by Esther Velez – August 29, 2022
He tried not to remember. That was the only way he could make it through. Keep yourself busy. Never let yourself be alone. Never have a moment to think.
He told himself it was helping.
After his family was asleep, it had become his habit to sit in the field, listening to the sounds of the wind, the trees, the animals scurrying through the grass. On most nights, he wouldn’t hear anything else and he could go back to his wife and his bed and sleep.
But on nights like tonight, he could almost hear it. It started off quiet, mixed in with the sounds of the night. Then it grew louder and louder, filling the silence between the noise, until it was the only thing he heard. It was his brother’s voice: calm, friendly, suddenly turning afraid. Pleading. Horrified. Gone.
He stayed like that, knees deep in the earth, the rage he had once felt crushing his ears again as it pounded through his head. And then it was gone, reduced to a whisper.
He reached down and grabbed a fistful of dirt. It crumbled under his touch, cursed as it was to yield him nothing. Even the earth would not let him forget. He stood up, the silence covering him in darkness. His wife would ask him why he came out here, but she would never understand.
Suddenly another voice filled the silence.
“What have you done?”
It was an ancient voice. Familiar. Terrifying. Gone.
He was trying.
Additional Art by Mateo Velez
See more of his work on IG: @lordoferewhon