I'm posting this as #fridayflash, joining a great community of writers.
The new graveyard was built to provide a final resting place for the people of the new housing developments that had rashed outwards from the town. All the new young people would need somewhere to lie when they finished going from their doppelganger houses to work and back again. The fresh field was nicely mowed and surrounded by a pretty wall. The children liked to chase each other in there and play football. For a long time, it was empty. Then men dug a hole in the middle of it, six feet deep, put something in it and filled it up again. Once the muffin dough of clay settled, they put a stone up with a name on it. My name, of course.
In the beginning, I just lay there. I had never liked doing nothing. Someone who knew me put a book in there as a symbol of my life. Books had meant so much to me. People not so much, although I always liked an audience. I supposed I should have regretted that. The only thing I really regretted was that it was dark and I couldn’t read. Although I did like to smell the pages of the book buried with me. Part of the joy of books for me was the scent of the paper, the ink, the binding. And I missed talking about them.
So I lay there and listened to the sound of the children racing around the nearly empty graveyard, with just me in the middle with nothing to do. I got bored. And I got ideas. You know what they say. The devil makes work for idle hands. I got to thinking about the emptiness all around me and I started picking at the side of the coffin. It took time, but I was rich in that, if nothing else.
When I broke through, a shower of dirt fell into the hole. I panicked for a second, feeling like I was going to suffocate. Then I laughed at myself for being stupid. I wonder if the sound of it echoed up to the surface.
I dug then. Dug right through the timber and into the ground, working my way sideways at first, worming my way easily through the soft soil. They had chosen a good place for the graveyard. The land was good and not too stony. After a while, I got bored again and went up.
It was night when the last grassy sod fell and I saw the sky again. The stars were blinding to my dark accustomed eyes. I dragged myself out and lay for a while on the dewy grass. I didn’t trust my legs so I crawled to my gravestone and used it to pull myself up. I leaned my dirty arms on it while considering my next move.
I hadn’t lived in the new development for long when my heart gave up the ghost while jogging. Ridiculous way to go, such a cliché. I had got lost while avoiding the dead ends of all the little drives and avenues, named for trees and poets. Was it Beech Avenue or Wordsworth Close where I died? Hardly matters, but I’d prefer the poet.
I walked to the gate in the pretty wall and couldn’t go through it. Something was blocking me. So I went down again, under the soil. Still couldn’t make it past the boundary of the graveyard. Topside again, I stood wondering what to do. I had no intention of being left with no one to talk to. So, in the end, I just waited until someone came along. A woman, late middle age, carrying a shopping bag. Leaning on the wall, I was able to extend a hand enough to brush her sleeve. She seemed to feel it and glanced at me or through me, before hurrying on. I saw the change in her face first though. Her lips and cheeks turned grey. It wasn’t long before another hole was being dug, six feet deep. And that wasn’t the last. You know what they say about idle hands.