Well damn. It’s bad enough having to pick apart the inside of the coffin. The splinters under my nails were irritating to say the least but it was only compounded by the soil. I cannot in all honesty recommend trying to dig your way up, with bare hands. Gravity, in this situation, is not your friend. Just when you finally break free of your wooden cage, you have a split second to cover your face so the dirt doesn’t get up you nose and in your eyes. It won’t do any lasting damage to me, but it is not comfortable.
But I get past the splinters, and the sudden cascade of dirt and I dig. I’ve perfected trying to push the Earth to one side of me, creating some space underneath my body so I have somewhere to put the displaced soil. Can I just say, six feet under, bit excessive if you ask me. I mean, those who aren’t coming back you can just use one foot and jobs a good one. But for those of us who do come back. We’re not staying down there, so we will claw our way out of ten feet let alone six. So how about you cut us some slack and make it two?
Anyway, I’m digressing. Probably because of that thing. I reach up, now that my upper body has broken through the surface, and tentatively grasp the metal cage surrounding the grave site. I give it a wiggle but it’s not budging. My hands follow one of the metal straps that bends round and goes back into the ground. I probe down into the loose earth, but I don’t find the end. Scratching away at the base I try and dig down but I cannot find the end. If this thing extends that far, it’s going to take days to dig out. And that’s the kind of thing everyday mourners tend to notice.
It’s been a while since I felt panic, so at first I wasn’t sure what it was but now I am increasingly aware of the sense of dread overcoming me.
‘Not funny is it.’
I freeze. People are not supposed to know about us, I could get in trouble, more than I was in now.
But then thoughts start to [process in my brain again and I realise, I know that voice.
‘Caleb?’ I hear movement off to my left and I try to crane round. Finally big black boots come into view. ‘Thank goodness, could you go find a shovel or something?’
‘Oh, there’s one round here somewhere.’ He nods as he crouches down so I can see his face. He’s smiling. Wickedly.
‘You remember that time you got them to bury me sideways?’
‘It was a joke, I came back for you.’
‘Five days Mattias. Five days I dug sideways. You even put the coffin on its side.’
‘Be fair, how did you not notice the dirt wasn’t falling in?’
‘You strapped me to the bottom so I didn’t fall to one side.’
‘So this is your revenge is it?’
He’s grinning again.
‘It’s been one hundred and fifty years Caleb.’
‘One hundred and sixty-seven actually.’
‘Come on, the normal folk will see me.’
‘Oh, no, it’s closed for renovations. No public allowed in for at least five days.’
I glare at him but it’s hard from this angle, and I can’t get enough room to turn on to my side.
‘Five days? Funny that.’
‘Don’t worry Matty. I’ll come back in five in case you’re not out by then.’ He slips a pair of sunglasses on even though it’s the middle of the night, cursed man. He stands, takes a look around, with his hands on his hips and then slowly wanders away. I don’t bother to call after him, I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. I feel rain drops on my face. Well damn.