The day went by slow enough. I had no business today, but like my Pa always says, “Enjoy the slow days, you’re gonna need it for the busy ones. After all, everyone’s dying to sleep here.” And I always do enjoy 'em. The sun should be settling down soon and I just lit the cigarette I finished rolling. I think I might just sleep here tonight, on my rocker watching the moon replace the sun, a peaceful night to match perfectly with the peaceful day I had.

Just as I was about to nod off I heard it: a soft sound, but there was no mistaking it. Since there’s no wind tonight, that could mean either two things. Some damned kids are trying to piss me off, pretending they’re spirits, or God forbid, a poor soul that’s been mistakenly buried alive. I still remember the pale face and haunted eyes of the last man. It was almost forty years ago and I was just a boy. I must have been around ten or eleven years as I heard the bell ringing while I was out playin'. I ran to my Pa to tell him about it, watching as he grabbed his spade and hat hurriedly and followed me to the grave.

“You James McBride?” my father asked.

“Yes! Oh god yes, please get me out!” the man shouted.

“You born on October 9th, 1812?”

“Yes, in this very town! Help me!”

“Stone says here you died April 24.”

“I’m not dead! Please dig me up!” He started weeping.

“Just calm down I’m diggin' you out right now.” As he dug he turned to me and said, “Remember the questions asked, in case you hear the bell ring when you take over. Now go grab a spade and help me dig, boy.” I didn’t understand why asked those questions, but I never questioned my Pa.

That day has been embedded into my memory, and every time I hear a bell ring it feels like it was just yesterday when it happened. I grabbed my lantern and spade and headed off towards the sound. I swear if I catch one of them kids I’m gonna make em pay for ruining my night. As I neared the grave I started to run once I saw no kids scurrying away and bell still ringing. I knelt down to the copper tube that led down to the coffin. “Don’t worry Sue Conner! It’s all right now, I’ll have you out in a moment's time.”

“Please hurry! Dig me up!” her voice was frantic and scared. I kept talking to her to try to calm her a bit, but it didn’t work, she just kept begging for me to dig her up. After several hours I reached the wood, it became almost pitch black by that time the only light came from the moon and my lantern.

“You’re almost free, ma’am,” I said, almost out of breath from the work. Once the words were out of my mouth she started pounding on the lid of the coffin. “Bear with me, Sue! I just need to break the lock and you can get out!” But she did not stop the banging. After I broke off the lock with my spade I stood up to get out of the grave so the coffin could be opened.

As I stood, something on the gravestone caught my eye in the dim light of the lantern, and it was at that time I realized two things while Sue Conner started cracking the wood beneath my feet: One is why my Pa asked those questions to the man, and second is that I completely forgot to ask Sue Conner those questions. Because according to the stone she died three months ago. Before I had time to do anything she broke through the wood and grabbed a hold of me.


Credited to Skoal 

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