Outside the Harvest

by Michael Neal Morris

Onboard the ambulance, a paramedic opened Marcus’ wallet and removed the identification. He noted that the patient was 71 and an organ donor. Marcus, for his part, lay moaning low on the gurney and dreaming he was lost in a wheat field. At a clearing, a man with a sickle who smelled like his father, all sweat and smoke, nodded to him.

“You here for me?” Marcus asked.

The man looked at him as if Marcus had asked directions to the State Penitentiary, then without reply went to the edge of the field and began cutting down the tall stalks.

He opened his eyes and saw the paramedic tapping his clipboard, swaying when the ambulance changed lanes. The vehicle seemed to be moving too slowly for the pain in his head.

He asked, “Am I dying?”

The paramedic answered, “I don’t think so. Those organs are all still yours.” He added, “But you should try to take it easy until we get to the hospital.”

Marcos thought reclosing his eyes would be the best way to show he was listening. There was no siren, he just then realized, only the beeps of the machine and the clipped voices coming from the paramedic’s radio. Lights beat against the outside of his eyelids.

Before he awoke in the hospital room, he was in the field again. The wheat was stacked in neat bundles. The farmer was gone; his scent remained.