Monday, September 5, 2011
The Kiss: A Dismemberment Story
The neck makes an ugly sound as it cracks.
I didn't drop the hammer at first. I just stood over his body, contemplating my next move. I knew he was dead. A person's neck is not meant to turn in that direction. I crouched low enough to the ground to get a good look at him. His eyes were open, forever caught in the endless question of why. I laid the hammer, my murder weapon, down beside him.
"Now, what do I do with you," I asked him. His corpse lacked a reply.
Slowly, I grabbed him by the arms and began the arduous task of dragging him out of the shed. I knew, without much thought or plan, where I was taking him.
The lake was no more than a hundred paces from the tool shed. In the summer time, it was home to a host of snakes, snapping turtles, and other assortment of carnivorous creatures. As children, we were not allowed anywhere near its banks. Fishing was not permitted. Swimming was out of the question. The lake was simply a mirage. An illusion of tranquility and summer enjoyment. My dad liked to tell me there were at least a thousand different ways to die in there.
It was the perfect spot to dispose of the body.
I was only able to drag him a quarter of the way before I had to sit and rest. The sun was beginning to say goodbye on this eventful day, when I sensed the first rumblings of an animal off in the distance. I didn't want to be discovered by any of the animals that lived out that way after sunset. Managing his heavy body was proving to be more difficult than I had anticipated. Killing had been easy. But, with his dead weight, I was not making much headway. Reluctantly, I decided on an ulterior, yet messier, method of concealing my crime. I went back into the tool shed and fetched the axe that my dad used to chop wood with in the winter time. My plan was to cut off the limbs and throw them in the lake. With the extra weight taken off, I reasoned I should be able to maneuver his torso with better ease.
At least that was the plan.
Our bodies are made to stay intact; to carry us through life with the protection that we need to sustain it. After we die, our bodies refuse to give up the fight. Our hearts, even though they cease to pump, still receive electrical impulses from the brain signalling some form of movement. Our bones, once given the duty to hold us upright and to protect our more fragile organs, refuse to break even after we have exhaled our last breath. These are the moments, that as living creatures, we don't realize. The corpse, however, looking at me with his neck twisted at that unnatural angle, was all too aware.
I approached him stealthily with the axe in my hand. I held it over my head, ready to swing at the slightest movement. I knew he was dead. Yet, something in me didn't trust death to keep him down. I circled his carcass a few times, nudging him with the axe handle here and there, half way expecting a reaction. When none was displayed, I prepared myself for the dismemberment.
I had originally drug him to the spot on his belly. His head laid at such an angle, that if he were on his back, his face would be in the dirt. So, I kept him on his stomach and spread his arms and legs out. He resembled a twisted angel. He looked halfway up at the sky, still kept one eye on me; while the other watched the ground.
I decided to start with his arms, rather than his legs. I had no reason behind this action. It just seemed like a good place to begin.
With the axe raised over my head, I stood poised to bring it down as hard as I could. Taking deep breaths, I swung with all my might.
And completely missed.
Undaunted, I attempted the act a second time. On this go around, I caught the arm where it joins to the shoulder. I felt the axe ripped through the muscle and tissue as it meant resistance at the bone. Again, I lifted the axe over my head and swung down. The cracking sound let me know that I was at least somewhat successful.
The fourth time was undoubtedly the charm. The cracking of the bones and cartilage gave way to the axe sweeping clean through to the ground. Careful not to get too much blood on me, I picked the limb up by the elbow and carried it to the banks of the pond. Once there, I threw it as far as I could into the placid waters. I returned to the body to repeat the process three more times.
By the time I had thrown the last limb into the lake, the sun had set. Working by the light of the moon, I made my way back to the torso. Even in the night, I could see blood splattered everywhere. I imagined what I must look like in my jean shorts and t-shirt. I could smell his blood mixed with my sweat all over me. Wiping the beads of perspiration from my forehead, I grabbed him by what remained of his clothes, and proceeded to drag him the rest of the way to the lake.
A person's body weighs considerably less when it's missing appendages.
Besides, I needed to get to bed. The next day was a school day.