Hands in the Earth

Heavy-lidded, he crawled to the window. Outside, they still waited. Colorless and translucent. Sharp and immobile.

Back in the room, her scent lingered: cherries and tobacco mingling in the air. He breathed it in and the craving for a cigarette was sharp and sudden. It, in turn, made him want her.

Outside now, he breathed in the frozen air and shuddered. They danced around. He dropped to his knees, driven into the shards of pale bitterness by the weight of their gliding. The skin of his knees was pierced a hundred times. He looked down to watch his lapis blood color the shards. They melted as it coated them, revealing steel pins.

He clawed through the shards and found the dirt beneath. It was warm, welcoming. He sunk his bleeding fingers into it and sighed. The earth welcomed his fingers, coaxed them deeper. He pushed at the earth and its resistance became an embrace.

The dancers became frantic. They flew at him. Through him. Each piercing was excruciating, like bitter cold acid inside him. He grasped the earth and pulled himself into it. Maybe he would suffocate in the ground, but even that would be better than the alternative.

The earth drew him within. Still the dancers tried to stop him. Dirt had clogged his mouth and he could not draw breath to cry out. The earth’s pull continued. Roots and rocks shredded his clothes. Then he was falling. He tried to spit out dirt and yell at the same time, but only choked.

Someone caught him. Several someones. He opened his eyes, but could see nothing. Whether blinding by darkness, pain, shock, or dirt he had no idea. He coughed dirt as hands passed him to other hands. He heard and then felt water. Hands and water cleansed him.

Finally he understood. He was safe. He was home.


About Cary

I write, more nonfiction than fiction lately, and that's mainly because I started a podcast about the history and culture of Brazil. Reading for that is dominating my reading time too - as you might have guessed. I'm an American expat who lives in southern Brazil. Aside from history, reading and podcasting, I enjoy cooking, hiking and improving my Portuguese. I teach English for a living. View all posts by Cary

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