There was a chill in the air and leaves crunched beneath his feet. Edgar had a harder time digging out this year, but it was worth it. He would do anything to get back to Lorraine.
He shambled down the street, dragging one leg behind him. The knee didn’t quite bend anymore, and he was pretty sure he had dislodged his hip from its socket dragging himself from the grave. All this damned rain, Edgar thought. Mud was so much harder to manage than dry soil. Snap out of it, man! He thought again. He can’t see his love with a bad attitude. It just wouldn’t do.
A gaggle of children ran past him, all glittery wings and plastic fangs. Edgar smiled and felt one side of his jaw loosen.
He arrived at Lorraine’s house, well, their house, really. The stairs were lined with jack-o-lanterns, as was her tradition. The plastic skeletons were in their place, holding hands on the porch swing, a macabre romance. How appropriate. Edgar heard the door open, and there Lorraine stood, a vision in her dirty, tattered wedding gown, complete with veil.
“Edgar! You made it!” Lorraine cried as she scrambled down the steps.
“Uhnnn!” Edgar replied.
“Look at you. You’re a mess!” Lorraine said, standing back and appraising him, hands on hips, disapproval on her face.
What did you expect? Edgar thought. I’ve only been dead for two years. He tried to roll his eyes, but they were long gone.
“Well come on then.” Lorraine said as she threw Edgar’s arm over her shoulder. She shuffled along with him in tow, dragging more than lifting as they ascended the stairs. Edgar felt his arm start to give.
“Uhnnn!!” Edgar cried, as the arm tore free at the shoulder, and he toppled backward.
Lorraine clawed at the air in a vain attempt to catch him. She was able to grasp a piece of cloth here, a wrist there, but in both cases, they tore free from Edgar’s person, and he landed with a moist thud, at quite an unnatural angle.
“Oh Edgar! What am I going to do with you!” Lorraine said. Exasperated.
Edgar lay there, remembering too late what a god-awful person Lorraine could be. Did she think he fell on purpose? He’d like to see if she could drag her ass all the way home from the cemetery under the same circumstance. Not fucking likely. He used his remaining arm and wrist nub to push himself into a sitting position, realizing in the process that his torso had become detached from his lower extremities.
“Uhnnn…” Edgar said, gesturing in the general direction of his legs.
“Be right back!!” Lorraine said before she ran towards the fence gate leading to the back yard.
Edgar heard her fumbling around in the garden shed, and then the sound of barking.
“Ulysses! Stop! Come back here!” Lorraine yelled.
Ulysses, their enormous rottweiler came tearing through the open gate, making a beeline for Edgar, jumping on his chest with enthusiasm. Edgar fell backward again and felt his spine give way around the same time his skull cracked open.
“God damn it, Ulysses!!” Lorraine said, annoyed, pushing a wheelbarrow in front of her.
“Uhnnn!” said Edgar.
Lorraine grabbed Ulysses’ collar and yanked him off Edgar. “I’m sorry, he’s just so excited to see you.” She bent and put one arm under each of Edgar’s butt cheeks, or what was left of them. She lifted, bringing his lower half to her chest, his desiccated genitals pressed to her plump breast, his stick legs dangling, one shoeless foot knocking into her knee.
Oh my God. This is humiliating. Edgar thought, watching this unfold from his place at the foot of the stairs.
Lorraine loaded the legs into the wheelbarrow, then came for his torso. She squatted and gripped his armpits and grimaced as her fingers sunk in. She pulled him to her chest and Edgar’s head lolled dramatically back. “Oh!” she exclaimed.
“Uhnnn.” Edgar said as he watched the world turn upside down.
Lorraine got up quickly and dropped her bundle on top of Edgar’s legs, then rearranged his head so that he was facing front again. “There you are!” she said, smiling. Something out of Edgar’s sight caught her attention and she got up quickly, panicked. In her haste, her voluminous skirts caught the handle of the wheelbarrow, toppling it and spilling Edgar onto the lawn.
From this angle, Edgar could see Ulysses happily chomping on his arm. Lorraine arrived to extricate it and a robust game of tug o’ war ensued. Edgar wasn’t even upset. It’s not like he was using it anymore. After a time, Lorraine got the arm and wrangled Ulysses into the backyard, closing the gate securely behind her. Ulysses barked in defiance.
Lorraine set about gathering Edgar back into the wheelbarrow, more roughly than was necessary, he thought, muttering to herself the whole time.
“Uhnnn?” Edgar said.
“What do you think is wrong?” Lorraine said. “Look, it was cute when you came back last year, I was excited, it was great to see you and yes, I know I said you should come back, but… Edgar, look at you. You’re a mess. It’s embarrassing, and I mean… it’s been a year. A lot can happen in a year.”
Edgar couldn’t believe this shit. He didn’t want to come back. He told her as much last year, but she insisted. Embarrassing? For who? She wasn’t the one falling apart in front of everyone. “Uhhnnnnn!!” he said.
“Of course. It’s alllways my fault. You’re suuuuch a victim. I’m not the one who told you to go on that stupid trip, I’m not the one who told you to get drunk and ride jet skis.” Lorraine said, arms crossed.
“Everything ok out here?” said Dennis, peeking out through the front door.
“God damn it, Dennis. I told you to stay inside.” Lorraine said.
“Uhhnn?!” Edgar said.
“Look, we both missed you. We spent a lot of time together and, well, we didn’t mean for this to happen.” Lorraine said, without a hint of regret in her voice.
Edgar had always suspected that something was going on between these two, he supposed now that it was no coincidence that Dennis had been the one encouraging Edgar to engage in dangerous stunts on the water after taking all those shots. Fuck this shit. Edgar thought. He started rocking back and forth, to the extent he was able.
“What are you doing? Stop it!” Lorraine said.
“Uhhnn.” Edgar said.
“Oh yeah? Well, fuck you too!” she said, starting to cry.
The wheelbarrow tipped and Edgar spilled out again. Using his one good arm, he started dragging himself toward the sidewalk. He was going home.
“What am I supposed to do with the rest of this shit?” Lorraine asked.
“Uhhnn.” Edgar said, thinking, at least Ulysses will be happy.