Unburied

There was no man more hated, and now his body lay in the street, a festering metropolis of worms and flies. None but rats approached, and they took chunks of him away into their hidden corners and cursed holes.

I thought often how their hideaways might be in the very walls of my home, that he, a part of him, might be hidden near my head as I slept, a store of him preserved by the scampering creatures we all hated. The smell, O let me tell you: for months he reeked, and the odor had not the good graces to be some constant assault against our noses. No. It would die down, and we would breath. Then it would be awakened by some foul means. We were never prepared.

Why would the birds not come and take him away? Why would he not, after we had killed him, leave?

But the body stayed, and no one dared touch it or move it. Now it is only bones, and the worms and rats have gone elsewhere. He is the most hated—and we would kill him again, I’m sure—but I wonder even now if we should cover him. No wind will blow, slowly covering the husk in dust. The job, unfinished, remains. We have killed him, but he is still here, waiting.

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