Ordered Life

The bodies were lined up in neat ranks. The idea was to stop you from noticing that they used to be human by piling them with all the efficiency of lumber in a yard. Someone, somewhere had taken the time to issue an order about it. Someone who’d never walked amongst the dead. A poultice for their own guilt probably, before they moved on to giving the orders that kept the corpses coming. Pointless, he thought, although he couldn’t blame them for trying.

Truth was though that he himself had long since stopped seeing them as anything to do with life. Even when they were walking and talking, before he and the others had played their brutal part. No, they were inert weight the second they stumbled into his world. Talking blocks of some vaguely human substance. Novel, almost, in their sorry impersonation of real people.

In a way that was a sad thought. Or had been, or should have been. Certainly once upon a time he’d felt something for them. Pity, or perhaps guilt. But those were just words, words which belonged to a different version of himself. Just as most of what he remembered of life did these days. The new him, the one who seemed to see things so much more clearly, had far fewer possessions to cling to. An arm of tired muscles, a blistered hand and a knife to grip. All united for the simple duty which he had made his own. Or which had made him it’s own, one of the two.

It was clean living, he vaguely thought as someone else set about shifting the dead to ready dug pits. He had found peace, the sort monks and eccentrics daydreamed about. Like the corpse bearers, like everyone else here save for the dead, he had found clarity in one action. Enlightenment, they called it.

But that was a thought of his old self sneaking in. He had to catch it before he started to slip back into chaos. One arm of muscles, one blistered hand, one knife to grip. That was him.

They were bringing more over.

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