Sunday, 9 November 2014

You wake up to your chest heaving and the taste of another man’s blood in your mouth

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AN: present tense messes me up every time, but I think I fixed the errors.
You wake up to your chest heaving and the taste of another man’s blood in your mouth.
Another nightmare.
You are so tired of these nightmares. It takes hours for the taste to disappear. And days or weeks to work out the identity of the dead person whose blood is in your mouth.
And then the next part of your task starts. It is kind of self-imposed. Nobody makes you track down the body, but experience has taught you that if you don’t find it, you keep waking up with the blood in your mouth. The same blood.
You can’t say how you know it is the same blood, but you know it is. If you don’t look, you can’t sleep, you can’t get on with your life. The dead are so loud. They are insistent and endlessly patient. They have time to wait.
First time, you try finding out who died. Now, you start with a list of all the people who have gone missing. You learned quickly that it was not all dead who used you like this; but only the unfound ones. The ones whose bodies are hidden or lost. The victims of violence. They want to be found.
You are tired of searching alleys, breaking into squats or vacant houses. You have to drive roads to mark the exact spot where a car has driven off the edge; over a cliff or into a wooded gully. You can taste where is the right spot.
With time, you also learn that it is mostly murders that you deal with. Suicides less so. Maybe the victims are more insistent, or angrier? They are demanding.
You got arrested a couple of times. You know too much. You know the location of the body. You are an obvious suspect. Some police start to get to know you. It helps. You have people who would vouch for you.
You have a friend who helps you out. You aren’t sure why she helps you; the whole process freaks you both out. Your friend tries to find a way to make money out of it. Even just to cover costs. Petrol and accommodation cost money. The dreams make it hard for you to hold down a job. You make it more difficult for yourself; closer to the dead than the living. You take too many sick days. You will walk out on a job if you have a contact or a clue. Workplaces tend not to like that.
Your friend starts to take photos; to sell information and images to the press. The police don’t like that, but you need the cash. You are not so sure about it either, but you have to eat. Some grateful families pay you a reward for your trouble; a kind of finder’s fee.
You are not good with dealing with the families. Grief sometimes makes them angry; they blame you. You find dealing with the bereaved more tiring than dealing with the dead.
You exist like this for some time, until your friend asks why it was always the bodies of men that you found. You say that it was only the blood of men you tasted.
And then you start to wonder who does this for the women victims, and how can you find them?
© AM Gray 2014

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