The wind whistled in his ears and the rain drops started to fell, big, cold and without mercy. The old man was buried to the knees and the young man discovered that the madman wasn’t wearing conventional clothes, almost naked with his shirt and cotton pants. The cold should be slipping through his bones but the heat of the exercise helped him to ignore it.
-I’m going, damn it- He shouted.
-Hey, get out of my garden! – And Enoch hold the heavy metal tool in his hands.
-I told you to turn off the stupid music – Answered the shape, completely out of control, twisting himself, without turning around to see his face.
-I said turn off the damn music, it’s turning me crazy- Shouted one last time, and he looked big in the darkness.
And he did something unexpected. He started to hit the shovel to the ground, like he was attacking it somehow, again and again, until he fell exhausted in the hole. He started to dig with his hands, angry, ignoring the rocks, the loosed stones, everything that made cuts in his hands and under his nails.
Enoch was standstill in his place, the muscles that before frightened with every sound were now frozen. The rain fell stronger and wet the man that groaned in the mud. With the corner of his eyes he saw a flash and some seconds later, a distant bang. Then everything happened at the same time, the man got up and leaped on him, he waved his sledgehammer which pierced the empty space between them without hitting anything, a glint that painted everything white and an immediate noise that invaded everything. Then he could hear a scream and the sound of a door opening.
When he recovered his conscience the sledgehammer was some meters from him, on the emerald grass. He got up carefully, shaking because of the rest of electricity on his body. The lighting fell violently on the garden next door, but it went across his veins and made his bones tremble. His ears were whistling and they would ring for days. Ami was taking of his clothes to apply first aid where needed. Everything looked well, it was just the shock.
His mind went to the space between the frame and the door and he could see the body of a motionless man.
The police took half an hour in arriving. The ambulance took even more time. The garden filled with lights reds and blues, like a party no one wants to assist; and one by one, the officers went through the house. In the kitchen, Ami, without changing herself, cold to the bones, was preparing coffee to the police men, who were writing a report of the events. Because they were the parents of a child with serious health problems, it was arranged to write the details of the report in the house to evade an unnecessary movement, even if it still was some procedure left to do. They made them many questions, while at their back the medical examiner made the expertise.
The morning hurried and the sun started to set the place to an ambers colour. The couple agreed on they could not recognise the man in the darkness and that they didn’t know anyone with reasons to do that. An officer called from outside and they got out to recognise him, the attacker that was now covered with a sheet. The body had a calm grimace, like he was sleeping deep and the woman covered a scream when she remembered him.
-Yes, I know him, it’s our neighbour, the one of that house- She declared and she was surprised by the tears. She found herself obliged to tell the conversation they had three days before about the noises.
For her relief, the medical examines announced.
-You can leave them alone, this man died from a cardiac failure. No signs of fighting or violence in the body, unless the ones he made himself-
Ami moved away the view from the arm that was laying on the grass, the hand like a claw that hanged onto a few steps from her. She looked up and saw the face of her son on the window. But she also looked around for the window where she discovered that skull like face.
-I think he lived with someone else- Informed, feeling uncomfortable.
She went with the police to the house next door, for a brief check-up. They pushed the front door with the fingertips and it opened gently, the wood creaking with the movement. At the end of the stairs, in the middle of the room, was a battered wheelchair and the body of the woman was dragged by the floor and writhed, cold, with eyes opened and mouth in the middle of a scream.
Rem went down the stairs slowly, properly bundled up and he stopped in the middle of the kitchen, looking with shyness at the enormous police officer that was typing the report on a screen that looked like a small toy in his big hands. He hugged the teddy bear, while her mother was putting on the table the caramel bread and preparing the pills he should take.
-How is everything going, little champion? – He was friendly greeted by the man when he observed the way the kid stabbed him with his dark eyes.
-There are more outside- The boy said.
-Excuse me, what?-
-There are more outside- He repeated, between silences.
-Oh, yes, there are more police officers working outside. Don’t worry, kid, we’ll leave you alone soon, when we finish-
-No. Not you. There are more outside; under the ground- He pronounced every word really slowly.
The kitchen door opened wide and a young and novice officer, with a pale face and open eyes said with strong, trembling voice.
-There are more! We found more bodies buried in the ground!-
In the dark soil was resting a pale wrist, without pulse, of a stranger.
They needed several days until they dug all the bodies out. Ami gave her report to the police and moved to a hospital room with her son, because she couldn’t stand the vision of all those corpses going through her garden. And every time the shovel hit the ground, older bodies were discovered, until they reached the white skulls and bones. They placed them in boxes inside a dark van that left and came back many times in the day. And she couldn’t comprehend how no one saw them, how they were under her feet.
The police resolved not to touch the vegetable garden; they kept it intact while they dug up what it were needed to kept in the ground. To the end of the week, when the whole garden wasn’t more than a mass of uniform dark soil, they finally thought they had dug what it looked to be everyone.
How all these missing people came to the cemetery without tombstone or graves was a mystery. The couple wanted to be informed about the examinations, fearing they lived where a serial killer once lived. But all of them, according undetailed reports, died from natural causes.
It looked like something called them to die in that place. Like something made them to come there, event that repeated year after year since decades, even before the couple was born. Like an elephant cemetery. The strange of the case didn’t let them to be unperceived.
Rem illness didn’t do anything more than getting worse. In his unexpected residency in the hospital he started to lose the movement of his legs and the strength of his muscles. The chest burned with every breath and the medic in charge had to change the medication abruptly.
And he never complained. He looked, in silence, without pronounce any words for days, without reacting to the shots of the needles or to the words his mom said to him while she was measuring his pressure, his temperature, his reflexes. He looked straight, like he could see over everything, with the eyes filled with darkness.
When, after all, they could return, for the first time in a long time the night was completely calm, silent, only interrupted by the breathing, deep and calm, of the inhabitants of the house. The silence was so that Ami found her with the eyes open. It wasn’t silence; it was the lack of something, the sound of a forced absence.
Almost like the earth complained about its emptiness.
And in the next room she could hear him whispering.
-I’m going, I’m going, I’m going, I’m going-
The next morning, she finally harvested the carrots, the potatoes, the pumpkins and every other vegetable her garden grew. That was when she discovered that they all were red. It was a shiny, lovely but strange colour. Rem, silent with his big rounded eyes, looked too.
-The earth it’s not happy- Mumbled.
The wind that passed through the trees made a vibrant sound, while the big trunks swung without its permission. It lashed the windows, even when they were protected with the shutters, they could feel the pain of the house from its skeleton. She woke up when the blow at the door sounded for the fourth time. She got up, automatically, in the darkness and went outside. She was in the hallway when she recovered her conscience and when she realised what she was doing.
She waited in silence, without hearing anything more than the fury of the nature until the blows, hard and rhythmic, repeated on the door. She leaped on Enoch, waking him up, telling him that a madman was hitting the door at five in the morning. The electricity wasn’t off but the light weren’t on either, so they decided to call the police. It was when the two were on the hallway when they saw the thin shape of his son coming down the stairs.
Ami moved closer, in silence, to stop him and she took him by the arm.
-Dear, come back to bed- She asked sweetly. And Rem, in the darkness, stabbed her with his black eyes, like an infinite pit, and answered with a voice tone that leaved her frozen.
-Goodbye mom- And he turned around to keep coming down the stairs, slowly –I’m going, I’m going, I’m going-
And then they heard that earthy voice, deep voice that looked like it came from inside and outside the house itself. The voice of a child, of a man, of a woman.
-Come with me, come with us, stay forever-
-I’m going, I’m going, I’m going- He answered, almost inside a trance.
Like a duet in a catastrophic orchestra.
The storm turned around and the windows exploded, the silver light came through the broken glass and the music that came by the trees became stronger and more furious. Rem walked slowly over them, leaving a blooding print of his feet while Enoch trampled on them, trying to stop his son.
But he felt like he was sinking in the ground, like he was surrounded by sand that stopped him while his son crossed the doorframe. He was still hugging his teddy bear. Then he bent down, not like the desperate, furious shape that had been in the same garden one night. He removed the soft soil.
The moon lighted slightly the face of the little boy, the pale skin and without life, whose interior had only dust that came back to the dust. He buried himself with softness, he laid on the mud and the stones, and he covered himself with the blanket, the ground closed over him like a warm hug. And he thought he didn’t had to return back up there, if down there it felt so good.
And the earth itself danced, pleased to fill its collection.