They are everywhere. When I close my eyes I see them. When I open my eyes they are there. I can see them out of the corner of my eye, shifting, floating. The scenes replay over and over again and they are always there. It is burned into my memory, the major events on those days that won’t leave me alone, that won’t leave themselves in the past.
Noises and smells can make it worse, trigger the ghosts from their hiding places and send me right back there with them when they were alive up until their final moment.
Whenever they appear, I sweat. At first it hits me like a blast of hot air. My recall of how the heat feels, that heat that fills every molecule of air. It is inescapable. Then the cold fear hits me. It is clammy and uncomfortable and I am helpless to move.
When I am back there I see and feel everything.
The kids, that’s what gets me the most. I see them running around, playing, being kids, unwanted dogs running after them hoping for some food, some attention. Kids flying kites, running and laughing then in the next instant they are red mist. Gone, like they never existed. Same with my buddies. One minute we’re talking, laughing, playing music to get us pumped then we hear the whistle followed by the blast that turns everything silent, sucked in to a momentary void, before we’re dropped back in to the action. Muted chaos is all around us. Where is everybody? The dust is thick and there are glimpses of bodies strewn around me, not moving. They have changed from lively, tanned people to gray, still mannequins.
At this time of year, I ignore the knocks on the door. I don’t need to see the grim or gruesome, the axe through the head and the blood running down faces, the zombies with their flesh rotting away leaving exposed bone and dead eyes looking back at me; I’ve seen it first-hand already.