A Cabin, a Piano, and 5 Bodies - Chapter 1 - Neela

I couldn't help but stare at how that stupidly vapid black bird gnawed at my leg. I named him Greg. He was having a feast, that Greg.

– "Might want to save some for later..." – I cynically joked with him at some point.

Bloody mess. Even though the leg was still attached to me, I had lost any semblance of feeling from my knee down a few hours before.

A fallen 2 Metric Ton boulder to the knee will do that to you.

If I had to describe my emotions at this particular junction in my life, I'd say it was half defeat, half morbid curiosity.

Still, I've got to admit I wasn't all there, within that spanking-new sinkhole
in the middle of the forest. As I accepted my limb's fate I allowed my mind to wander aimlessly.

A cockroach materialized in front of me from deep within my brain. It wasn't a metaphor. It was an specific roach, one of countless critters fallen victim to my footwear during my childhood. She laid there on my mother's kitchen counter, more than half of her body-mass now splattered over the otherwise pristine marble-acrylic surface.

I left her for dead; maybe subconsciously expecting mother to find her and flip out about the over-valued kitchen counter I had probably (but not really) ruined. Just one of those hundreds if not thousands of "precious" and "invaluable" petty little things which mother owned and cared for that didn't include me.

I went ahead and indulged in a lengthy and unsupervised T.V. marathon (commonplace in my household as I, being the product of two power-driven and somewhat apathetic workaholics, had no quarrels in taking advantage of my solitude). Then I lost my spine as prime-time began and decided to go back to clean up my roachy mess before parent A or parent B came back home.

Ants had partially beat me to it. Three of her bottom legs were missing. Some of the internal goo that had sprayed out had been scraped off and taken back to the ant colony a while ago.

I grabbed a chair, sat down, and contemplated this peaceful yet pulsating view. That's when I realized she wasn't dead.

I wasn't surprised, at all. We've all heard the scientific fact / horror tale of the roach's ability to stay alive even a week after being decapitated.

There she lay. Antennae sporadically moving slowly. Back in real life, that's when I rationalized that if cockroaches have feelings, she might've felt how I did there in my cave, under my rock, defeated, annoyed, delusional even.

Then shit got real. I remembered how the ants crept up and bit just a little too high up the roach's body. She began flailing her legs in what I considered to be the entomological equivalent to excruciating agony.

– "Fuck that" – I thought.

I might not consider myself a "pussy", but pain and I don't fare well. Not too long before this moment, adrenaline's effect had worn off, pain had caught up to me, and dying by simply giving up had seemed a bit too real of an option for me to now let that bird (or any other animal which might follow) catch up with the parts of me still sending synapse up my spine.

A vegan fruit-cake "friend" of mine once explained to me how, during his one-week fast, he had achieved a state of "ketosis".

– "You get energy waves throughout the day" – he'd say.

Maybe this was it. I was in ketosis, my body flowing with magical non-caloric energy, and now was my chance to reach for a crevice in the stone-wall and pull myself away and apart of the bottom half of my right leg.

A shiver went down my spine. The image of the bloody carnage, of my maimed leg, it was a little too vivid in my mind. I checked the wounded area. Aside from the bone inside having become practically sand, the skin seemed fairly intact underneath the rock. Yeah, no way I'd be able to rip my meat by sheer pulling strength if this boulder hadn't already.

– "Fuck you bladder..." – I let out between clenched teeth.

Had I not wandered off away from my tent to pee in the middle of the night I might've just been startled awake by the rumble of the sinking ground. I would've packed my shit up and went back home with a story of my "near death experience" for people to roll their eyes at whenever I would've drunkenly played it up during new year's eve parties.

I looked around. An upside-down fallen pine tree still held outside the hole by its roots. Grass. Dirt. Fucking rocks and boulders, too big to pick up and smash against my leg.

– "FuuUUUCK you GEOLOGY!" – I screamed.

Had this happened just a bit nearer to my camp site, maybe I'd be able to reach out and fetch a knife, a stake from my tent, hell, even my kettle, anything to cut myself free from this cold and mossy grave.

Greg continued pecking... as if I wasn't even there anymore. This irked me.

"I might not be able to get myself free," – I thought – "but this bird... fuck this bird!" –

Angrily, I unbuttoned and took off my pijama shirt. I began flailing it at my non gratto companion, around the boulder.

– "Shoo! Fuck you! Fuck!" – I exclaimed.

Then, letting blind fury guide me, I grabbed a fist-full of dirt, placed it in the middle of the shirt's sleeve, grabbed it in a sort of sling-like fashion, and waved the projectile as hard as I could towards Greg.

I hit him dead-center in his body. He flew away, cawing. Almost sure he was a raven. Made me reconsider how smart I thought they were. Had seen some documentaries about it.

– "Jesus..." – I sighed.

Now I felt fairly cold, lying shirtless atop dirt and rubble.

I surveyed the shirt. It was obviously dirty. Rather than consider putting it back on, I wondered if I could fashion a noose out of it.

I had always enjoyed studying stoicism, but had never agreed with the great stoics in regards to their views on suicide... until that moment.

– "HELLO?" – A voice sang by someone seemingly moving towards my hole.

– "Shit, what?" – I thought – "Y-yes..." – my words fumbled – "YES! DOWN HERE! HELP!" – I finally let out trying to compose myself.

– "OH NO! ARE YOU OK?!" – It was a girl, probably standing atop the edge above me, but I couldn't see her.

– "NOT REALLY! BUT I'M BETTER NOW THAT YOU'RE HERE! I'M GOING TO LIVE!" - I replied.

– "YOU SURE ARE! MY NAME'S NEELA! WHAT'S YOUR NAME?!" –

I never told Neela this, but I cried a little right then and there.

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