WEP Halloween

I haven't taken part in WEP for ages, but I just had to take part this month; I love writing scary stories for Halloween! I haven't had as much time to work on this story as I would have liked, but it's turned out OK, I think.



Unrest in Peace

I wake to a loud bang above my head. I open my eyes to darkness; squinting, my eyes adjust, and I see thin slivers of light shining through small gaps in the surface directly above me. It’s so close I can touch it. I reach up with my arms, and press my palms against the rough surface; wood. My heart begins to pound; where am I?

I lean up on my elbows and press my eye to one of the gaps in the wood, but all I see is light. I lie back down and feel around me; I’m in a wooden box, not much larger than my body. I press my palms against the lid and push; it doesn’t budge. My breath comes in short bursts as I scratch at the lid, ignoring the stabs of pain from splinters burrowing under my fingernails. I start banging on the wood, my heart pounding harder than it ever has, fists aching in protest.

“Help!” I yell; there has to be somebody around, somebody who can help me. I try to kick out with my feet, but there isn’t enough room to get a good kick to the lid. “Help me, please!”

I freeze when I hear a noise, straining my ears. Someone is chuckling softly, somewhere outside the box. A loud thud on the lid makes me jump; is someone letting me out?

Something begins to trickle slowly through the gaps in the wood; showering my body. There’s another thud, and more dust comes through the gaps. I rub it between my fingers; it’s grainy, like sand.

Dirt. Someone is shoveling dirt onto the box.

“No!” I scream, heart pounding as frantically as my fists. “No, please!”

The thumping is steady now, rhythmic, the dirt trickling through the gaps, a constant stream.

The light begins to dim, the thumping becoming more muffled.

I scrabble at the lid again, mustering all the force I can, ignoring the pain as my nails break, the ache of my fists as I bang on the lid. I push on the lid with all of my might, tears and sweat mingling on my face. All I can hear are the steady, muffled thumps and my own gasping breaths.

The thumps stop. There is no light left now; I’m in pitch darkness.

“No, please, please don’t leave me here! I’ll do anything! Please!” I push on the lid with all of my strength, but it’s impossible. I’m trapped.

I lay there, my gasping breaths becoming tighter in my chest, the smell of the dirt still trickling slowly through the gaps in the wood overwhelming. I count in my head, and my breathing becomes slower, more even.

I need to make it last. I will find a way out of here; this can’t be the end. I need to make the air last until I find a way.

Now that I’m still, I notice the cold. I start to shiver.

How can I get out? Try the lid again? It didn’t work before, but maybe if I kick it at the same time? Or use my feet to kick out the sides? No, even if I managed to get the lid open, I’d be crushed by the dirt already pressing onto the lid of the box.

It’s hopeless.

Tears run in an endless stream down the sides of my face; I can hear them dripping onto the wood beneath my head.

My mouth is dry, so dry, from the shouting and struggling. I can’t remember the last time I had a drink. Which would I die from first, asphyxiation or dehydration? Probably the former; it’s getting harder and harder to breathe.

I close my eyes; this is happening. There’s nothing I can do but wait. It’ll be over soon.

So I wait.

And wait.

And wait…

My mouth is so dry, my lungs now aching from lack of oxygen.

The air is ice cold now, my whole body aching, violently shivering.

My muscles are screaming, screaming at the lack of water in my body.

I can hear my stomach gurgling, rumbling louder than it ever has.

So why am I not dying? Surely it doesn’t take this long…

And then I remember. I remember how I got here, why I got here.

It’s punishment.

Punishment for doing a terrible thing.

Dread fills my aching body; I will never die. I will be trapped here, in this box, on the verge of death but never to die, for eternity. I will never feel the release of death.

Tears once again begin to fall from my eyes, the steady drip and my ragged breaths the only sound in the darkness, the only things I will ever hear again.

Word count: 790
Open to critique

Comments

  1. Oh dear, is it a vampire being punished, or some other immortal? Either way it's a horrid way to 'live' - very well done! Maybe someone who misses her will find her?
    Thanks for participating in the WEP Halloween/Constellations Challenge. We're so glad you could find the time. Halloween stories are the most fun to write and read!

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  2. That would be a fate not fit for almost any. Great story indeed.

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  3. You've tapped into one of our greatest fears with this one.

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  4. I am glad that it is early morning here. This is so not a story to read late at night.

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  5. Oh-oh! That is one scary Halloween story. The poor, poor creature. Being buried alive is infinitely worth than quick death. Nobody deserves it, not even the worst villains.

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  6. Oh Laura, scary, terrifying. That coffin in the ground thing. What a way to remain undead for eternity. You've captured the emotion along with the descriptions of the dirt, her yelling, the futility...Go girl!

    You're open to critique but you admit you didn't have all the time you wished to finish this. One thing that I could offer is the 'began to...' phrase which we all do, then edit out, hopefully. Don't begin, just do it. Your heart doesn't need to 'begin to pound', it just pounds. Makes your writing stronger, I think.

    Thanks for taking the plunge into WEP again! Great to have you!

    Denise :-)

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  7. Well, this is terrifying. Trapped in a coffin, no air, buried alive and apparently, forever alive. This is perhaps everyone's worse fear. Well done.
    Nancy

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  8. to each hell runs
    in the mind of the one
    what will your eternity be
    for what you have done

    will it be fire
    or buried alive
    and none for entirety
    will hear you cry

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  9. I agree with EC, not a a story to be read late at night! :o)

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  10. You descriptions are great. Like the dirt trickling through the cracks in the box and the sound of the earth being shoveled on top of the coffin. Definitely leaves me wondering what she did or what she is.

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  11. As someone who suffers from claustrophobia, I found that completely terrifying. Being buried alive, feeling the space around you grow ever tighter as your air supply dwindles, knowing that there's no one to hear you...agghh...I shudder just typing it out.

    A fantastic story that taps into some very primal fears.

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  12. Literally my worst nightmare, being buried alive. Great creepy, scary, telling of this sad tale. Terrifying indeed.

    One little suggestion. You have a fondness for the pronoun 'I' which I found a little distracting. I think you can cut the I's by about half and not change the story one bit, and keep me more into the action as opposed to being yanked back into your world.

    Example: "I lay there, my gasping breaths becoming tighter in my chest, the smell of the dirt still trickling slowly through the gaps in the wood overwhelming. I count in my head, and my breathing becomes slower, more even."

    CHANGE TO: "Laying there, my gasping breaths become tighter in my chest... Counting in my head helps my breathing become slower, more even."

    Or something like that. Just a suggestion to eliminate some of those I's. Maybe it doesn't bother others, but I find it a little distracting.

    Great job at creeping me out completely!

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  13. Definitely creepy - and a good Halloween read! I have a fear of being buried alive after seeing so many stories about that. I don't like being underground either for any reason (caves, tours, etc) I would have liked to have known what the very bad thing was that caused this punishment. . .

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  14. Too terrifying, the worst thing that could happen to anyone - remaining undead for eternity. Great creepy Halloween flash. Well done!

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