Using the tombstone as an aide, I push myself up to my feet. I still can’t feel my legs; it’s as if they are asleep. Nonetheless, I manage to shuffle along very gingerly. I stumble a couple of times and think about quitting, but I need to find help. I must keep pushing myself towards the road.
“How long has it been since I’ve last eaten?”
I see the shadow of what looks like a person in the distance, but I’m not positive. My mind is beyond foggy and my thoughts are getting muddled. I know the sun is coming up, but it’s becoming more difficult to see.
Strange, my sense of smell is getting stronger, though. I can smell the scent of death coming from the nearby road. I’m so hungry. Even the rotting odor of roadkill makes me think of food. I need to quicken my pace if I’m to find help.
My legs are very stiff but the walking seems to be loosening them up. I see another shadow pass by, this time coming from the right of me. I try yelling to it but only a low groan comes out. This makes me think of my first hours in the casket: I would speak out loud to myself to keep from panicking. Over time, though, I noticed my words would become jumbled. Then I lost the ability to articulate sentences.
It seems whatever is wrong with me has taken over my ability to speak at all now. It could be from the starvation. It’s been so long since I’ve last eaten or had a drink of water. I must be dangerously dehydrated.
The figure passes right in front of me this time. I make a move towards it but I trip over a rock and fall down. My peripherals are engulfed in shadows; I’m going blind. Then a strong, chemical-like odor stings my nostrils—it smells like formaldehyde.
I get to all fours and tilt my head upward. The shadow is now lumbering in front of me. My eyes begin to focus a little bit and I can make out a navy blue suit like mine. I blink a few times and try to figure out who it is I’m looking at. The man’s suit is filthy and a deer leg dangles from his hand.
I get an intense urge to grab the leg and scurry away, but I manage to restrain myself. I get back to my feet and come face to face with an older man. His face is as grey as the sparse hair on his head. He’s covered in grime and there’s dried blood caked around his mouth. His eyes are milky white and his skin is void of color.
His gaze bores right through me and he lets out a lingering groan; the sound of it sends chills down my spine. Then the old man drops the animal leg and turns around, making his way to the road.
Partial memories of my father come to me as I watch the man walk away. That suit, I know it’s the same as the one I’m wearing. Visions of my father flicker in my mind, but I cannot remember the details of his face.
Looking down at the deer leg, an overwhelming feeling of hunger takes hold of me. I can’t resist anymore, so I reach down to pick it up. But I’m interrupted by a nearby thumping sound. I turn my head to see grass and clumps of soil flinging about from another grave. I make out the bony knuckles of a human hand popping free from the hardened ground.
This grave is not fresh and the tombstone shows signs of decay. I want to help this person, but I can’t resist the urge to keep walking. It’s getting harder for me to stay focused. I’m having trouble remembering what I need to do. My hunger, these cravings, they are taking over me.
Making my way to the road I see another shadowy figure coming up the walkway towards me. I stop and try to make out details of the person, but I find myself staring at nothing. I’m unable to focus my eyes or my thoughts.
I take a step forward only to have my legs give out from underneath me. On all fours, again, it feels as if my whole body is asleep. I’m aware of the moisture from the dew on my hands, but I can’t feel it. I blink my eyes in rapid succession, but my sight continues to get worse.
Looking down at my hands, I see a yellowish color sticking out from my gnarled knuckles. It takes me a few seconds before I realize that I’m staring at shards of broken bones which have torn through my skin. It must have been from when I broke through the casket.
I must have gone into shock some time ago, and this is why my body is barely functioning. I need to go to the hospital as soon as possible. Wait, that figure is getting closer. I need to reach out for help. I need to—
“Oh my god, sir. Are you okay?”
A young woman is helping me to my feet. Her perfume is familiar to me; it smells like lilacs. My sister used to wear a lilac perfume on special occasions. I try to speak, but the only sound I manage is a throaty garble.
“What happened to you? We need to get you help,” she says to me with a tremble in her voice.
My head feels heavy, but I find myself able to raise it up enough to look this girl in the eye. The feminine features of her face give no indication of who she is. But her eyes—her eyes I’ve seen before. Those piercing emerald eyes belong to that of an angel I’ve known my whole life. I reach out for her, but she jumps back.
“Sol… Sol… Solomon?” she stutters. A look of terror erases the concern she showed only moments earlier. “What—this can’t be.”
She is my sister. I’m sure of it now. I grab at her arm trying to convey my excitement of seeing her, but she smacks my hand away. I don’t understand. She should be relieved that I’m alive. But she turns away from me. She goes to run, but she’s met by the wandering man I encountered earlier.
A horrendous shriek cracks the serene quietness of the morning as the man lunges at my sister. I figured him to be a harmless vagabond, but his intentions appear to be malicious. I need to stop him. I must help her.
“Da—“ Her words are cut off by an awful snapping sound.
I try to rush over to her but my legs aren’t working right. With each step I hear a crunching from my knees. I’m able to keep upright, but there’s no way to be quick in my movements. Why did she run from me in the first place? Why did she let them put me in the ground? She must be in on the scheme to get rid of me. I bet she came here today to make sure I was buried for good. I’ll tear her treacherous eyes from their sockets for doing this to me!
Coming up to them, I see the man is chewing on her neck; blood so dark it almost looks black is squirting from the wound. Even through my now opaque view of the world, I can still see the green of her eyes. She’s gasping for air as a look of utter hopelessness stares back at me. Suddenly my fiery rage gets drenched by a waterfall of melancholy. Even if she was responsible for putting me in the ground, she doesn’t deserve this.
I kneel next to her and gaze into her eyes. Helplessly, I watch the spark of life fade away. She always showed me such love, and yet I was unable to save her. Not because of the failings of my body, but rather the failings of my heart. I could have prevented this. I could have stopped this savage from attacking her. I didn’t, though. I let my anger cloud my judgment. It’s all the fault of this fiend. How dare he take an angel as fragile as her from this world? I’m going to kill him. I’m going to—
Instinct takes over. I pick up a broken hunk of rock and club him right over the head with it. A loud thud echoes from the impact as he falls flat on the grass. He doesn’t move. I stare at him for a moment before turning back to my sister.
There’s a bouquet of white roses in her hand with spots of dark crimson tainting their purity. My mind is getting so fuzzy and it’s taking all my willpower to focus. My thoughts get harder to maintain. It’s as if I’m losing the ability to think—to rationalize.
Her blood smells so delicious. It wafts right up to my nostrils and hunger grips me. I need to eat. Not much thinking, only instinct. I drop down to her. I can still feel the warmth on her skin. Her face looks so peaceful now. I have such a strong urge to tear into her flesh. I can’t defile her body in such a way. I must—just a taste. The smell of fresh blood spilt is too strong to ignore. Just a taste. I can’t see anything. But that smell. It’s irresistible. The world has gone dark. All I need is a taste. Must eat. Can’t—my sister. She loved—but just a taste. Just a taste. A taste. Must eat. Eat.
As the gruesome scene unfolded, multiple graves began to rattle with life. Hordes of grotesque corpses started to gather and lumbered towards the road. Only one grave remained untouched; the grave of a mother of two. Next to her, the empty plot of dirt where her husband once rested. On the other side, the freshly unearthed grave of her loyal son.
Partially covered by dead, white roses, the writing on her tombstone reads, “Only the white light of heaven can direct the soul away from the darkness of hell. A mother’s love is the most powerful light in guiding a spirit. May her sacrifice help guide the souls of her loving husband, Charles, and beloved son, Solomon.”
If you enjoyed this, make sure to check out these other great short horror stories.