Autumn, Darkness, Monsters 1996
Fred Douglas

It was an especially dark morning and the air was cold and moist. He'd taken the bus to the end of the line then walked the few last blocks to the site. He knew the job had something to do with gardening and he wondered why they'd chosen him - a mere collector, and in some obscure way, a categorizer. He knew nearly nothing of the arrangement of plants into gardens.

As he mused on this, he looked up and saw the site. In a field of steel-grey pebbles about the size and shape of robins' eggs sat a large red bricks building with rows of small windows containing metal bars.

He began to walk through this cold gleaming field when suddenly a car sped past him and skidded to a stop. A small, angular man in a grey tweed suit jumped out into the gloom and moved assertively toward a corner of the field where there was a small muddy pond. An open-backed truck then appeared and the man directed it with vigorous movements of his hands and arms into the corner. The driver and a swamper removed a canvas which covered the box and he saw that it was filled with corpses, most of them in narrow, shallow and open coffins. They were piled one upon the other in an irregular way and had mud poured over them like gravy.

When the back panel of the truck was opened he could see more bodies had been stuck into the spaces between the coffins and a pile of heads had been pushed into the back corner. The heads were the first things that were unloaded. Two men with pitchforks plucked them out of their pile and threw them into the pond of cocoa-coloured mud. Then the coffins were slid off one after the other into the pond.

He saw that the truck was a prison truck and realized that this place was a dumping station for the prison. He stared at the faces of the corpses and attempted to divine who they'd been but it was futile. All of them had been made the same by death and mud.

(text from photograph series)

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