The grains of dirt form a sheet of around me. Worms and roots and grubs in the mix. Gravity packs it all down on top of me. I dig through it all in my backyard with my hands. I have no lawn anymore. Burrowing through the muck.
It started so long ago. Just little bits. Pulling up grass and turning the blades to crumbs. Getting my hands sticky with the insides. Hearing the little crunchy and ripping sounds turn to squelching.
I’ve spent so much money on spades and shovels. But nothing is better than grabbing the flesh of the world and moving it out of the way for my body to go into it.
I became obsessed with how the soil changes the further down I go. The textures and colors and how much it wants to fill in the hole as fast as I can dig it out. I found pockets of clay and tried but failed to figure out why they were where they were rather than somewhere else.
I’m horizontal, not deep but covered up to my neck. My arms are stuck underground and I can only wriggle. I feel the weight of the Earth on top of me. Pushing down. It is home and I am home. I kick my feet in the limited way that I can. I’m not on a flat horizontal angle. I am angling down. I’m slowly moving the dirt out of the way. Getting lower and lower and lower. The dirt is cool on my eyes and feels right in my hair. It breathes better than the air does. Lower and lower I go.
I have managed to turn myself around and get my hands in front of me. I feel like an augur. I swim through the ground, deeper than I have ever gone with my entire body and only a small exit behind me. But here I can feel the dirt shifting around me. The roots stroking my hair, scratching my back. Urging me forward.
I come across small tunnels. Belonging to moles or other rodents. I expand them and follow them but become bored, it is too easy to simply extend the width of the tunnels. I have to go deeper.
The deeper I go, the harder it is to move and breathe. There are more rocks. They get bigger as I get lower. I don’t know how long I have been going on like this but I feel no need for a break. I feel my fingernails breaking off against the rocks and the blood forms a lubrication making it easier to dig.
Then I’m falling. The world opens up around me and I’m falling. I hit the ground and see that I’m in a large cave. There are tunnels everywhere. Some crude and small, some large and excavated. I see the faint glimmer of campfires in the distance. Home.
Joe Bielecki is a writer from Michigan working in radio and television. He has a movie podcast called Sharing Everything with his wife Cady, and produces noise music under the name Ring of Roses. He has pieces in Faded Out, Moonchild Magazine, Occulum, and The Ginger Collect.