The past few days have been anticlimactic. After the hoopla leading up to the recent public execution and the execution itself nothing recent seemed newsworthy. We were all sitting around the police scanner doing cross work puzzles or sudukos to pass the time till the end of our shift. I’d never get another story as juicy as the one I just completed, it would probably qualify me for a Pulitzer.
We dropped what we were doing, collectively. Something was going on at the nearby cemetery. The night watch men were calling for backup, one even suggested sending a swat team. Swat team to a cemetery? Some one must want out real bad!
We all sprinted to our cars. We weren’t friends now, we were competitors for a news story with a byline. The sun was rising in the east (of course) and blinding me as I drove into it but determination kept me going at an unsafe speed. I screeched to a stop as close as I could get to the cemeteries entrance that was guarded by three bronze horses rearing up on their hind legs. The gates were closed and police cars were jammed all about the inside with their lights blinking wildly. The officers had all arrived and jumped out of their cars where ever they braked to a stop, leaving doors open and motors running.
I showed my press badge and was immediately denied entry. What ever was going on was big. Of course rejection just fuels journalists, we‘ve always had trouble with authority. When we get a door slammed in our face, we look for the window. I walked around the parameters and discovered all the attention was located deep in the burying field at the mausoleum where they buried the terrorist who was claiming to overthrow the present political system. Using spy glasses, a reporter’s must have, I got a good view of the mausoleum, (a good view obtained from climbing a conveniently planted tree and hanging on for dear life while parting branches with one hand. ) Through the open door I could see a lidless sarcophagus with burial clothes lying about. The heavy door itself was lying on the ground feet away, as though blown off by an explosion.
I got my break! Two women were slipping out the back. I had seen them bawling at the execution, but now their faces were radiant. They sure didn’t look as upset as they did three days ago. I nimbly descended from the tree landing on my…(use your imagination) and hopped in my car. I was in hot pursuit. I followed the women to a house where they banged on the door until it opened. Three bearded men answered, cautiously, looking disheveled and dispirited. Were they hung over? Abruptly, as the women jabbered semi hysterically, the men’s faces lit up, in disbelieve then understanding. They underwent a fantastic transformation in the blink of an eye. I wish I could have heard the conversation! They hurdled themselves in the car with the women, well two did, one guy just took off on foot. He must think he’s athletic enough to out run a car. I was in pursuit once again, We were back at the cemetery. They had no luck getting in either, but they sure enjoyed seeing some robes being examined by the law officials. Did I see the imprint of a man on the white sheet? The third chap arrived, all sweaty and winded. After a brief rap session they got back in the car and took off. Guess what I did? Yep, I followed them.
On my car radio I heard that the criminal’s body had been stolen, presumably by his compatriots, in the night when two guards fell asleep. They were in deep do-do. The people of interest in the theft were those fanatics that had given their lives up to follow him, yet had dispersed during his trial and sentencing. They very same people I was chasing. What a lucky break! I would be responsible for solving this crime and getting maybe another Pulitzer. Every reporter had a sleuth for an alter ego.
I lurked about the house that was now becoming a gathering place of all the Executed’s allies. I was potentially in serious trouble if I got caught. These were societies lower layer, lower than dirt itself. Thieves, hookers, vagabonds, gypsies, Wal-Mart greeters. People with no qualms about breaking the law. As I observed them though, their actions seemed at odds with their stereo types. They were respectful of each other, differing to each other in ….love?
I crept up “bravely” and peeked in a expedient window, my luck just persisted. There he was! The corpse! Looking not so corpse-y! He certainly didn’t look as though he’d just been the main course at a barbeque in his honor. He glowed. Hey, how did he get in there, I’d been watching the entrance. I looked again, He was gone! I blinked, shook my head and swallowed, then started breathing again. I immediately fell backwards and landed on my…use your imagination again.
Every one that was hiding in the small house poured out and headed in multi directions. They were on a mission. I picked the two original women and trailed them for days as they spread the word. What word I don’t know, but those they shared it with went out and did the same. Did no one use the internet, email, fax machines, cell phone, or just regular land phones anymore? What ever was being shared was too big for contraptions that could be bugged or deciphered. There was a civil war brewing, terrorist activity. Code orange. Something. I should alert the officials. This was growing too big for me, if I didn’t tell someone something I’d become an accomplice. Tell them I saw the dead man, only he wasn’t dead. That I was stalking people. Maybe I better wait till I get a few more details, or until I get my affairs in order!
For six weeks I stayed on the stories scent, never going home, I just grabbed snippets of sleep here and there and pulled into drive through windows for food, ordering enough each time to last a day or two. Hey, we (reporters) eat stale donuts, we can eat soggy burgers and diluted cokes without flinching. I saw the dead man several times, briefly, he always came and went mysteriously, his tricks were better than David Copperfields, yet the authorities searching for him never got a lead, maybe it was because they were looking for a less mobile, stiffer body.
One morning I followed three men out to a lake where they boated out to the center for a conference, pretending to fish, give me a break, this lake was barren! There was absolutely no way they would ever be over heard. These people were experts in clandestine meetings. As I hid in the bushes scrutinizing the boaters I heard someone walk by. The dead man! Gulp. Looking absolutely healthy, and hungry (I could hear his stomach growl). He dropped twigs he was carrying, built a fire and started frying fish, where did he get those! The boat headed back to shore reeled in by the heavenly aroma, and filled with its own squirming fish. One of the conspirators dove in and swam to shore, obviously getting there last! The same fool who ran to the cemetery, I was getting used to him making stupid look good. This man and Corpse walked off for a private chit chat, one I was able to hear! It was about loving each other. They must have been real tight. Corpse was giving the dumb guy authority over his followers. What a dope, he must have suffered severe brain injury in his demise. If there was going to be an attack against this nation, we were safe now.
Days latter I sensed something big was about to break. Okay, something bigger. All the schemers loaded up in cars, vans and buses and headed out of town to the mountains. Guess what? Yea, I followed. I was not noticeable now, in the throng.
There were hundreds gathering here. I got nervy (probably from lack of consistent nourishment and sleep) and mingled in the assembly. Some of these people looked very familiar from the mock trial and state sanctioned assassination, I even recognized some of the police officers that were present at the cemetery weeks ago, now in civilian clothes. There were so many odd balls here, surely they’d think I belonged. I actually looked the most out of place, those present had been feeding and bathing more regularly than me. A few held their breaths, politely, as I passed.
There he was again. Corpse was standing on the tallest hill in full view, not afraid to be seen. Arms spread out, showing wounded hands, sandals exposing wounded feet. And glowing. It appeared the world had two suns. Two luminary bodies bringing light to the world. He spoke. Awesome words. I listened and fainted inwardly. Things hadn’t been as they seemed, he‘d been executed on erroneous charges! There would be no take over on a physical level, but demons, beware! Awesome words. Then he….then he….where were the strings? What would the strings hang from? He rose, and kept on rising. Two men came up behind me, “Why are you still watching him? He’ll come back the same way!” As they evaporated, I fainted outwardly and landed on my…..you guessed it, use your imagination.