiding eye contact.
The kid looked from one to the other, in anxious anticipation. Its whimpering turned into genuine tears. If we didn’t do something soon, it would be screaming its lungs out.
Before I could say anything else, the boy stepped forward. “I’ll go in.”
None of us protested. He was doing all of us a favour.
The boy slid across the rim and lowered himself down there, until he reached the ladder. We stepped forward and watched him lower himself into the darkness, step by clanging step. He didn’t look very good.
Eventually he was gone, and we heard him rustle in the depths.
We could smell the girl from up here. Down there, the stench must have been unbearable.
We heard the boy retch and cry “Oh my god…”, then a sound of him throwing up. Then, exhausted: “I got him!”
The kid’s eyes beamed with joy.
“You better appreciate that damn fish!”, I said. “He literally went to hell to get it!”
The kid nodded obediently.
We heard the boy climb back up, and eventually his head appeared through the trap door. His hair was covered in dirt. As he climbed out, we saw stuff sticking to his shirt and pants… and he smelled of her. He smelled of decay.
He handed the fish to the kid without a word. The kid hugged Nemo in exulted happiness.
There was nothing to be said. The boy’s face was grey. He never spoke again. He walked past us and whatever bond had existed between us, it was gone from that day.
We closed the trap door, and began to cover the closet door. The kid carefully placed a blanket over it.
“Not like that!”, I said. “That looks like you’re trying to hide something. Throw stuff in casually, like that!” I chucked some clothes and toys in, which fell randomly about, covering the trapdoor. The kid joined me.
When we were done, I went to sit in a corner, and that is when I faced myself. I had methodically and cynically removed the body of an innocent child to save my own ass. I was terrified, in shock… but mostly about myself.
I wanted to wake up.

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