I felt empty at first. Nothin' else.

It was like there was nothin' inside me, and just under where my heart should be, there was a huge empty space. I didn' eat anything. I didn' sleep either. They called it shock. Whatever that's s'posed to mean.

Then I felt angry.

I felt overwhelmin' rage that built up inside me, it made me claw at my hair, and made my body shake with anger. I wanted to scream until my lungs burst and to punch and kick just to get it all out but it never worked. They told me not to worry. They said it was normal.

Then I started feeling sad.

No- not sad, that's the wrong word because there are no words to how I felt. I felt depressed, destroyed, hopeless, guilty and so many other things all at once. I lay on my bunk for hours every night, curled up, letting the despair swallow me whole. The other guys tried to bring me back to reality, asking me to play cards or offering me meaningless words of comfort. They told me to let go of him. They said he wouldn' have wanted this. I didn' see the point though. I don' see the point in anything anymore.

Now I feel empty again. Just an empty shell that works, eats, sleeps. Nothin' else. The guys gave up on talking to me a long time ago when I refused to speak. Now I'm all alone in he world. That vast space inside me refuses to close up and nothin' can fill it. Nobody I should say. That was the place where Lennie used to be.

I bolt to the barn, with the gravel crunching underneath my feet as I run. Something is wrong. He's done something real bad this time.

Just as I get to the barn door I stop. He's done something bad… no, not just bad; terrible. I could just walk away now, no one would ever know I were here, and I wouldn' have to get caught up in all this goddamn mess…. No! I couldn't- I'd never-!

I cursed myself for even thinkin' like that, and with that I slowly crept into the barn. The open door flooded the room with sunlight, and tiny little dust mites danced around me and slowly drifted to the floor as I searched the barn for what I desperately didn't want to see

I gasped at what I saw and grasped the wall for support as I felt my knees buckle. My eyes went wide as I gazed upon in horror the small unmoving figure of Curley's wife, hastily covered in hay.

Oh Lennie, what have you done?

Her neck was bent at an odd angle (similar to the mice Lennie… broke), but her eyes were closed and there were no traces of blood that I could see. She could be sleeping.

I shook my head to clear my thoughts. I had to think of something and fast; the other guys would be here any minute. We could run away again, another fresh start, or maybe we could live in the wild, but then I was never one for survival skills. Then it hit me.

I couldn't get Lennie out of this one.

They'd say he was a murderer and a murderer would be recognised anywhere, especially one Lennie's size. Even if I could explain what happened, he'd be locked up in the booby hatch if he wasn't lynched first.

I couldn't get him out of this one but there was something I could do. Could I do it? No, I couldn't—But what will they do to him if they don't? I looked down at my feet in defeat, they'd scare Lennie, they'd hurt him, I know they would. People do stuff like that.

I knew what I had to do… but could I bring myself to do it?

I quietly slip out of the barn, going unnoticed by the other workers, into the cool air of the early evening, the cicadas chirping and the gravel crunching beneath my feet. Lennie what have you done?