A trifle to start the Nightmare Fuel project proper, a dialog-heavy piece. This wasn't the type of prompt that really speaks to me, nor is tomorrows; graveyards and foreboding forests are too much classic horror staple for my usual taste.
What We Deserve
"Reunited at last, beyond the veil".
Those are the first words he said on arriving, after shrugging off his mortal coil and re-awakening after his remains were interred in the family crypt with his late bride.
"You left the crypt door open." Those were his second words. Warmth spread across the bare stone floor as the lovers touched, reunited after all these years, here in the comfort of the grave.
"Sorry, love. It's easy to get into sloppy habits, it being just me. You still being alive and all that."
"Well, it isn't just you anymore. You're my wife again."
A ghostly chuckle. "I thought it was till death do us part? We are dead."
The air cooled. "That isn't funny. And it isn't how it works." He paused. "You always left the door open when we were alive too. I see death hasn't made you any more responsible."
"Not this again. You're here one moment and already complaining?" If she still had breath, she'd have sighed. "How did you die?"
"My heart, like everyone who strives too hard and does too much. The way men usually go. Not a dumb accident."
"Please don't start on that again. I've had years to think about it. I still don't have peace with it."
"You will. Peace is all we have now. The peace of the grave."
If possible, the darkness in the already sealed crypt deepened, to something beyond darkness. After a pause, she spoke again, "Is this what you imagined? How it would be?"
"It was always one possibility. There's been much written about the spirit, about it's connection to the body. I should have told you more about it when we were alive. I used to read about it quite a lot. You really should keep the crypt door closed. This is our home now. We need to treat it that way."
They paused for a moment, in the silence of the grave. Her voice - if you can call it a voice - was quiet, calm. "It already is my home. It has been for twelve years now."
"No. It was your resting place. It's not a home without a family. We're a family again. And... home".
"Yes, we are. I'll close the door."
With the memory of muscle stronger than actual muscle had been, her spirit had been able to move the heavy stone from the crypt entrance easily. Now, it was sluggish. Stuck.
"I'll get it." The stone rolled back, sealing the crypt in darkness.
"So... now what. What have you been up to these years?"
"I've been here. Mostly alone. The other dead are boring."
"Maybe we can make some friends together now that I'm here."
"Really, it's a waste. I've tried, they all either cry, or mutter to themselves, or sit quietly. One of them said that we all get what we deserve. That's just a few. Most of the graves seem empty."
"It will be different for you, now that I'm here. We'll make friends. You'll see.
But please, stop forgetting to close the door."
A hundred years later the stone seal has long since shattered, but, if you stand in just the right place by the crumbling stone walls, you can still sometimes hear his voice, muttering, "close the damn door".
We all get what we deserve.
|Image by Mark Krawec|