Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I know Where the Bodies are Buried

What do you expect to find when you walk around a corner, or in a strange place? To be honest, my attitude up until now has been fairly fatalistic. I have considered myself one of those people you read about in newspapers. You know, the front page articles about horrific murders? What bugs me most about those is that the bodies are quite frequently discovered by ‘a local man out walking his dog’, or ‘a friend who happened to visit and found the door open.’ I’ve pretty much resigned myself to being either that man or that friend. The guy who is drifting along thinking about having spaghetti for supper, or maybe inviting a mate out for a beer, when suddenly he is confronted with all the relevant gore and revulsion that goes with finding someone who is unwillingly an ex-human.

I’ve had that fear since I was maybe thirteen. When I did normal teenager stuff like exploring woodlands, rivers or mountains, and my friends would be running ahead, I would be scouting the shadows for signs of a garbage bag bloated with the reeking gases of decay. You can draw your own conclusions.

Oddly enough, I never found one. I’ve searched forests and remote places, and combed deserted beaches, but not once have I found so much as an ear. Ok, once I found a chunk of finger, but that was because I knew the kid at school had just had an accident, and went looking for it.

So where to from here? Do I continue waiting for this to happen, or do I force myself to look for happy things?

What cheered me up today was just the thought of a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. Unfolding its angled limbs and wobbling on a twig to let the warm spring air heat up the vessels in its wings, and knowing the sense of completion it must feel as it discovers the glorious symmetry of whorls and patterns on its wings. How it must feel to be something new, and yet not without memories of before. How it would be to allow a breeze to lift you into the air for the first time and send you bobbing and dancing over the new leaves. How wonderful it must be to have a brain devoid of suspicion and paranoia, but focused solely on taste and colour. To have your purpose scribbled in your genes, and for that purpose to be no more complicated than to eat, mate and die.

And to those of us around, we see a snapshot of beauty. If I can still appreciate a butterfly shuddering through the drafts, then I know I am alive, too. I think I’ll look for more of those, in the shaded forests and the dank mossy riverbanks.


  1. I like that "..look for more of those".

  2. @Cazpi: And you know what? I'll find em.

  3. Of course you will.
    And they'll find you, too...

  4. perhaps you should move to a place where it is more common to find dead bodies dumped in woodlands or mountains but that also have some 'snapshots of beauty'. It would be a perfect balance

  5. @Andre: Ooh- the second part of that sounded almost sinister...
    @twistygirl: Balance is good, therefore bodies and butterflies must be good. Perfectly logical.

  6. May you never find an ex-human and even maybe forget to keep looking for one. May you also continually be distracted by dead non-humans emerging with beautiful fresh new wings.


  7. @Nanny Goats: Yay! So glad to see you again, my feral friend. And thanks for the creepy encouragement :-)

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