Murder, sarcophagic conspiracy, family mystery.
I have parents. There is a dead body in the house discovered. They have dug a hole in the garden for it.
There is rice from the garden hole that was next to supplies next to the dead body, to disguise the function of the hole. The rice is in a jar now. Some of the edges are blackened and I’m not sure if they’re burnt or from exposure to the corpse.
We are back in the house. I am not there but I can see everything. I am an adult woman. An aunt. The man offers me grapes. The children will be home soon (from abroad) he says. He is doing carpentry. Asks the lady colleague/me to help pin down the long strip of wood he’s working on — the tool normally used for it was worn out in the last festival and he has the wood balanced on it. She/I hold the wood down, make conversation. He talks about ponying up some funds to buy tickets for the show. He hints that his children who are abroad will be back soon and performing. I grin. Oh that’s my turn to pony up. Yes. I am a white woman in farming/horse riding clothes, brown leather britches. I concede.
I see a bunch of grapes hanging , partially obscured by a calendar, outside the fridge. I realise someone else has been eating them. I realise to my horror the children have been hidden from view in the house all along. Caring for them must have been a nightmare. They have to be kept quiet and children inevitably fight, at that age. My brother doesn’t like green grapes, but this one is a purple bunch with some greens at the edges — those are the ones that have been removed. The children must be the ones snacking on them. This will reveal us. They cannot realise we are french by blood! The children will have to pretend they didn’t manage to pick up any foreign language (French?) in this supposed boarding school, the lie is too flimsy to hold. At best they look stupid. He freaks out. I cannot expose them, he cries. Murder is at stake here, the body is still in the garden.
The body has been exhumed from the garden. I helped carry the dead weight in with him. I hold the bloated arm — the body has been soaked in water and is heavy. The body is separated into cardboard boxes by him. Packed back with different things. Some are to be reburied, better disguised. Others sent to separate bins.
One day, the rice is given to me in a jar. If hands like a bunch of grapes in there, touching some of the sides, doesn’t fill the jar the way rice should. The rice bothers me.
We go to a restaurant. It’s level is lower than the car level.
I stare at my jar with the blackened rice wondering how I will eat it. Corpse rice.
Birds, giant birds, are in the underground tunnel. L-shaped hole. They tunnel down and then a bit sideways, to nest away from sight. This woman patted the side of their solid bodies and left them alone.
A small part of me realises I don’t have to eat the rice, but it doesn’t occur to me to not keep it. This small part isn’t really voiced.