Back From The Dead

This piece is a hopeful (or, at least, I'd like to think of it that way) reflection on what it's like to get back on track after a hard time.

When I first woke up, I thought I was in a crater. I thought it was some deep and cavernous puncture in the ground that the impact had left.
But then I realized that there was no warmth in the hole, no heat and no smokiness. Surely the crater of such a large collision would have a high temperature? But no, the soil around me was moist and cool in a strangely comforting way.
I sat there for a moment, feeling pleasant surprise wash over me like a small and friendly wave. Then I climbed to my feet, slipping slightly in the mud.

I felt pain as I did so.
On my body, cuts ached, a bruise shouted out and I thought I felt a broken bone somewhere too. But it didn’t ache so much as before the crash and the muscles in the back of my neck had repaired themselves enough so that I could look up and out of the hole.
All I could see was a dark sky.
It was still night time. It had been before I had passed out and it still was now.
But that was OK. Strangely. Oddly.
For now, it was better to work in the dark.

I grabbed some soft, wet earth at the top of the hole and began to drag myself out, legs kicking and hands gripping agitatedly. The first time I tried, I fell back down again. But then I got a better grasp on the dirt and began to heave myself slowly up.
I dug my feet into the mud in the side of the fissure, shoved my body upwards and eventually found myself clambering feverishly out into the cold night air.
It was only then that I was able to sit on the grass, turn around and look at the hole properly.
It was a burial grave.

I had climbed out of my own grave.
In front of me was a perfectly rectangular hole, freshly and neatly dug, with a smart marble tombstone standing to attention at the far side of it.
My name was emblazoned onto the rock, each letter perfectly carved and polished into the marble, leaving no doubt as to who the muddy crypt was made for.
But there was something wrong with the dates on it.
1993 -
That was all it said. It only listed my year of birth and because of that, the gravestone looked uncertain. Doubtful of itself, unsure, hesitant of its purpose.
I peered into the hole again and realized there was a dead body lying at the bottom.

I recognised it as being me straightaway.
It looked sad and silent in the hole, the corpse curved to the awkward and unnatural shape of human road kill. The eyes were closed in a somewhat peaceful way but the face held some sort of immediately evident strain...of longing, of sadness, of unhappy isolation.
I found myself gazing at the body for a long time and the more I stared, the less it looked like me. I can’t quite explain it but the face seemed to contort into a shape that wasn’t mine, the limbs contouring to a different form, the hair arcing in a way that my own never had.
It happened like the minute hand ticking on a clock. So slowly that I didn’t notice.
But suddenly time had moved on and it was different. Everything was different.
I felt bad for the creature in the grave. Its expression was restless and tense, its hair greasy and unkempt, its hands holding onto nothing.
But I knew at once that its death was a good thing.

I got up from the damp grass and looked around me for the first time.
I was in a vast and sprawling field that night had claimed. It was calm there, painfully unruffled, with a cooling breeze blowing through the air.
Everything was dark (the land by the grave was especially shadowy) but a vivid light was shining from the large moon in the sky.
The moon was clear and intense in the darkness, instantly emphasising itself as the modest star of the night-time show.
It hung languidly on the blanket of black above me, peering through the treetops at the end of the field and basking everything around it in a sweet, silver glow. The branches and leaves that surrounded the light seemed to reach for it, eager to be touched by its friendly flame.
It looked like the type of brightness that could treat lesions, stitch wounds closed and heal broken bones. It looked open, inviting, triumphant.
It was glorious without being arrogant or intimidating.
Limping slightly, I made my way off the grass and onto a dusty path that cut through the field.

Looking ahead of me, the road was long and tremulous in places.
But it led straight to the light and that was what mattered.
With a last fleeting look behind me, I set off down the path, curious and confident about this new thing the road offered me that felt an awful lot like hope.

The End

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