A small piece of The 8th Day.
Adam felt his anxiety growing, his heart pounding in his chest as they crossed the street and walked through the gates at the cemetery entrance. Several crows perched on the fence took flight, the sound of common wings now having a whole new unnerving effect on them.
With the field of graves looming before him, Adam had a brief moment of doubt that maybe he shouldn’t do this.
No, I have to.
For the last year of his life, he had visited her grave every weekend, where he would leave flowers watered with tears. Every Saturday he prayed upon that little plot of dirt for God to undo it all, to make it so the accident had never happened. All he ever wanted was his wife back and would have given anything to hear her voice again. Now he was terrified that through six feet of dirt and a rotting wooden box that’s exactly what he would get. But he had to go, had to know. He had to know if she had woken up like all the rest, lost and confused, struggling to move decomposed limbs. In his heart he already knew, but still had to come here to see for himself.
The world began to fade around him as he tunnel-visioned on that familiar gravestone. Margie stayed slightly back, keeping watch for Judges. As they crossed the cemetery grounds, they paused for a moment to listen. All around them the ground thumped faintly, like distant drums, hundreds, all out of rhythm. Six feet below them the dead were pounding on the insides of their coffins. A horrifying moment, just below their feet the remains of the dead had returned to life. Among them, Adam knew would be his wife.
Several yards further he stood before her grave, the flowers he had placed there just last Saturday now covered with the ashes of the judged. He tried to fight the rush of emotion, the surge of tears, but couldn’t. After a year of praying for her life to return, now as Adam knelt and put his ear to the ground, he prayed she was still dead.
He begged a God that had already forsaken them all, pleading to not hear anything, but he did. Faint, muffled, but closer than the rest, Adam heard the sounds of thumping and scratching just beneath him. Pressing his ear into the dirt as hard as he could, he covered the other with his hand. Through grass and stone and dirt, he could hear the faint sound of crying through raspy gasps of stale air sucked into rotting lungs, and he recognized the voice.
Please God. No.
Oh please God.
His heart stopped and tears began to seep into the soil that separated a man and wife, for whom death had kept their vow, “ ’til death do us part.” Adam’s mind raced with insane thoughts. What if I dig her up? Would she remember me? Would she know me anymore? He fought the urge to tear at the ground, to pull her out, to hold her. He wanted to scream, call to her through the dirt. Would she hear me? Perhaps it would only torment her. Make it worse.
In a final torturous moment before he stood, Adam heard it. Faint, garbled, broken, but unmistakable. She screamed his name.
His spirit broke, his hands clenching into fists upon the ground, scraping grass and soil into his fingernails. He couldn’t breathe. The pain, the sorrow, the suffering, it all became unbearable, crushing him under the weight of it all. He bit into his lip until it bled, fighting the urge to scream down to her.
Margie placed her hand upon his back. She kept it there, speaking to him as he wept uncontrollably. “It’s not her anymore, Adam. She’s still gone. This is…something else now. You have to let it go.”
Adam lay there for several moments longer, watering the soil with sorrow. “What kind of a god does this?”
Margie shifted next to him, staring out across the cemetery. “I don’t know, Adam. I just don’t know.”
“What do I do?”
“There’s nothing you can do. She’s still dead, Adam, for a year now. She’s not your wife anymore. Her brain, her mind, it’s gone.”
But she called my name.
“I know this is bad, Adam. I’m really, really sorry. But you just have to let it go.”
Consumed by the moment he lost all sense of time or what was happening around him. Eventually Margie stood and spoke again. “Adam, we have to go. I saw Judges down the street a minute ago. We’re out in the wide open here. We have to go now.”
Lifting himself to his knees, Adam wiped the tears, snot and dirt from his face, not saying a word as he stood. The hardest moment of his life had always been the day he placed his wife into the ground. Now as he rose to his feet, he had a new most painful moment, of walking away and leaving her there, lost and alone in the cold dark earth.