It would be wrong to say that death was the beginning for me. Death was simply part of a much protracted end. An end that I face, but cannot see. Real sight is denied me, now. The dead have no useful eyes; for they are shunned by light. The dead have no love; for they are shunned by salvation. The dead have only blistering desire; for the dead are embraced by corruption. I carry corruption with me and it drips from my sagging flesh.
Sensation flooded my body when I awoke on that table in that room in the dim light of an oil lamp. I cannot, in truth, say what I felt for the emotions of the dead remain unnamed. As I remain unnamed. In life I was a man – that much is clear from a glance at my own anatomy – but in death I am nothing but a moveable husk. Naming me would akin to naming a pile of clothes or a gust of wind. Names are for those things we find important and that we wish to incorporate into ourselves. I am a dead man and none wish to incorporate with me.
I screamed. It was involuntary. A scream is the purist action a human body can take. It is a release of all tension and a denial of the exterior world by way of a corrupting propulsion of miasmic air and fetid sound. I screamed and flung my arms about hoping to find purchase on this world; something to grab, to clutch, to hold. An anchor.
The sound of footsteps. A door smashing against the wall. Shouting.
A man’s arm wrapped around my neck from behind. I gripped the forearm in my hands, fingers like claws against his rippling muscles. He was strong. But, in death, one does not hold back. The impulses that drive the living to survive also keep their actions in check. Hands that can splinter wood resist splintering bone. Teeth that can tear meat resist tearing flesh. The dead have no such issues. To the dead, life is an obstacle that is best gotten over or gotten through. My fingernails easily tore his skin. I pulled his arm and he began shrieking. I found his bone and and gripped it as if it were a club. Pulling, I removed his arm from around my throat and from his own body. My power was immense.
The man was squealing on the floor at my feet. I took the forearm and drove it down into his chest, puncturing bone, lungs, spine. I pulled the arm free and thrust it down again and again and again until I was certain I shared the room with no more life.
At the edge of my hearing, a sound. People. More than a few. Several? They seemed far off but growing closer. I moved away from the voices and found a window. My legs were strong and they drove me through the glass. Shards cut my skin, but pain was no longer a concern. Neither was infection. I had no need to remove the glass from my body, so I ran.
A smell assaulted my nostrils. Decay. Stretching out before me. Woods. Forest. I plunged in.
I avoided the trees by the stench of their life. I clambered towards the fallen, the rot, the pulp. In death, the ground is your sky. The world is inverted and you long for the cool rain of dirt to clean your face and wash the water from your unseeing eyes.
A shout. I turned and charged towards the offending voice.
Meat met meat as I tore into the warm body before me. Barely had it time to cry out before I extinguished the horrible living, breathing, pulsating freshness it carried about the world. I had to, I needed to, obliterate the living. Warm blood cooled rapidly on my skin and coated me in the smell of purification.
More voices. More yelling. I ran. Although I was strong, I was not invincible.
Mud. Deep mud. A cover. I plunged in and buried myself in its cool depths.
Now, I wait. This is no life. But, I want no life. This is death and death is not the end. Death is a way-station. Death is a portal. I can no longer see the world of the living but the world of the living is limited. I will see beyond that world. That is my destination.
When night comes, I will rise. I will enter my new world through this old one.
Until then, I wait. And hate the living.