Sea Nathan and Olive undress. They take off everything except their shoes and socks. The muddy ground beneath them swarms with maggots; it's a graveyard of massacred bodies. A dead face pushes up against the earth, the nose protruding, the eyes open, vacant, eyeballs intact. The mist engulfs Olive and Sea Nathan. They can't see the face. Olive steps on it. "Oh, my," she says, "I think that's somebody." "What?" asks Sea Nathan. "I think I stepped on somebody." "Shit!" says Sea Nathan, "We're on a sea of corpses. Get out of here." "I think I stepped on somebody else," Olive says. "Just hurry," says Sea Nathan. "I'm stepping on people left and right," Olive says. She grabs their clothes from atop a large stone. "There's somebody might have died with a drink in his hand," Sea Nathan says. He reaches down and picks up a flask. "Nah," Sea Nathan says, "empty." "Don't be picking up a dead man's things," Olive says. She grabs the flask and tosses it away from them. It lands on stone where their clothes were, clanks against its surface, and slips back into the mud. "Shit!" says Sea Nathan, "Give me my pants." Olive hands him his thick brown trousers. "Put them on then," Olive says, "once we're through the corpses. Otherwise, you'll get the stench on 'em for good." "Fuck, Olive, I don't care 'bout no stench," Sea Nathan says, "on my pants. Just don't want it stuck in my skin." "Suit yourself," Olive says. She continues through the mist naked. Sea Nathan slips on his pants. "This is what pants are for," Sea Nathan says, "nowadays. If they're offended by the smell of death at the shipyard, they can hose me down." "'Fore they kill ya'," Olive says. "Yes, if we're late," says Sea Nathan.
Copyright, 2009, Jennifer Chesler, All Rights Reserved