Dead Bodies Everywhere

It was near­ly evening when I spot­ted the first body in the corn.

I had walked along the coun­try road west from town since mid­morn­ing, let­ting me mind wan­der the whole time. I didn’t need to be back at work for three whole days, so a good tramp along prairie path­ways seemed like a good start to my mini vacation.

I fig­ured I still had light to go a cou­ple more miles before I picked out a place to spend the night, so I sat down on a road­side log to rest for five min­utes or so. Look­ing across at the field on the north side of the road, I imme­di­ate­ly saw the human skele­ton stretched out face down along a row amongst the scant knee-high corn. The thing was intact, with the skin still cling­ing to the soles of the feet. It looked as if it might have had a thin cov­er­ing of dirt thrown over it at one point, but not very effec­tive­ly. I was try­ing to fig­ure out how it could have been skele­tized with­out ani­mals dis­turb­ing the bones when I saw the next one, about twen­ty feet back to the east. Same con­di­tion, also with the soles of the feet still hang­ing on.

I walked back along the road to look clos­er, and now I could see the line of bod­ies stretch­ing back the length of the field. There seemed to be oth­ers, too, not human, far­ther back in the corn, in ear­li­er stages of decom­po­si­tion. The whole scene had sud­den­ly tak­en on a The Cell-meets-The Exor­cist vibe that I wasn’t lik­ing. The sun­set light­ing had switched to a green­ish-gray gloam­ing, and the air felt heavy, wet and elec­tric. I tried to dial 911 on my cell, but some­how I was not get­ting any ser­vice here. I wasn’t that far out of town. When I had stopped to rest this had been bare­ly a dip in the prairie; now it seemed I was stand­ing in the bot­tom of a fair­ly steep val­ley, and the hori­zon had become indis­tinct, a dark haze beyond the increas­ing­ly vague cornfields.

Then a fam­i­ly of four came walk­ing across the field: man, woman, two lit­tle girls maybe 8 and 10 years old. They didn’t seem to notice any of the bod­ies, but walked right past them and up onto the road. I start­ed to ask them if they had a phone, if they could help me alert the author­i­ties to what­ev­er the hell was going on here, but then I noticed their eyes. As in, they didn’t have any. Just dark, emp­ty sock­ets. They walked right past me with­out any acknowl­edg­ment and head­ed west, the way I had been head­ed but was cer­tain­ly not going any­more. It was time to get the heck out of here, if I even could. The way things were going, maybe it would be sim­pler just to wake up.

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