Sepulchre… can a word taken out of context be an omen? If so, I am bound to die soon.

He opened his eyes. What stupidity is this, he thought. The word kept invading his mind. He let it for a while, with a sense of perverse, masochistic pleasure, chuckling to himself at its persistence. Oh stop it now, will you. Sepulchre, sepulchre.

He got up wearily. Sepulchre, sepulchre. The tap started its racket but not loud enough to smother this pest. It was like a piece of scotch tape stuck to your finger. No matter how hard you shook your hand.

He turned the radio on and relaxed briefly to the sound of a piano piece. He attempted guessing the composer, just to occupy his mind. Beethoven? No, more like Brahms. Sepulchre. Damn.

***

WHAT ARE YOU DOING? They all shouted despite themselves. His arms went limp; her body, all alone now and heavy in its isolation, slowly lowered itself to the floor. Reluctantly. The horror of this reality was difficult to comprehend. He wanted to hear her say something, cough, emit a sound, the sound of the working of a human body, alive. But she wasn’t.

He suddenly became aware of the eyes witnessing the event with him, reflections of his bewilderment at this intrusion of death into what they called “life”.

She died. Without warning, so it seemed. Are we blind to the hints, he couldn’t help the thought from ridiculing his feelings.

He let her fall from his arms at the moment of sensing her acceptance of the inevitable.

***

Weary, he carried his body out of sleep and entered existence. The music had stopped but the memory of the strange thoughts that invaded his sleep lingered on. Sepulchre.

He was so very tired. Think. Don’t think. Stop. Go.

He washed. He shaved. He dressed and walked out of his enclosure. Enclosure. My God, he never thought of his apartment as such. A sense of futility crossed his mind but he was far too unprepared to accept it, to even consider it.

***

His hands went limp. Her body slipped from his grip with the frightening resignation of a dead object. No resistance. No control. Only one’s feelings to hold on to…

You have to learn how to die before you can learn how to live. Who said that?

***

Go away! His brain hurt like a bruise, it cringed before the thought as one would before a blow.

From The Book of Unfinished Stories

©aother

Art by Zdzislaw Beksinski

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