The morning was hazy and the sun wouldn’t break the horizon for at least an hour. It took effort to breathe in the hot sticky air. It smelled like mushrooms and earthworms. Everything was wet. My head pounded. I was parched and the world tilted this way and that.
The sky was grey but it was a luminous grey. It was actually quite bright, but all color seemed dull and muted, washed out. Last night was a blur. I remember leaving the bar, but how did I get out here? Where is out here? There were two small shed-like buildings surrounded by hilly fields with pockets of trees. And silence. There was a field road that was all mud and puddles. The road passed over a large cave-like opening to some sort of drainage system. A small and shallow stream trickled into it.
I saw an arm reach out from the culvert. It’s palm was up and the index finger curled up and down in a “come here” motion. I needed to run, but the world spun and I had no idea which direction to go, anyway. I walked towards the opening.
An old iron grate was broken through and pieces of it hung from the opening like needle teeth rotting from concrete gums. I ducked into the culvert and called out to whoever was beckoning me. I splashed through the ankle deep water at the gaping entrance. The glow from the sky illuminated a hand floating palm up in the water. This was the first part of her that I saw. It bent at the wrist and my eyes followed the arm to the mostly submerged body. Though she was obviously dead there were no signs of decay on her pristine skin. She was only partially clothed, just a black t-shirt that read “Gabba, Gabba, Hey” in bold white. Her claw hand fingertips and one knee were all that broke the surface of the crystal clear water. Much more of the body would have been above the eight inches of water but the soft mud had sucked the body down several inches.
I leaned in towards her face. Her eyes were blank and blue-grey. I was overwhelmed with grief. This girl was my age. She was somebody’s daughter, somebody’s friend, somebody’s lover. The world was still spinning and my skull felt like it was about to split in two. I threw up. Bits of vomit mingled with the clouds of mud that I had stirred up stepping through the water. I felt even worse, like I had violated this clean final resting place. I looked at her face again. Her eyes stared straight up through the water then darted towards me. We stared into each others eyes. At that moment, I knew that I would share her fate.
How's that for upbeat?