But I knew that wouldnâ€™t be the case, knew that this time he wouldnâ€™t get up. Part of me wanted that to happen so badly, even knowing that there would be one hell of a beating involved.
To this day I donâ€™t know how long I lay there on top of Georgie, panting, shivering and in shock. My shirt and hands were sticky with blood, Georgieâ€™s blood. I stood up and walked over to the Tree Man. He was still tied to the tree, but he wasnâ€™t moving, dried blood marked his body and when I grabbed his head in my hands it felt cold and limp. I shook him, told him to wake up, demanded that he answer me.
His silence mocked me and I couldnâ€™t deal with it. I was out of my mind, overwhelmed with emotion and I hit him in the mouth. I felt his head snap against my fist and then the tree and I could swear that he groaned. â€œHey, hey asshole, answer me, say something,â€ I screamed, but no words came out of my mouth and so I grabbed him and shook him again. But again his silence mocked me.
â€œGeorgie, you better stop playing,â€ I shouted and then I kicked him over and over, slapped his face and grabbed his throat and began squeezing it until I realized it wasnâ€™t Georgie. Georgie was dead, his body lay a few feet away.
I started to laugh and shake, giant gales of laughter wracked my body. There in the dark I stood the worldâ€™s newest murderer. Life hadnâ€™t been great, but now it was distinctly worse. Georgieâ€™s death was an accident, it was self-defense. He had been trying to kill me, but the Tree Man, how could I explain that.
How could I tell anyone about this. Who would believe me? When they saw him they would look at me and that would be the end of it. I couldnâ€™t imagine any scenario that didnâ€™t end with me in a cage and that wouldnâ€™t do, couldnâ€™t do, it just wouldnâ€™t.
That sick cackle that had been emanating from my mouth returned, bubbled forth like the hiss of air escaping a punctured tire and then it turned into sobbing. Beneath the moonlight I lay in the dirt and cried. A soft wind blew through the trees and the rustling of the leaves painted a picture of desolation. What else was there besides me and the two corpses, my world was destroyed.
And then I heard Georgieâ€™s voice. Even in death he taunted me, ridiculed me for being weak. I could see him standing in front of me, grinning at my pain, the contempt he held me in apparent for all to see. Except that he was dead and I was alive and in hell.
But like so many times in the past the self-pity turned to anger and I stood back up, sucked up the anger and stuffed it back into the pit in my soul it came from. I had to go, had to get out of there and off of the mountain. Now all I needed to do was figure out what to do with Georgie and the Tree Man and go home.