Fungal Halo

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Rot Together

Her grave was not particularly deep, the coffin not particularly sturdy, the stone marker already overgrown. It was a burial in which every expense had been spared.

A mushroom sprouts through a wedding ring pushed to the surface by subterranean life.

It grows and thickens until the ring around it is a perfect fit, all while the fungal bloom expands as more fruiting bodies pierce the surface.

A figure resembling a shaggy, human body lurches upright, its shape carried, at its core, by a knotted mass of pale threads.

It’s not the buried woman who rises from the grave, but still some essential fragment of her inside the sprawling undermind drives it into motion, pushing to right an old injustice that sits uneasily within the false neurons of the hearth-that-eats.

It is not human, but it contains enough humanity to recognize what it means to adhere to the letter, but not the spirit, of a last will and testament.

A hostile executor. A wealthy family holding only contempt that their daughter’s wife was not what they wanted. One gets an expensive mausoleum, the other a cardboard box in a neglected grave nearby.

They’d have rolled their daughter-in-law into a ditch if they weren’t required by a legally binding document to bury them side-by-side.

Still they did their best to spit on their daughter’s union after her untimely death.

All it takes is a good, firm push for masonry to surrender, falling to pitiful pieces.

Hands that aren’t hands at all prise open the coffin, revealing a lonely, beloved body.

Limbs that are not arms carefully wrap the corpse and lift it into a tight, sentimental hold.

No words need to be spoken. Words are for people, anyway.

The fungal figure slowly falls to pieces while carrying its treasure away, at last tumbling into a shared hole together.

The wife’s wife will be devoured, integrated, loved.

There is room at the hearth for the undermind to remember both of them.