Two days after this a violent argument erupted between two young men as they gambled with a pair of dice. Soon the air was filled with the sound of glass bottles being thrown and smashed against the walls as women screamed, more out of habit than from any sense of suprise or fear. Presently this was replaced by the roar of gunfire and one of the young men lay dead as the other fled swiftly up the hill.
As they were wont to do, the people came out of their houses and stood around the body, curious to see who had been shot this time.
They looked at the brown corpse, Its blood trickling down the incline of the hill in a small rivulet of bright, cheerful red. As they watched, the cadaver inadvertently stretched and clenched its hands into tight fists, a yellow stream emanating from the leg of its trousers and filling the air with the acrid scent of piss as its bladder loosed in death.
The people shook their heads.
“Dai Janet son.” One of them said.
“Somebody go hatta let she know.” Another pointed out.”
“Police go do that.” Another said.
“Lemme call them.”
As the resident left the crowd to go back to his house to make the call, the people continued looking at the body with a mixture of sadness and resignation.
“Young, young boy so.”
“And is she last son too, the next two dead last year.”
“She go take in with this one for sure.”
They nodded silently to themselves.
One of them noticed something.
“Wait… Allyuh sure that man dead?”
The residents looked intently at the body lying on the ground in front of them.
Above them the sun blazed and blazed.
“That man moving, allyuh.”
The mournfulness of the people suddenly found itself transformed into unexpected but much welcomed joy.
“He alive! He alive!”
“Back back allyuh, give him space, give him space… Look he getting up.”
The circle around the young man began to widen as he pushed himself to his knees and rose stiffly.
“Ey boy! We say we loss you boy.”
“Well open yuh eye nah? You hearing anything we saying?”
“Why he looking so?”
The young man rose stiffly. Much too stiffly, even for one who had just been shot. He did not bend his knees or his elbows, his limbs showing all the symptoms of rigor mortis. His eyes were tightly shut, and from his open mouth flowed a mixture of blood, saliva and bile. He stood upright, acknowledging no one, hearing no one, seeing no one.
One of the men present slapped him in the face, hard.
A cry of dismay rose from the people and some of them rushed to restrain the assailant.
He raised his finger to his lips, urging them to fall silent. They did so, staring suspiciously at the young man who showed no sign that he was aware of having been struck.
“Is dead this boy dead.” The man said.
The body shuddered and took a step.
Well mama, toute monde buss out with that one. Every man jack drop everything, run home and lock up they door.
Meanwhile, the corpse shuffled and stumbled its way down the hill, until it got to the corner that was most popular with the young men, known locally as “The Block.” There it sat and there it stayed, baking in the midday sun.
Presently the curiousity of the residents overcame their fear and they came out to witness the unbelievable sight. There, seated on the block, much as he used to do while yet living, was the young man’s corpse, drenched with blood and beginning to swell in the heat.
Around this time the police showed up and began to clear a path through the crowd to get to the body. They cordoned off the area and were presently joined by the coroner and the DMO. The coroner took one look at the body and scratched his head.
“Is shoot he get shoot?”
“So they say.” Said the police.
“Well where all the blood? Not one drop of blood on the ground here. And why he pose up so like he liming? Somebody move him and put him here as some kinda joke awa?”
The officers looked at the ground sheepishly.
“Well…. They say he walk down here.”
The coroner and the DMO turned to look at the officers. They did not laugh. Men who are aquainted with death in all its forms never cast doubt on the ways in which it may manifest itself. The DMO examined the corpse briefly, took a look at his watch and wrote something down.
“This man is dead. Get him out of here.”
The Coroner’s assistants, dressed in their all white hazmat suits pulled a body bag from their van and approached the corpse. They took their places, one at the head and the other at the feet and prepared to lift.
They tried, then stopped, confused.
They tried again.
“Umm…boss.” They called to the Coroner.
“We kyah move this man inno.”
The Coroner, an impatient man, steupsed loudly.
“Look allyuh stop playing the fool nah man, just grab the man.”
He approached, donned a pair of gloves and grabbed the corpse roughly under its arms.
He stood up and stepped back.
“Yo… DMO, help we move this man.”
The DMO came up and grabbed the corpse’s feet along with one assistant while the other helped the Coroner at his end. The four men strained together but could not get it to budge.
“Officers! Come and help we with this man.”