He arrived in a haze. This world around him did not feel dream-like, but how could it not be? Still, he knew his eyes were open, darting about, searching for a light that hadn’t arrived when he had. To his right, he found not his glasses resting against his nightstand, but a steep, damp wall. When his fingers fell away from the endless wall, they took with them a cascade of rubble. It rained onto him and continued for several moments, even after his hand had rested against the floor of his confined room. The cascade continued, and with every moment, larger rocks rained onto him.

I’ve been asleep, but now I can finally feel the pain the pile on top of me brings. It hurts. Piece by piece, dirt falls on my body, and the pain grows. I feel as though my chest could collapse. The pebbles fall and land on my body as I try to concentrate and figure out what is happening. What started with small specks of dirt and debris gradually increased, and now every blow feels like when my brother punches me, but it’s everywhere, everywhere except my face, which is left untouched, probably so that I can watch the dirt fall on my body. My blue PJ’s are ripped, and I want to go home. A few rocks slide down the hill of dirt and enter my eyes. I’m blinded, but the pain continues as the dirt continually scratches the black of my eye. The dirt falling on me is blurry and hazy and it’s really hard for me to see. It’s going into my mouth. Help me. Now is the moment when I scream.

The men stood atop his place in the earth; he could see them now. The sun had begun its slow sloping summit from its place beneath the line of trees several hours ago, illuminating vicious faces watching his every move. Shovels in hand, they watched him even now. He found he could no longer speak, or even move. He laid in silence as they piled bits of dust and earth onto the ever-growing mountain that lay across his chest. Stones no longer dug into his paling flesh, and his blood no longer mixed with the dirt above him. The mountain had grown so high that it no longer touched his small figure. He was numb. Soon, his face would be consumed by the dirt. He would not be able to see or to breathe. Soon, he would find himself no longer on this earth.

The dirt continues to burn my eyes. It hurts so bad. What is this feeling? I feel like I’m not alive, but I am, I think. The dirt is all over my face now. It’s in my mouth, my throat, my lungs. It’s never been so hard to breathe before. Screaming doesn’t work. Nothing does. Where’s my mom? She would know what to do. Where are the things that are supposed to help me? Where’s my family? Where’s God? They’re not here, but I am. Below the dirt. In the darkness. Alone. Dirt fills my lungs and rocks press against my body as I am flattened by this mountain. I finally stop fighting. My body lies there. Motionless.

They stood watching for several moments, satisfied from a long day’s work.

The men who killed me.

The faces of the shadowed men lingered for a moment longer, their eyes watching the soft mound of dirt. When they walked away, they left their shovels resting against the grave beside the freshly bought bouquet of crimson, hemic roses. They couldn’t leave their sacrifice without a consolation, after all. He had to be honored.

I don’t feel honored. I’m dead.

The men walked away, and the little boy remained in his place beneath the ground.