The Journey (Dead Men Smile)
Our eyes met, or should I say what was left of his eyes. His eyeballs were popping out, one of them stopped from kissing the earth by a string of flesh coated with dry blood. His body was turned upside down and his arms extended downwards as though he was caught in a frozen moment of surrender.
I think I saw a smile spattered across his face, made more visible by his swollen cheeks that gathered together in a ball far away from his lips, probably in fright of the sight that now confronted them, probably in the horror of beholding what had now become of a close friend. It was only his upper body that was visible, his lower body was submerged in the wreck of the instrument which he once drove, but now drove, no, better still, ushered life out of him in the most brutal way possible.
The smashed in door covered up the lower part of his body, but I could still see a little of what was cooking down there. His belly was wide open, it being tired of closure, decided to show to the world the wonders of biology, hidden by a flap of flesh, in the most gruesome way possible. Further down, his legs were wrapped in close embrace as though they, fed up of being separated for their whole life chose to spend their dying moments ensconced together.
I looked away and tried to hide my disgust with a placid face but something kept drawing me back to the face of horror that I just beheld. I turned to look again but this time I started from the ground. Blood spewed from his body, reaching out to the earth to sate its unquenchable thirst brought about by the scorching and unrelenting sun, but was barred from reaching its destination by a mixture of black coal and tar that served as guard to protect the earth from the speeding feet of many that journeyed along its face.
The blood resigning to its fate of not being accepted by the guards of the earth as good enough to quench the thirst of their client, chose to settle along the same path created for sojourners, and was congealed by the unbridled heat of the sun. I traced to source of blood to the man's head, a deep gash by the corner of his forehead answered my probing, a wound so deep I think I saw his skull.
His smile came to me again, this time it seemed to speak to me, using a voice that only I could hear. The voice came to me on the wings of the wind, blowing gently across my face and seeking for an entry to take its passenger to its destination. Finally it found a channel which it took and dropped his passenger safely in the seat of my mind. I shuddered a little, and then tried to listen to the message sent from the man who lay there resting on the remains of a broken window that apparently he had shattered. At first I couldn't get it, everything was just numb and silent, and then it came, gently coursing over the waves of my soul, sending Goosebumps all over my naked skin.
It was so eerie, speaking of a life that was beyond reality, a life that only those without life could behold. It was a story, speaking of men who were long dead before they were killed, speaking of hearts that weren't living but surviving and speaking of what could be if there was life.
That was story I took as our God is Good bus crawled past the wreck, the heavy traffic now taking its toll. It was a message from the bloodied man in blue who was now being dragged from his car by two prisoners of the road, in matching outfits, the jagged ends of the broken window tearing through his flesh, bleeding out death.
It was a message sent not through words but on the view-less wings of perception and sentiment. It wasn't only I who received a message, but my fellow congregants who sat in the bus with me too, under the sermon of a popular preacher named Reality. I heard not their message nor knew what they heard, but I saw it in their eyes, tasted it in their initial remarks, smelt it in their urging of the driver to move along quickly and felt it in their silence that dominated the next 10km of our journey.
We all reacted differently; our driver spewing a thick glob of spit, before muttering something that I didn't understand as he zoomed out of the traffic, the woman behind me said something like "O ma se o" as she folded her arms and rested her head on the window. The girl beside me chose to show me her emotions in her whatsapp status, painting a clear image of shock and disgust with small yellow creatures called "emoji", telling her family and friends what she had just witnessed. I sat there, clutching my laptop bag as though my life depended on it, trying to absorb fully the message I had just received
We all left the scene of the crime, committed by death, with stony faces, every man glancing at another, before withdrawing into our individual abode of thoughts to begin a service of silence, probably for the dead man. The realization that the man with the smile could have been any of us made the silence heavier, the fact that we shall meet the same fate one day fueled the silence as we journeyed on.
Reality is the only thing that is real.
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