On the night I died, I watched myself. I was pulled from my body and stood above myself like an angel on a Christmas tree: there I was, sleeping, no snoring, and I rocked in a soft bed. The sheets smelled. The stench rose as high as I did. I tried to climb higher, but it crept after me. It was probably here before me.
I sniffed sleepily, and awoke. The decay around me must’ve stirred me. I stared at the ceiling, at me but not knowing it. The night was silent, a rare exception from the city I was from. It breathed life into the streets, even if it had to force it. The low hum of a car inhaling fuel and exhaling it all the same would tap on my window to see if I was awake. Sirens would follow after it. People’s voices would bore into my ears. A few words would catch: fuckers, kick his ass, run. I’d invent a story, connecting the scattered pieces of a night I never knew and people I’d never met into a map. I’d sit in my bed, awake from the stench or the oncoming day or the sounds of the night or something I couldn’t describe, something that I wouldn’t want to even if I could, and say to no one at all – barely myself, in fact – “Hi, Varun. Hope your night was swell. Don’t get into fights. Nothing to fight about, especially with such fuckers, eh?”
Then birds would sing, the day would yawn, and I’d be up until the next night where I’d awake, think, and hear the birds laughing at the world.
But no noise whistled or moaned or whatever on the night I died. It was just me there in my bed, a bed I’ve slept in since I was kid. My feet hung off the end, the wooden frame cutting into my legs. Scars had formed where the edge tore into the skin. They had grown as I did. First my toes hanging, then my foot, then my calves, then my knees, and now my thighs. This was home, a collection of cuts and slashes and blood dripping onto the floor.
My hands rested at my side. Then I raised them from the covers and dangled them in the air. I slammed them back to the bed. I repeated until the mattress could be fluffed no more.
Night choked and the moon came out of its throat. Still, nothing. No sleep. I looked to the bottle beside me. Empty. No more. I must’ve used them all, though I didn’t feel anything. I was empty too, I guessed.
The moon looked at me up in the sky beside it. I looked at it, and then it shone its rays to me in my room, and I nodded, smiling with teeth that were as jagged and spread apart as the stars themselves, and I realized that the moon was slowly becoming hollow itself after all those cosmic beatings.
The holes in the moon were crying to be filled. And I wanted to. I did. Up there I wanted to grab it, to fit it in my hand and to show it to myself in that bed on the night I died. I wanted to show me that here it was, a moon lonely and solid, and now it belonged to me and it’s so flat and I could skip it across the pond of the sky if I wanted and it would come back again the next night like a loyal pet.
But then a cloud came and darkness settled and I gazed back at the ceiling, squinted my eyes, and wondered what I saw, what was up there. Varun said something, but I didn’t hear it. I had fallen asleep in the holey hands of the moon.