Why Are You Digging That Hole?

You’ve been outside digging a large hole for several hours when you realize that you can’t recall why you are digging it. Retrace your steps to try to discover your motivation.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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200 thoughts on “Why Are You Digging That Hole?

  1. WaterPen8

    My forehead was covered in sweat as the sun was beating down on me. I dropped my shovel and ripped my gloves off of my hands. I was incredibly exhausted. I’d been working for hours digging a massive hole in the middle of my backyard. But….why was I even digging? I suddenly realized I didn’t even remember what happened the past few weeks. It’s as if I wasn’t even thinking about what I was doing until I finished digging the hole.
    At that point, my head hurt like crazy! Not because I had a headache or that I was tired, but because I was so confused. What happened? How could I just forget everything so easily?
    Ding-dong Went the doorbell.
    “Well, I guess I better go get that.” I lugged myself towards the door, my legs shaking like they were going to fall off at any minute. I opened the door, said hi to the mail man, and took the paper inside(yes, I read the newspaper. I like old fashioned things).
    I decided to forget about the hole and take a small reading break, until I read the headline.
    Missing: Ally Chambers
    “Hmm..” I say.
    I walk back outside to the muggy air, and what do you know! Next to the whole was my arch-nemesis, Ally Chambers, who bullied me all throughout high school.
    Ah, sweet revenge.

  2. parkitcharlie

    “There.” You say stabbing the shovel into the ground next to you. “That ought to do it.”

    The hole you dug is quite deep so climbing out of it is a bit of a hassle but you manage, all those days you spent lifting weights at the gym finally paying off. Sitting on the edge of the hole you check your watch. You figured some time had passed since the sky above you had turned dark and the air around you was chilled, but seven hours? You stretch your arms and yawn. Your back is quite sore from all the digging but you know it will be worth it because now you can…

    Hold on.

    Why were you digging again?

    You swear and almost fall back into the hole. You can’t remember why you dug the damn thing! It angers you to think of all that time you spent just digging, and for what? You hope you’ll remember soon, it’s getting late and you have a feeling you need this resolved as quickly as possible. Steaming, you stand up and look around the backyard.

    It takes you about five seconds to realize that this isn’t your backyard.

    “Great.” You mutter, wiping your dirty hands on your jeans. “I’ve gone and dug a massive hole in someone’s backyard. Bet they’ll love that.”

    Your throat is dry and your head is pounding. You consider for a moment the fact that you may be dehydrated. It makes sense to you, digging takes a lot out of a person. You turn towards the house. The sliding door is open and you hope you didn’t let any wild animals in. After all a giant hole is one thing, they could turn it into a pool, but there isn’t much you can do with a raccoon sex dungeon. You walk inside, deciding to get yourself something to drink.

    On the kitchen floor is your boss. His eyes are fogged over and he is in a pool of his own blood. There are signs of a struggle.

    “Oh right,” you say grabbing his legs and dragging him to the backyard.

    “I got fired.”

  3. Nikki C

    Just a Hole in the Ground

    “The soil’s really – urgh – tough down here.”

    The spade slaps the dirt noisily. Clay sputters up onto my ankles, hard and dense, like bb pellets.

    Muscles strong and practiced, stuck in their own perpetual motion, drive at the earth. The tough soil is made soft by my spade, and by the strength of these arms. It is hard work, and my body is tired.

    My sweat is everywhere. It gets into my eyes, and sticks my thin hair to my face, and my thin clothes to my skin. It is a cold and strange sauna down here.

    “Zeke?” I call up out of the hole that rises over my head like a great wall, the sun glaring down into it. There is no reply.

    My cargo pants are drooping sloppily around my hips, I pull them up before sitting down and staring into the sunlight. All is quiet on the surface of planet Earth.

    I press the end of the shovel, the wooden handle darkened with sweat and smooth with years of use, onto my forehead and wait.

    He never said what the hole was for. He just said, “Let’s go outside. Let’s make something for ourselves,” and smiled. As though that was all there was to the world. Go outside. Make something. Smile.

    A black toss of hair above shades my face. “Here. I made you a sandwich,” he smiles, and lays on his belly to reach down to me. In his hand is half a sandwich, perfectly cut, no crust.

    Spade as my crutch, I reach up and grab it, shoving half of it into my mouth immediately. He remains on his stomach, eating his own half, arms dangling downwards, smiling.

    “Zeke,” I murmur, “what are we doing? I thought you said we were going to ‘make something for ourselves’. A hole isn’t something. It’s not.”

    His mouth full of sandwich, he sputters, “Buh eh’s behher hrighh?” He swallows effortfully. “ It’s ‘something’ to do, right? And there’s no one else around, so I guess it’s gotta be for us, huh?”

    “You just wanted to trick me into doing something stupid, didn’t you?”

    “No,” he launches himself upward, and stands in the sunlight like a skyscraper, “I just thought you might like it. I thought it might be fun. Make room, I’m coming down.”

    He jumps. He lands. We are very close in this hole in the ground together. Soft flesh next to soft flesh surrounded by hard, harsh earth.

    He moves the hair from my face, lifts it clear of the sweat that holds it, and kisses my salty forehead.

    “It’s not so bad, is it? I mean, when we’re in it together it’s not so bad?”

    “No. I guess you’re right.”

    My lips perk up and he beams at me. Placing the spade between us, and the sunlight above us, we lean on each other in this hole in the ground we made for yourselves.

  4. missab5

    Sweat dropped from my brow and pooled at my lower back as I dug my fingers through the dirt of my yard. I had thrown the shovel aside some time ago. I knelt in a hole big enough to lie in and stared at my dirt caked hands. Slowly my mind came into focus. What was I doing? Crawling out of the hole I reached for my phone to see what time it was. The last thing I remember doing was making a sandwich for lunch. It was now closer to dinnertime.

    The only thing to do was to retrace my steps. Back in the kitchen I found the ingredients for my sandwich still sitting out on the counter. Ham, cheese, mayo, and a roll sat in a row waiting to be assembled. There were two slots empty from the wood block that held my knife set. The serrated bread knife lay on the cutting board, but it’s neighbor the carving knife was missing. Where could it be?

    The front door, a memory slowly surfaced. Someone had rung the doorbell while I was making my sandwich. Instantly my agoraphobia kicked in. A fearful mind created images of rapists and murderers waiting outside my door, though they probably wouldn’t be so polite as to ring a doorbell. My heart raced. Should I answer it or hope they go away? People ring doorbells all the time. It’s normal. As I thought that, I reached for the carving knife with shaky hands, unaware I was doing it.

    Taking a calming breath I left the kitchen and headed down the hall to the front door. There were feet in the hallway. Cautiously I peeked around the corner into the living room, where I saw the rest of the body. He was older, perhaps my fathers’ age. Sticking out of his forehead was my missing carving knife.

    Slowly I had opened the door. He looked sweet and had a pleasant smile. He just wanted to know if Jesus was my savior. I was the wrong person to ask.

    Grabbing his feet I dragged him through the house and out to the hole I’d dug. Before rolling him in I removed the carving knife, it was a really good knife. I didn’t want to lose it.

    1. missab5

      Sorry for the double posting. I seem to be having trouble with this sites connection. The second post came out the way I wanted it to, with the paragraphs seperated.

  5. missab5

    Sweat dropped from my brow and pooled at my lower back as I dug my fingers through the dirt of my yard. I had thrown the shovel aside some time ago. I knelt in a hole big enough to lie in and stared at my dirt caked hands. Slowly my mind came into focus. What was I doing? Crawling out of the hole I reached for my phone to see what time it was. The last thing I remember doing was making a sandwich for lunch. It was now closer to dinnertime.
    The only thing to do was to retrace my steps. Back in the kitchen I found the ingredients for my sandwich still sitting out on the counter. Ham, cheese, mayo, and a roll sat in a row waiting to be assembled. There were two slots empty from the wood block that held my knife set. The serrated bread knife lay on the cutting board, but it’s neighbor the carving knife was missing. Where could it be?
    The front door, a memory slowly surfaced. Someone had rung the doorbell while I was making my sandwich. Instantly my agoraphobia kicked in. A fearful mind created images of rapists and murderers waiting outside my door, though they probably wouldn’t be so polite as to ring a doorbell. My heart raced. Should I answer it or hope they go away? People ring doorbells all the time. It’s normal. As I thought that, I reached for the carving knife with shaky hands, unaware I was doing it.
    Taking a calming breath I left the kitchen and headed down the hall to the front door. There were feet in the hallway. Cautiously I peeked around the corner into the living room, where I saw the rest of the body. He was older, perhaps my fathers’ age. Sticking out of his forehead was my missing carving knife.
    Slowly I had opened the door. He looked sweet and had a pleasant smile. He just wanted to know if Jesus was my savior. I was the wrong person to ask.
    Grabbing his feet I dragged him through the house and out to the hole I’d dug. Before rolling him in I removed the carving knife, it was a really good knife. I didn’t want to lose it.

  6. MCKEVIN

    “He will never hurt me like that again. Never!” I heard myself shouting and then focused. I realized I was covered in mud from the knees down. The palms of my hands were had blistered apparently from throwing shovels of dirt over my shoulder. I must have been out there for hours. The moist dirt smelled of garden manure. The smell was so pungent I could almost taste it. The hole was big enough to fit a person. Who and why? I was embarrassed that I couldn’t remember why I was digging the hole. The last thing I remembered was talking to John about cancelling our get together. We both agreed Saturdays was our day to lie up and do nothing. I know he’s married and things come up, but to wait until the last minute is unacceptable. This is the what, the twentieth time? I don’t ask for much and the last thing I want is for him to have problems with his family. But my time is just that. Mine! Who am I kidding? This man is here for premium cable, free drinks and different sex. He never intended to spend this Saturday with me. He actually looked me in my face and said…
    “If things were different, you know I would be here with you right?” He was lying through his teeth.
    “Allen you say that every other day. Why should it have any different meaning now?”
    “See there you go with the negatives. When you met me I had a wife and kids and one day I will be less one wife. Until then, we have to take this thing slow. ”
    Did you file the papers yet?” I knew he hadn’t.
    “Soon. very soon.” He lied.
    “I guess until that’s final and done, Saturdays will just have to be our days huh?”
    “Yes. This Saturday I thought we do something different.”
    “Different? Like what?” He’s telling another lie.
    “I thought if it was okay with you, I spend the night. No leaving at wee hours in the morning.”
    “Allen, you promise?” Inside, I cried.
    “Didn’t I just say it?” He laughed his silly laugh.
    When I heard him laughing I came back to my reality. I dug this hole because his ass is a goner. There will be no more lies. No more lies!
    “Michael, Michael?” I heard him coming closer and calling my name. If do this now, I can take a shower and get ready for work. Mondays are the hardest. If I was rich, I would be somewhere else with someone else. I pulled myself out. He saw me just as I stood up. He came closer but couldn’t see how deep the hole was.
    “What you doing out here?” Like it mattered.
    “Gardening.”
    “You ready to go in?” He wants sex!
    “Yes. Yes I am.”
    John turned his back, I raised the shovel over my head and swung.
    “Blam!”
    He fell in. I covered him with wet dirt. It is done!

  7. Raindance

    The sun started to come up over the horizon, a light after what seemed like an eternity of darkness, but that is not what woke me.
    It was raining and as I looked around and felt the ground I could tell it had been a terrible deluge, but that is not what woke me.
    My face was covered in the dirt where I had been sleeping, if one could call it sleeping, and a pain like lightning was striking my face. When I touched it I found blood and when I looked down I saw I had fallen on the shovel. But that is not what woke me.
    I heard a sound from very far away. a sound from beneath me where I lay face down, half buried in a hole that, it seemed, I myself had been digging. that is what woke me. A sound that seemed to come from the earth itself. I do not know what it was. I knew it when I first opened my eyes but just as soon it faded from my memory like a dream, but I knew it was not a dream, and everything else in my mind was already long gone.
    The rain stopped and I made my way to the road, I could see it not too far away from where I arose from the ground, the rising sun helped me find my way whenever my eyes failed me and the shovel aided my weakened legs.

    How long did I lay there? it feels like weeks but it could not have been, the wound on my face being so fresh, it drips still onto my clothes leaving red dots upon the brown-that-used-to-be-white of my dress.
    Now I walk along the road, my eyelids are heavy and I am covered in soil but my strength is returning. I do not know why I chose to walk this way.
    I try in vain for what seems like hours to remember how I got here but I know I have been walking only a few minutes, every thought seems dragged out although there is nothing. nothing at all to give the smallest flicker of an answer.
    I look down at my feet and I am surprised my the sight of them. They are covered in dirt, so much dirt that I cannot see my skin from my ankles down, but they are, unmistakably, feet. And that is the real surprise. as if I had expected to see something else in their place. I notice that it does not hurt to walk barefooted on the road although it is jagged and rocky.

    There is nothing, I see nothing for a long time but I keep walking. My feet are still a strange sight, and the soil does not fall from them.
    Up ahead I see a spot of color, it is tiny but it stands out in this gray landscape and the silver air around it that speaks of rain. Rain and no sun for days. Still no sun, it has been sitting behind thick clouds all morning. My walk has been a cold and wet one. I look up and full of sarcasm thank the sky, you could not have at least given me some heat to dry my clothes. Immediately I feel ashamed and I do not understand why. I look ahead and I see the color again, I know exactly what it is and I walk faster, it is some yards away from the road and when I finally reach it I see that all around it are footprints. Mine. And this bougainvillea plant with its lovely pink-purple flowers is mine too. The plastic pot it had been in is broken and pieces of it are strewn over the ground. I take the shovel and I dig a small hole and I plant it there, and when I do I think that if it were hot my clothes would dry hard from all this dirt and the cut on my face would burn and I would be thirsty and I am ashamed again. “I’m sorry” I do not know who I am speaking to but it seemed that everything around me deserved an apology. The bougainvilleas, the clouds. I walk back to the road and although I still remember nothing I feel better than I have all morning.

    I walk more, it believe it must be noon by now. I can see a glimmer of sunlight sometimes, peeking through clouds right over my head. My heart beat is loud, I am close.
    I do not know why I think that, nothing catches my eye, it is all the same road and empty land I have been following for miles. When I was still far away I thought there was a tree here but there is no sign of it now.
    I stop suddenly and it is as if my body has willed itself to do so without needing my consent, but I do not argue. My body knows something I don’t, it has been having a conversation I know nothing about with someone I cannot see.
    I look at the ground leading away from the road, there it dips a little and comes back up to flat land extending as far as I can imagine, it has been this way all along and only now it occurs to me to wonder why it is not filled with water. My eyes follow the ground coming back up on the far side and they land exactly at the top where the land bends back again to become flat. There are two clear footprints facing the road, feet that were neatly placed next to each other, I know they are mine, that I stood there. So I walk to them. I turn my back to the empty land and I step into my old footprints, The ground is cold and soft and my feet nearly disappear, blending so well into that spot of soil.
    Standing there makes me nervous so I step out of the footprints and move next to them all the while looking at where my feet had been, as I step something catches my eye and I turn to look behind me.
    There stands a very old white house, everything is wooden and the paint is chipping from almost every corner and crack. I tell myself I should be scared but this sight is too familiar for fear, so I walk up the front porch steps and I open the screen door. I am taken aback by what I did not notice before, the front door is blue and does not have a single scratch on it, the door knob is gold and when I put my hand on it it is cool and smooth. it turns easily and the door opens.

    The house smells like wood and a little bit of mildew, like the rain gets in through cracks in the ceiling and walls, and the floor makes a wonderful hollow sound as I walk down the hallway. There are stairs on the left and an open door directly ahead, through it I can see a sunny yard with green grass and a tree, the tree I thought I saw in the distance. I continue walking through the house until I get to an open doorway on the right, when I turn I find myself in a kitchen, there are pots and pans hanging from the ceiling all along the farthest wall, there is an old refrigerator with only one picture on it, a counter in the center, a small table with 2 chairs, and a stove with an old man standing before it. he turns to me and he looks very sad, he looks at me like he is searching for something, or waiting for me to speak and he is very sad.
    “would you like some tea?”
    “excuse me?”
    “Would you like some tea? I’ve heated enough water for both of us”
    “I’m sorry. I’m lost. I just found your house and I walked in and I don’t…” I stop myself. I feel unsure about what I’ve said. I feel that I am being dishonest. The old man looks at me again and I am afraid he knows I’ve lied but I do not know what the truth is. He looks at me for a long time.
    “Abigail”
    I am silent. I do not know what to say. I no longer know how to speak.
    “Abigail, don’t you remember?”
    The room seems to change in front of my eyes, everything looks the same but it is not. All I can focus on now is the picture on the refrigerator, it is a drawing made by a child, it is of a tree, the tree in the backyard. I touch it. I do not know how I got to be so close to it. I imagine I must have walked across the room but I don’t remember. The picture says “I love you trees” and beneath the tree is says “mommy”
    “Abigail”
    “Why are you calling me that?”
    “That is your name”
    “Who are you?”
    “I see you brought back my shovel”
    “I don’t understand”
    He takes a deep breath and he helps me up from the floor where I have been sitting leaning against the refrigerator.
    “Why don’t you go outside, to the tree. Go there and I will bring the tea out when it is ready.”
    I thought it would be difficult for me to walk there on my own, making it out of the kitchen was difficult. my strength had left me. but when I saw the tree it drew me to it. I stepped outside and I noticed the grass was covered in many different colored spots that shone so bright they looked as if they were made of tiny pieces of the sun itself and when I got closer I saw they were glass pebbles. I imagined myself putting them there.

    The tree was much bigger than I had realized when I had seen it from far away. It’s trunk was so thick I thought it must be hundreds of years old and there is a message carved into it.
    “Do not forget where you come from, do not forget who you love, and do not forget that I love you.”

    I am asleep. I am dreaming but what I see are not dreams. When I look down at my feet, they are not feet but the roots of a tree.

    I was only a child running up and down the stairs of this old house. I had a father who was not so old, and a mother who was going to die but instead went to live in the backyard.
    I used to tell my father I wanted to become a ladybug and live in her leaves and he asked me if I would leave him alone, he said it was not my time yet for such changes. I did not understand.
    I grew up planting bougainvillea seeds all around the house and watching them grow as tall as the roof. where are they now? I grew up putting glass pebbles in the grass so there would be more color for my mother to look at. My father loved us. He and I painted the door blue.
    One day when I was older I ran to him. I was angry that I had no mother. I was tired of caring for the yard and tired of speaking to a tree. I was tired of my father only speaking to a tree when he had me to talk to. But sometimes he didn’t.
    I told him I was leaving. I told him I was going to become a tree far away from him and from my mother, I told him he would have to take care of himself and his yard. I told him goodbye, I took a shovel and a bougainvillea plant and I walked away from the house. In my rage I did not look back until I was very far. Why was I so angry? My mother would not have gotten better, she went where she could always stay by my side. My father was lonely and needed someone to talk to that was not a child and so he talked to my mother outside because he knew she would hear, even if she could not respond. But I was foolish and I did not understand. Then I was filled with fear and I turned back but there was no house and no tree. Only empty land, and the road, and twilight gaining on me, I ran away as the storm came and when I fell the pot broke to pieces and I left the plant there. I ran with the shovel and it rained. and when I could not run any farther I dug a hole and I planted my feet and I cried so that my tears would water the ground because I knew the rain would not be enough.
    And on rainy days I would look down and see only mud and gray rocks and I felt very sad.
    And on sunny days I would look down and see my roots and my trunk and the green grass and I would feel very sad.
    And I wanted to be human even if it was only to cry. And I remembered my mother’s message
    “Do not forget where you come from, do not forget who you love, and do not forget that I love you”
    But I had forgotten and the years had passed and I was planted too far away and my home was gone and the bougainvillea had all died.
    But the earth could not bear my sorrow, seeping through my roots and making the grass sad, or perhaps my mother’s pleading cry for my return, shaking the earth’s core with a whisper for mercy. Or My father’s lonely footsteps echoing in a silent house.
    So I was forgiven by the soil and the rain and the sky.

    I am awake and my father is bringing me tea. he is not as old as I thought he was when I walked into the kitchen. I notice now that there are some pink-purple flowers beginning to grow on the sides of the house.
    “has she reminded you?”
    “I’m sorry” I say it again. and this time I know who I am saying it to. I know they all deserve to hear it from me although I know it will never be enough.
    “I have forgiven you” he is not as sad as I thought he was when I came into the kitchen.
    The leaves on the tree are shaken by the wind and I am drinking tea with my father under her plentiful shade and when I look down I have feet and they are very dirty.

  8. Sani

    Sweat mingled with dirt, streaming down my face and into my slightly open mouth, causing me to gag slightly ans spit out. But the taste stayed. The salty taste of sweat. I wanted to stop. I needed to stop. My muscles screamed in protest as I shoveled another load of dirt out of the hole. The Hole…

    I wanted to stop, but these things were not in my control anymore. It didn’t matter what I wanted, or what I thought. I had to dig. My fingers were blistered and I was completely out of breath. I had no idea why I was doing this. I needed to think, to find out. I needed to calm down.
    … I needed to count backwards from 300, 30 times. There, that was it. That calmed me. That allowed me to rest my arms for a short while. It lessened my fears. But it was not the ultimate solution. I had to dig. I had to dig. I had to dig. Because that was the answer to everything, it seemed. I couldn’t lose her, I couldn’t. I knew that I woulnd’t, if I did this. Which is why I must dig.
    And suddenly, it was unbearable. It was as if my mind belonged to someone else. But my arms, my hands, blistered and now bleeding were still mine. Lifting up my leaden arms, I began digging again. I felt like a robot.
    But think. I must start with noon today, when I woke up. I was always an early riser, so that was odd. But odd was my middle name, so I didn’t think much of it. For me, every day was a new challenge, a new revelation and yet, the same agony I had suffered from for the last few years. I could never quite get used to it. And yet, it was all about compulsiveness, repitition. I could never quite understand myself, so I didn’t expect anyone else to, even though they claimed they did. How could they? Had they spent hours counting all the words in a magazine? Or lying in bed until they were allowed to get out of it, until they thought the floor was clean enough. Allowed… by themselves. No, they were the crazy ones, not me. How could they not see?! These were the solutions, the answers. I had them.
    But again, I digress. I didn’t think much before I got out of bed. I checked for the usual voice at the back of my head, but somehow it was silent. So I gingerly stepped onto the floor and walked towards the bathroom, taking care to see that I placed my foot on each time. The tiles were small, so I almost tripped twice. But I couldn’t. My hands couldn’t touch the ground. I looked at the time, it was just before one. I didn’t have any appointments today, so I could bathe in peace for all of the ninety minutes it usually took. I came out, feeling fairly clean and then I spent the next few hours wrapping everything around me in transparent clingwrap. I was hungry, but there wasn’t much I could eat. My allergies had hounded me all my life. I microwaved some food that I could consider safe for consumption. It wasn’t enough, but it had to do.
    Food. My stomach growled. That was the only meal I had had all day. It was twilight now. I was tired, hungry, and on the verge of passing out. But I had to think, didn’t I? “Yes”, came the answer. And hence, think I must. The next few hours were spent unwrapping everything and placing them at their right, or what seemed right the, places. My definition of right changed every now and then. My wife was quite tired of all that. My wife…
    Liselle was never around at that time of the day. She had to work. She had to earn. She could leave the house, as long as she always put her left foot forward first while walking out the front door. She was quite accomodating, that way. I remember smiling as I thought of her.
    The rest of the day was spent in one pursuit or the other, until the ten minutes before the time I expected Liselle to be home. She was never late; it caused me a minor panic attack if she ever was and the results of that were never very desirable.
    I sat in the chair that seemed the most appropriate at that moment and waited, looking at the door and the ghastly grandfather clock that she so very loved. It struck six. Any moment now. I kept up my rally between the clock and the door, feeling quite like a clockwork toy. But that made her come home soon. I knew it would. Six fifteen. She wasn’t here. This never happened. Ever. I hate anomalies in my routine. They made me uncomfortable, they disturbed me. I didn’t like it.
    I needed an explanation, an answer. And suddenly, I remember, I had one. “Dig.”,The Voice commanded me. “Dig?” I asked, out loud. “Dig”, it confirmed, firmly. I couldn’t doubt that. It told me to dig. I thought of all the mud and the millions of filthy organisms that it contained, and my skin crawled. I couldn’t dig. But dig I must.Because that would solve everything. Until she came back. Right? No. I must dig and that was that. Her arrival was inconsequential now. Like a fly buzzing over your head, only to be swatted away.
    I stumbled outside with that purpose. I hadn’t been outside in a while. All the windows in the house were taped shut.
    So I began digging. And I kept at it. For hours, until everything else was wiped out of my mind. Everything except the command dig. The Voice hadn’t allowed me much concession uptil now. And I was fervently thankful. I don’t know if Liselle came back while I was at my purposeless quest. Quite frankly, I didn’t even care. There were just the three of us:me, the mud, quite alive and The Voice.
    Dig! It screamed at me and I resumed at a fervent pace. And once again, everything else was blacked out from my mind. Everything was fading. Away… away. I was going away. Where? I wondered. I didn’t care. Liselle’s sweet voice calling out my name was the last sound I heard before I lost all consciousness. I had escaped.

  9. Faire Penny

    The sun was bearing down on my back as sweat snaked it’s way down my body. Picking the lesser of two evils, I used the back of my left hand to wipe the sweat from my brow. The shovel felt awkward in my calloused hands. Sighing, I continued to throw dirt up and over, making the hole deeper as I went.

    My muscles were screaming at me, and begging me to stop. Part of me wanted to listen to them, because I couldn’t even remember why I was digging in the first place. However, I couldn’t stop because I had piqued my own curiosity. If I kept digging, I’d find out why I had been digging to begin with.

    That happy thought in mind, I ignored my screaming aches, and threw more dirt up over the edge.

    Suddenly, it all came back to me, and I slummed to my knees, unable to continue. I hid my sweat covered face in my mud and blistered packed hands, and began to sob, uncontrollably.

  10. filmguru86

    I knew it was six o’clock in the morning, not because the sky was that pale purple of dawn on the verge of springing forth, and not because Kitty, our jack russel terrier, was yipping to be let out for her morning constitution. I knew it was six o’clock in the morning because the lights from Jerry Franklin’s Ford Mustang convertible had just swept across our backyard as he made the turn from his driveway to head off on the slog that was morning commute in Los Angeles. 

    I have set my alarm every night for the past three years, and I could pretend that it was necessary for me to do this, but that would be a lie. It was always Jerry’s headlamps that did the trick. Hit me right in the face. I could buy blackout curtains, but  there was some security to the fact that, like clockwork, Jerry would leave and I would be there, in my numb morning state to wish him well. 

    Today was different altogether. Today I was ass deep in the sandy brown earth that was my back yard, barren. This earth is the kind of deserts, bearing no fruit. Viny weeds and gnarled, stubborn bushes, too evil to die, were the only life to which this earth would yield. I was ass deep in the half acre of death that laid flat and obstinate behind my house. 

    When the lights of Jeff’s mustang passed over my eyes I was momentarily blinded. A heavenly halo obstructed everything. I realized then, that something was whining in the distance, a brassy, pitchy whine. Why was I here? I couldn’t place it. The whining was loud; it had been for some time. I’m must have been digging all night. I let my vision clear and clambered out of the hole. 

    The kettle was sitting on the burner in the kitchen, it’s squat nose spewing steam and screaming at me. A mug with my favorite Earl Grey was sitting next to it. I quickly turned off the stove and poured what little water remained in to the cup. 

    My pants were dirty and dusty. Small clouds of sand sprinkled off me with every move. I wouldn’t dare walk on to the carpet with these pant. Barbara would have a loaded response for me if I did and I doubt I would survive that squabble. I stripped to my underclothes (the air condtioning made this a prickly, cold affair) and tossed my dirty laundry in the wash-room.

    The emptiness of the house was what brought my memory back. Barbara’s cousin Florida was in town for the night, she was staying with her. I took a swig of some scalding tea and looked outside. Right, the hole. I tried to shake the sleep from my eyes. I worked late last night but I’m sure I’ve had no sleep at all here in this empty house, alone in the quiet. It was quiet.

    On the counter sat a small, white pillow case, stained brownish red and tied at one end. A note was pinned to it. It read: 

    Dog shat on the carpet. I took care of it. You figure it out from here.

  11. ilikecereal

    The sweat dripped down my back, wetting my t-shirt. My hands blistered from the spade, skin scorched by the sun. I stood up to the waist in a hole of my own creation, the red clay piled up around me. I wiped my brow and squinted towards to sky. “What the hell am I doing here?” I wondered. I looked around me, hoping to find a clue. To my right the dry landscape stretched off, touched the horizon, and dropped off into what I imagined to be the end of the universe. Surely it was the end of my universe. The heat waves rippling off the dusty shit they call dirt around here made my mouth dry. In front of me was a tree line of some scope, and to my left a picturesque row of ranch-style houses that appeared to be right out of the 1950’s. Behind me was a man with a rifle, casually pointed in my direction.

    He wore a dirty white panama hat, shading a long face as worn by the sun as a cowboy’s saddle. The sleeves of his white collared shirt rolled up, suspenders supporting his tan slacks, cracked brown boots shifting in the dust, the rifle resting in the crook of his arm. He looked as wretched as I felt. I took him in for a moment, then opened my mouth to speak. “I –“ “Shut yer mouth, son. If this trench ain’t dug by sundown I reckon I’ll just kill you myself.” His slow drawl tapered off into a sneer.

    His gaze fell upon me unflinchingly. He meant it, and he didn’t care that he meant it. I picked the spade back up and drove it into the hard earth, my palms belting out in agony. My shoulders burned with exhaustion, my back stiff, legs weak. I was going to die in this pit. The end of my universe wasn’t off on the horizon; it was at the bottom of this miserable hole. It was at the end of his barrel.

    I felt my body move suddenly, instinctively raising the spade and shoveling the dry earth towards his face. He stumbled backwards, surprised. I was out of the hole and bearing down on him before he could react. He scrambled for his gun, but my shovel caught the back of his head first. I drove my knee into the back of his neck, my weight squeezing the breath from his lungs. “Who are you? Why are you doing this to me?” I screamed. He gagged on the dust, choking for air. “Don’t you know what you’ve done?” he wheezed. I looked into his fading eyes. They had seen a lifetime, yet told me nothing. “You’ll never be free.” The words hung on his lips like whiskey. He struggled to breathe, his body shaking, panic setting into those dark eyes. I watched with curiosity as the life drained from his face. He was dead.

    That was the day they began hunting me.

  12. HugoLeadbelly

    Dig dig, dig dig, dig dig, dig dig. It was like that dog treat commercial where the dog can’t help himself from saying “Bacon!” over and over. But instead of the pursuit of bacon, 4 hours ago I was compelled to rummage through the garage to find a shovel so that I could go into the backyard and dig. It was October 14th, 2007. Just enough leaves had fallen for the neighborhood kids to amass mounds with, while the weather had finally hit hoodie temperature. Yet there I was in gym shorts and a tank top digging this damn hole. I wondered if one of the morning radio DJ’s had looped the word “dig” just under the noticeable audible range for humans and this was the result of their wacky prank. If I didn’t win a lunch with the local weatherman for having dug the deepest, most useless hole against my will, the FCC was certainly going to be receiving a tersely worded email from yours truly.

    I was now knee deep in a hole wider than my wingspan in all directions, struggling to fling the shovel loads high enough to clear the mound above me. I missed, hitting the mound dead center, sending five times the amount of dirt back into the hole and into the openings of my shoes. Thank gods I was already wearing dirty socks or else I might’ve been even more irritated by the whole situation. I sat down on the edge of the hole to shake out my shoes and decided that I’d had enough. I figured my time would be better spent checking WebMD for a diagnosis with similar symptoms. Who knows, maybe I had a rare Old-Timey Prospectors Tumor whose swelling caused individuals to feel compelled to dig for gold, or the Baby Jessica Virus, which was telling my subconscious to save the non-existent baby from the non-existent well. Whatever it was, after a few hours, the Internet was unable to neither confirm nor deny any known ailment. Next, a googling for “real life Doctor House” turned up nothing either.

    Chalking it up to being just one of those weird things, like liquid breathing or BieberFever, I stared at the hole from my kitchen window for the next few hours thinking of how I was going to explain this to my wife. It was just then that I heard her key unlock the front door. How do I play this off without sounding insane?

    I panicked. “Surprise!”, I yelled when she walked into the room. “You’re finally getting that hot tub you’ve always wanted…”.

  13. sherwette

    I look down at the ground and all I can see is the shovel in my hand digging some more. I can’t stop. I can feel all the adrenaline running through my veins. I am not sure why I am digging that fast or why I am doing it. No one was home. No one was around. It was just my garden’s chair swing, the hole and myself.

    As I dig deeper, I feel more free. I don’t know why. I don’t know how. I know it’s working. All the feelings that I had in me are finally free. I am finally sweating. I am finally tired. My arms hurt but I don’t stop. The mud hills around the hole get higher and higher.

    Finally, I stop digging. “That’s enough,” my hands gesture. I can feel my legs taking me back to my room. I am running. I am rushing. What for? I don’t know.

    I keep on collecting all the stuff laying around that was always messing up my life. Either is on the way, stumbling me or hiding really well what I have been looking for. All the empty perfume bottles, all the clothes I no longer wear, all the shoes I thought were so special to give away, and oh all the papers, all the papers laying around; all the memories. I collect them all. I collect them all in garbage bags.

    I look outside for the garbage can and my heart hurts. My heart whispers, “You can’t through them away. They are going to collect them tomorrow, take them, use them or even recycle them for whole lots of new things. Don’t do it. They are so special to be thrown away; they are too special to be torn apart, to be vanished from the existing. It’s not the time yet.”

    I can’t feel my hands and my legs, oh my legs, they grab me back to the hole I dug. My tears start running and they kept on assuring me, “Here it’s going to be safe. Here it’s going to last for long.”

    I put them in the hole I dug. I feel hurt but I feel safe. My legs grabbed me back to my room. “Some more stuff to collect”, my hands kept on rushing me. I can hear my hands talk to me. They feel me. They don’t want to let go but they know it’s about time to unclutter this sluggishness, the sloppiness, the clutter sitting all around.

    I start collecting and collecting; more garbage bags. More going back and forth. All until the room is almost empty. I can see the dust. I can see the little pieces left behind.

    “But, it’s time to bury the memories and clean up what’s left. It’s time to paint a new color,” my eyes said.

  14. cassie

    A tad over 500 words, but I just couldn’t stop!

    Thunder rolls across the city, and I flick wet hair out of my eyes before refocusing on the task at hand.
    The task at hand?
    Muddy water has risen to my knees-I’d guess that it’s been raining for one of the past four hours. I’m neck deep in a massive hole. Work clothes soaked through, rain pounding Morse Code on my back. If only I knew Morse Code. Blood leaks from my clenched fists, mixing with rainwater on the handle of the shovel.
    What am I doing?
    Suddenly my throat feels dry despite the fact that I am nearly drowning in rain. I cry out as I peel my bloodied hands from the shovel and let it splash into the mud.
    A flash of lighting makes my house stand out in sharp relief against the raging sky. The peal of thunder is right on its heels.
    Why did I spend the last four hours digging a hole?
    I think of Jack. He should be getting home soon.
    Jack.
    Mud has settled over my ruined shoes, and they come loose with a sucking sound as I stumble to the edge of the hole. My hands slip on the wet dirt, but I manage to pull myself over to lie on my back. Raindrops fall like bullets
    Something isn’t right. It’s like an itch at the back of my head, a song playing so softly you can’t make out the lyrics, but it’s there. I push myself onto my elbows to look into the hole, and it seems to yawn open like the mouth of a monster. I pull back with a shudder as a car rumbles into the driveway.
    Jack.
    I remember why I was digging the hole.
    “Oh, shit!”
    I scramble to my feet and sprint across the yard, my heart pounding as I throw open the screeching door and slide into the kitchen, almost losing my footing. Shaking hands throw paperwork aside, yank open drawers, send pots and pans clattering to the ground. Where is it, where is it, where is it!
    I hear the car engine shut off in the garage and turn to the door.
    The locket sits on the counter.
    And the little girl sits next to it.
    My feet respond before my mind does, backing up until I crash into the bookshelf behind me. She has the same black dress and hair, same dead eyes and bone skin, but there’s a certain opaqueness that she didn’t have before. Something breaks open in my chest, spilling freezing water into my veins. I failed.
    “You.” The tremor in my voice betrays me. Her smile seems cut onto her face with a knife.
    “Yes,” she says with a voice like ice. “Me.”
    “I—I was going to bury it. I was going to—“ The girl giggles. It’s such a childish sound, and hearing it from her is worse than grotesque.
    “Burying my locket would not have saved you. But it would have inconvenienced me, so you forgot to do it.” Such adult words. Such dead eyes.
    Jack’s key turns in the lock.
    The girl’s head follows the sound.
    “He doesn’t know anything!” I whisper. “Please. Please don’t hurt him.” Now the dead eyes burn like the depths of hell and her grin fills the room.
    The door opens.

    1. l24y

      Woah. That was intense. At first I was like, wait, Jack’s dead, and she’s burrying him? No- she killed Jack. Woah! Jack’s alive! Girl? WTH? Oooohhhh! … wait, what? WOAH! SCARY!
      ha ha jk. that’s just what was going on in my head.
      but anyways, I love your writing. the story definitely had this creepy air about it, even in the beginning when the reader knows nothing. you did very nicely with peicing it all together at the end without giving any real information. I love your use of metaphors and smilies- it made the story come alive.
      i really think you should further the story, maybe make a beginning for it, maybe a part about the girl? Still without giving any realy info away. It was very interesting! i loved it!

  15. kennydude55

    The feeling of happiness I felt at doing something good was awesome , , with my right leg I pushed the shovel into the ground dug up some dirt and then threw it over to my right , yes… I was helping to make the world a better place ,clean and free of dirt .My shovel hit something there was a snap and I blinked once , twice as my eyes adjusted to my surroundings ,that’s when I noticed I was standing in a hole , a hole I had been digging .I knew that because I was holding the shovel in my hand and could feel pain right from fingers all the way to my nice neck .
    I looked around I could tell that I was in my backyard , my kid’s swimming pool was right behind me where it had always been ,to the left of where I was standing was a mound of dirt .why had I been digging ? The backdoor of my house creaked open and my friend Takeshi came out of the house his lips were broken , his eye swollen and there was a rivulet of blood running down his forehead . He walked towards me a little groggy on his feet .What in the world?
    ‘’what happened to you ?
    When he got to the edge of the hole he flopped to the ground wiping off the blood on his lips
    ‘’Sorry Tunde ‘’ he said
    ‘’For what ? why are you bleeding ?
    ‘’It’s the same reason you re in that hole ? he replied his eyelids dropping .He had lost blood .
    ‘’what reason ? I demanded
    ‘’You made a dare ‘’
    ‘’A dare , you’ re not making sense ‘’
    ‘’we…. found a pendant ….your mothers things . You…… dared me to hypnotize you…..’’ He placed a hand over his head
    ‘’I am so sorry I… tried to stop you but you did this to me ‘’
    ‘’what …. how could I ……….” I searched my memory , pendant why didn’t I remember seeing one .I tried to remember what I did as far back as this morning , then yesterday but everything was a blank .
    ‘’I didn’t ….. see your wife …and child in the room when I woke up …. I think you buried them where you are standing .’’ then he fell on his back out cold
    ‘’What? I looked at my feet and dropped to my knees in a flash digging up the dirt with my fingers
    “OK CUT ‘ someone shouted .
    I looked up and saw someone storming towards me, he looked pissed.
    ‘’For the love of God Jason I didn’t mean really hypnotize him ‘’
    Takeshi sat up smiling
    ‘’it worked didn’t it .. but then it helps when you add a little of this too… ‘’ He held a tiny white bottle in his hand ‘’ wouldn’t you like to find out what else it does .’’

  16. roccobambace

    I stopped before plunging the shovel head into the fresh soil again. A fat, brown earthworm cracked his way into the air, looking straight at me without eyes and twitching in the strong afternoon sunlight. I held its eyeless gaze, my grip still tight on the heavy shovel, lungs screaming in the break between gasps of air as the earthworm and I began a short telepathic dialogue.

    “You are not here to kill me.” he declared boldly.

    “How do you know that?”

    “I’d be dead by now if you were. We wouldn’t be having this conversation right now if you were.”

    “Conversation?” It then dawned on me that this was no typical earthworm.

    “Hey, what are you doing? Why are you here?” the worm asked politely. His question drew a black glass wall in my mind and for a while there was nothing else.

    I cleared my throat and saw the shovel in my hands. Looked around to discover I was in a hole, maybe ten feet deep, six feet wide. A few blocks were more caved in than others but it was a pretty even, circular hole at first glance. I tried to retrace my steps but every second of the last few hours were gone. I turned around to look for the worm but so was he, irretrievably.

    I thought about France and how languages came to be. Also the strange, specific formations clouds sometimes take. I looked up at the big blue sky and it was cloudless. The sun seemed to know why I dug the hole. I knew it would tell me if I knew how to listen. At that moment it told me that I used to know, but I forgot. That we all used to know so very much, but we forgot.

    When I think about it now I tell most people I was doing police work that day. They walk away soon after, anyway. Or I could’ve been swimming. Maybe I did the manual labor of a certain star, securing its future interests. Because when I crawled out of that hole and looked back into it, I did hear the bass drums from deep down below and felt a heat that was not the sun’s kind. Unearthing is not something to be done because we forgot how. You forgot how. I might have learned again that day, for a few forgotten hours.

    Then I forgot.

  17. roccobambace

    I stopped before plunging the shovel head into the fresh soil again. A fat, brown earthworm cracked his way into the air, looking straight at me without eyes and twitching in the strong afternoon sunlight. I held its eyeless gaze, my grip still tight on the heavy shovel, lungs screaming in the break between gasps of air as the earthworm and I began a short telepathic dialogue.

    “You are not here to kill me.” he declared boldly.

    “How do you know that?”

    “I’d be dead by now if you were. We wouldn’t be having this conversation right now if you were.”

    “Conversation?” It then dawned on me that this was no typical earthworm.

    “Hey, what are you doing? Why are you here?” the worm asked politely. His question drew a black glass wall in my mind and for a while there was nothing else.

    I cleared my throat and saw the shovel in my hands. Looked around to discover I was in a hole, maybe ten feet deep, six feet wide. A few blocks were more caved in than others but it was a pretty even, circular hole at first glance. I tried to retrace my steps but every second of the last few hours were gone. I turned around to look for the worm but so was he, irretrievably.

    I thought about France and how languages came to be. Also the strange, specific formations clouds sometimes take. I looked up at the big blue sky and it was cloudless. The sun seemed to know why I dug the hole. I knew it would tell me if I knew how to listen. At that moment it told me that I used to know, but I forgot. That we all used to know so very much, but we forgot.

    When I think about it now I tell most people I was doing police work that day. They walk away soon after, anyway. Or I could’ve been swimming. Maybe I did the manual labor of a certain star, securing its future interests. Because when I crawled out of that hole and looked back into it, I did hear the bass drums from deep down below and felt a heat that was not the sun’s kind. Unearthing is not something to be done because we forgot how. You forgot how. I might have learned again that day, for a few forgotten hours. Then I forgot.

  18. WriterInHiding

    My body surges awake.

    Why am I out here? I need to get back into the house before the neighbors see me digging this hole in my backyard. It’s the middle of the night. Middle of the night? What the hell? Hole? What am I doing?

    I lob the shovel down into the deep hole and stumble through the door into the garage. It is there that I make the gruesome discovery. I come face to face with myself. My body is resting on a gurney in the middle of a make-shift laboratory. Why are all of those tubes protruding from my head and chest?

    Wait! I recall the reason for the hole.

    I wrench the tubes from my corpse and heave my useless body over my left shoulder, my new muscles rushing with incredible power. I gaze down momentarily to admire my newfound perfection. I’m completely nude. I admire the sharp angles of my abdomen. I trace both pecks with my free hand. Incredible! Not an ounce of fat.

    The body hits the bottom of the hole with a sickening thud. I lift it momentarily to retrieve my shovel, and I use my newfound strength to submerse my old shell. Almost complete.

    This is my third self-service body change, and I’ve never had my brain take so long to reboot. It must have happened in the middle of the dig. I scatter the last bits of dirt onto the fresh grave, and swell up the stairs.
    I take just a moment to respect the new me in the sliding glass window.

    Now, for the fun part.
    My wife will want to enjoy my latest experiment. I slip into the house.
    “Honey, I’m home!”

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