His eyes were wide open and nearly bulging out of their sockets. It was the first thing that struck me. I knew right away that he was gone.
Bending down, kneeling in the soggy mud, we lock gazes. He stares at me and his eyes never blink. His lips are trembling: I think he's trying to talk. He's trying to tell me something but no words are coming out. I start to panic. "Hey buddy," I foolishly begin, "talk to me. Come on, hang in there brother." I start petting his head to comfort myself.
I take his still hand in mine and am relieved to feel his grip in return. I start to breathe heavily. His lips are trembling. He's trying to talk-- I know it. He wants to tell me something. His grip grows stronger and his gaze fixed. I lean over and place my ear to his lips, but only hear labored breaths.
I'm lost—I’m looking around frantically, for anything. Tears are streaming down my face. I’m lost. I grip his hand tightly.
I can hear faint shouts in the distance, but the rice is too tall for me to see anything. The voices horrify me. The mud is cold and I am sweating under the scorching sun.
I leap to me feet. “Hey! HEY!” I shout in all directions. I wave my arms frantically. “Over here! Over here you fucking assholes!” I can’t see anything.
Plunging back into the mud, I cradle his head on my soiled knees and I start to shake. I can’t control it. My entire body is quaking. I can’t control it. I can’t hold him up. I can’t do this. I can’t stop shaking. I can’t. I start to scream.
His eyes are closed and all I can do is scream.