“Did you bury him well?”
“He’s buried. That’s enough.”
“It’s not enough. You have to bury him well.”
“We dug the hole. We put him in. We covered him up. We said the words. That’s enough.”
“You better hope so.”
He opened his eyes. Dirt in his face. Now dirt in his eyes. He tried to wipe his face and couldn’t move his arms. Wiggling his fingers he felt it now. Dirt. Dirt surrounding him. Buried. Again. But had they buried him well?
“How long has it been?”
“Stop worrying. He’s done. We dug the hole, we put him in, we covered him up, we said the words. It’s been weeks. He’s not coming. It was enough.”
“I will always worry.”
He could stretch now. Fingers working through the dirt. Loosening it. Moving it. He could feel the worms around him. He welcomed their presence. It meant the dirt wasn’t packed firm. If the worms could work it so could he.
“Do you think we should go look and make sure everything is still well?”
“No. I think you should stop worrying. You need to move on. What is the point of burying him if you just keep trying to dig him back up?”
“Don’t say such things. Nobody should dig him up. That wouldn’t be advisable.”
“Metaphorically. It was a metaphor. He’s buried. We dug the hole, we put him in, we covered him up, we said the words.”
It was raining. He could feel the moisture on his face. Now was the tricky part. He needed to move the mud before it settled down on him more solidly. He could shift his shoulders now. Water easing under his back. Yes.
“I dreamed that he came back.”
“Because you keep bringing him back. Let him stay buried.”
“That’s what I hope. Let him stay buried.”
There were deer above him. He could hear them sniffing at the earth. He willed them to paw the dirt. To move it for a better, stronger scent. They stopped. Then they ran.
“You dug the hole, you put him in, you covered him up, you said the words.”
“Yes, how many times do you need to hear from me?”
“The dreams are every night now. He is restless.”
He could feel the sunshine. For the first time in months there was warmth on his face. Inches. Just inches now. Fingers stretching, pulling the dirt down, shoulders shifting, raising up. Inches.
“When was the last time you slept?”
“Last week? The week before? I don’t know. I can’t. He is there. Waiting.”
“For the last time, we dug the hole, we put him in, we covered him up, we said the words.”
He closed his eyes. He took a deep breath. Finally able to breath free. No dirt in his nose. No grit in his teeth. He smiled. It was a fearful thing to see.
“No! They dug the hole! They put you in! They covered you up! They said the words! You were buried well!”
“I was buried well. But I was not buried deep…”