Found and Lost
Jerry had been walking along the silent trail that morning, drinking in the solitude like it was a fine wine. This would be the only time left to himself before he started another long day of work; it was an office job, dull and demanding . . . And there was nothing more to say about that. Jerry’s mantra: work stays at work, home stays at home. And that’s how he had stayed sane after all these years.
The sun was just beginning to peak over the horizon–it was cool enough out that he wasn’t sweating. The bugs weren’t that bad today either, which suited Jerry fine. He hated bug spray, and steadfastly refused to wear it.
His foot caught on something on the trail, and Jerry took a fall that knocked the wind out of him. Thud! He hit the ground rather unceremoniously. Not that there was much ceremony in falling . . . Swearing under his breath, Jerry sat up; he looked long and hard behind him. There was something sticking up out of the ground, a branch probably . . . Maybe . . . Possibly? What the hell? Jerry crawled towards the branch. On closer inspection his breath caught.
What should he do? Jerry whipped his hat off and immediately began brushing the dirt with it, his whole body shaking as if with fever. He knew that he should call the police. Really, he did. But there was something that drove him to uncover the thing, a macabre sort of fascination. Jerry tossed the hat away and began to use his hands. This is insane, he said to himself. I’m sick, why don’t I just stop?
Except . . . He couldn’t.
WHY ME? his mind screamed. At this point it felt as if he were no longer in control of his body, as if something had possessed him. He felt nausea growing within his stomach as more and more of the old corpse was uncovered. This is not a damn person, he realized as he scratched at the hard dirt. There’s no way in hell . . .
There was something different about the bone structure. Yes, it was humanoid, with certain differences here and there. The limbs were slightly elongated, the leg bones curved slightly more than a humans, the arms longer, the fingers longer . . . And the skull . . . That was the most alien of all. Longer and thinner than a normal human skull, and the jaw . . . It resembled an animal jaw, like that of a wolf.
Jerry finally tore himself away from the grisly find. He was drenched in sweat, and there was a horrible smell on his nostrils. It came from the bones, which had the colour and sheen of oil. Horrified he looked at his hands, which were cracked and bleeding from his frenzied, uncontrolled digging.
Without a second thought he picked up a large rock, smashing the skull, the ribs, the legs. When he was finished Jerry bolted back up the path in a daze.
He called in sick, and booked the month off.