The Dead Man did bad things when he was a living man. Everybody knows it. He caused pain and he hated and he ruined the things in his path. Like a spoilt toddler. When he was a living man he was angry but he didn’t know why (do we know why we are angry?). He was vengeful and he was a drunk, he hated daylight and he was only comfortable, finally, in the late hours, when bats and the like-minded are awake. Maybe this is why they drowned him. There were times when he disappeared for days and we all had to pretend we knew where he was, that this was play, a game of hide and seek which he would always win. One time he was gone without explanation for 13 days, finally returning home sun-darkened and carrying fish in bags of ice which leaked through the house. As if in meagre revenge, his grave today is occupied by a bundle of sticks and sand instead of bones and flesh. No, it’s true, you left us powerless. But did you ever love, Dead Man? Do you even know what love is? You would not know what to do with it if it was poured like diamonds into your hands.
Death changed him. He is as impatient as ever, but we see him smiling at our predicament, his teeth flashing in the night. At least he smiles now.
Tristan Foster is a writer from Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Letter to the Author of the Letter to the Father and 926 Years, co-authored with Kyle Coma-Thompson.