Moist, frigid air clings to my exposed skin. My open eyes blink yet see nothing. Silence drapes over me, thick and heavy.
A thin sliver of light creeps through a hole in the upper left corner, white as snow and just as cold.
“… Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” A voice slithers into my ears, crawling in through the hole. It’s husky and rough like the serrated edge of a knife. It pushes my thoughts away as it continues “…in the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life.”
The words force me back to a hot, sunny day. I’m ten years old, standing on freshly cut grass, staring down at a large black hole. A man in a white robe stands at the other edge. His shoes are concealed beneath the linen yet I am searching for them. The mesmerizing movement of the fabric in the wind consumes my thoughts. I can’t look away, even as something descends into the hole.
“Let us commend Olivia Richards to the mercy of God.” His voice is warm and melodious, carried on the rose-scented breeze. It washes over me as I watch my mother’s coffin being lowered slowly into the ground.
“We therefore commit her body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life…”
The image fades into the recesses of my mind, swallowed by the abyss of empty thoughts.
Smooth, fragile fabric envelops my arm and legs, restricting my movements. The frozen limbs remain trapped at my sides. My mouth opens but a heavy lump in my throat blocks the words from escaping. The darkness burrows into my throat, pushing the scream back into my lungs.
A dull thump stabs my ears, rattling around in my head like a glass marble. The stench of mud sears the inside of my nose. An invisible weight pushes down on my chest as I watch the darkness extinguish the sliver of hope that was my only connection to the world outside this wooden prison.
The air becomes thicker and thicker with each thump. My arms break free of their confines, only to be stopped by a coarse wooden surface.
Palms out, pushing against the coffin lid, mouth gaping open to suck in precious air reserves, muscle bulging and burning from the exertion– nothing. The weight of the dirt is too great, my arms are too weak.
My nails claw the wood as my voice finally breaks free. “Help!” I scream over and over again until the word no longer makes sense. It morphs from the voice of a human to the scream of a wild animal. My throat burns, my lungs ache; the air is becoming thinner and thinner.
My breath comes out in short gasps and refuses to go back in. It stops at my chapped lips, trapped behind my teeth. The air turns putrid with the stench of iron. The haunting smell of blood fills my nostrils as my fingernails break against the unforgiving surface. Blood and flesh scrape against the wood to no avail.
My arms grow weak and fall. My fingers and toes are already numb. They disappear into the satin, consumed by the soft fabric.
My eyes hurt. My lungs ache. My head throbs. My throat burns.
I can’t see. I can’t move. I can’t scream. I can’t breathe.
My thoughts are fading into the darkness, falling beneath the satin and wood layers. Falling beneath the dirt and ant colonies. Falling, falling.
I’m falling. Falling away from this coffin, with the tight walls and the absence of oxygen. Falling away from the people on the ground; from the family members crying with handkerchiefs clutched in their fists. Falling away from the metal shovel sending showers of dirt tumbling onto the growing pile. Falling away from the priest in the white robe that hides his shoes.
A/N: Okay, I know this isn’t exactly horror, but I haven’t had the time to write another story to replace this one so pretend it is. Anyways, Happy Halloween Week! Let me know what you think! I’ll see you tomorrow! 😀