Inside the chest of a corpse, two worms become entwined at one end. At the other end they also meet. The two slithering creatures become one and form a heart. The heart begins to beat. The warmth of the heart attracts others. Each wanting to be a part of something bigger than themselves. The corpse stirs. Nearby, a wandering soul that could find no peace feels a pull to return to it’s vessel. A place that now teems with wormy life.
The long stringy creatures tug at the bones of the corpse like strings on a puppet.
Then like two magnets that slowly move towards one another at first but then attraction becomes too great to resist and they slam into one another at an unavoidable speed, the soul and the corpse are reunited.
“Audra.” The name escapes from the corpse and travels through the thin air of an October night where it falls upon the ears of a perched black bird. The bird squawks and spreads it’s wings and directs it’s attention towards the worm infested corpse. The worms recoil by nature and bring the corpse to it’s knees.
“Wait!” The soul can feel the fear of the worms writhe in his body as though they were his own. The black bird swoops over the corpse’s head barely missing it and then climbs high into the dark night sky.
The corpse stands and looks upward. Only the silhouettes of the bare tree limbs above can be seen in the moonlight. Perhaps, the black bird had flown away. Scared by the waving arms that the corpse had presented during the bird’s attack, Perhaps.
A harsh caw is heard. The sound echos from every direction. The corpse kneels, covers his head and waits. The hairs on the back of his neck tingle. That is If the corpse had hair. The worms on his neck bones that are exposed to the night air squirm to get to a safer position. Only the slithering of the worms can be heard over the loud silence that seems to last a lifetime even for a wandering soul.
Eyes black as night stare from the black bird who now sits in front of the corpse on the cold ground of the woods. The bird’s head cocks rapidly from side to side. No doubt, to get a better look at it’s prey so that it can pick the juiciest of worms for it’s dinner.
The black bird squawks something that sounds almost familiar. The corpse recoils. The bird squawks again but this time the corpse recognizes the sound. It’s his name. “Brian. It’s me.” says the black bird. The corpse looks deep into the dark eyes of the bird and sees a light there. “Audra?” questions the corpse.
“Yes, it is me. I have been perched in that tree for a 1000 years watching your soul toil this ground. Hoping one day you would leave this world and join me in the afterlife” she said
“Why did you not leave?” she asked.
“On the first day of my death I was afraid.” he says “then the fear turned to anguish and the anguish turned to anger and the anger turned to hate and the hate turned to complacency and there I stayed until the pull of this worm heart reminded me of my own heart and how it was once filled with your love.”
The black bird gently pecked the corpse on it’s face with the only kiss a bird can give a corpse.
The corpse collapsed and the glint from the bird’s eyes left and that is where this story ends and mother nature returns to her proper order; A black bird pecking worms from a corpse.