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Death in the Woods

By Peter Markus From Issue No. 1

Some days the boys in the woods like to play a game where they each take turns to play or to make like they are boys that are dead. Shot dead by a gun. Hit dead in the head by a rock. A tree falls and they don’t get up. A boat sinks in the deep part of the lake at night and they can’t swim to get to shore. A hole in the ground eats them up whole. A bear wakes in the spring from its long sleep through months of cold and ice and snow and eats them both up, head to foot, tears at them with clawed paws and a mouth that rips at their soft boy flesh. A house falls down from the dark of the sky and drops down on top to crush them, a branch from a tree breaks to break their necks. These are just some of the ways that the boys make like or play like they are dead. Some nights they go to bed and do not wake back up. One night the house in the woods, it burns down to the ground. By the time they smell the smoke it is too late. Smoke fills their lungs and chokes them out. Smoke fills the whole sky gray. The house burns down to the dirt of the ground, the woods goes up in flames. One by one the trees in the woods burn up and then the trees burn down. The winds blow hard to fan the flames from leaf to leaf, tree to tree. Flames spread north to south and east to west and do not stop when they reach the lake. The flames don’t stop when they reach the hills that rise up from the dirt and the stone of the ground. The lake is a lake that is made of smoke and fish and fire. The hills and the stone that the hills are made of burns and turns to dust. The birds in the sky, they do not sing, they do not make a sound. Or if they do, sing or cry wolf, no one is there to hear it.

About Peter Markus More From Issue No. 1