Saturday, May 28, 2011

"Body Art"

Dreams, sometimes, come so vivid that they seem real. Even during the light of day, the dream lingers. This little scenario invaded my sleep the other night and begged to be written down!

“Body Art”

            We drove quickly past furrowed fields. Flat land stretched mile after mile, broken occasionally by disciplined groves of orange trees. Without warning, David swerved our SUV onto a dirt road, pluming dusty smoke behind us as he gunned the engine. I clutched onto the car door to keep upright during the sharp turn.
            Suddenly, David pulled to a stop in front of an empty field. To the right, a dilapidated shack reminded me that civilization easily fell to ruins. To the left, a grove of orange trees stood alert, the only witness to our actions. We climbed out of the car. I stood with uncertainty, but David jogged down the dirt road a stretch, eyes scanning right and left as he searched for the perfect item to incorporate into his latest sculpture. I decided to check the shed out of simple curiosity.
            The stench hit me ten feet away from the shack, practically knocking me off my feet. I retched and backed up a few paces, searching out air that wasn’t putrid. My stomach heaved out breakfast. I stood, bent double, one hand holding back my long hair while the other pressed against the fear that twisted my stomach. David must have heard me as he’s footsteps changed from a padded jog to an outright run.
            “What is it? Are you okay?” His concern made me feel a little better.
            Sinking to the ground, I swiped my mouth with the hem of my t-shirt and pointed in the direction of the hut. “Something’s dead. Over there.”
            David’s tolerance for anything that reeks is renown, so he cautiously approached the shed. I watched as the doorway framed him in blackness. He didn’t enter the small building, but stood searching the darkness for a few seconds before returning to my side.
            “There’s a dead body in there!” Excitement tinged his voice. “Wow! This is perfect!”
            “What do you mean? This is horrible!” I started to cry.
            “Look, I think I can scoop the remains onto that tarp we brought,” David’s eyes danced as the ideas flooded through him. “This is just what I’m looking for.”
            A dead body!” I screamed as I scrambled back to my feet. I clutched at David’s arm, pleading, “Leave it alone. Let’s call the police. This could be a crime scene!”
            Possessed with passion, David swiped my arm away. “Look. No one knows we’re here. We don’t even live in this part of Texas. No way anyone can connect a missing person to us.”
            “But David,” I appealed to his sense of honor, “this is wrong! Someone is searching for this person. There’s a family out there missing a loved one. You can’t just steal the body!”  

Before I knew it, I was standing in front of David’s creation, which he called Body Art. A grotesque sculpture of woods, branches, fabrics, and severed human limbs adorned my backyard. An arm, hand splayed in an appeal to the gods, reached skyward. A foot rooted the structure to the ground. Horror and terror filled me as my gaze riveted onto the art. My mind raced to explanations I could give the authorities if David ever decided to display his masterpiece.
I tried, once again, to reason with him. “Couldn’t you buy and use a skeleton for this? Couldn’t you accomplish the same thing without using real remains?”
“What would we do with the body parts then?”
“We’d take them up to the hill country. We could distribute them in tiny parcels, bury them and put rocks on top of them. Scatter them over so many different places that no one would ever find them.”
“Sounds like you’ve given this a lot of thought,” David’s attention turned to me. “I thought you wanted to notify the police?”
“That option left us when you scooped that body into the tarp!” I snapped angrily. “No, this is our only solution now.”
David shrugged his shoulders as he looked back at his work. “I just wanted to do this. It’s done.” He angled his head as he thought, “I’ll dismantle it tonight, and we’ll do as you want.”

Under cover of darkness, we drove randomly through the hill country. We’d pull off the back roads, duck under barbed-wired fences with shovels in hand, and buried the pieces to the body we’d found.

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

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