Free Flash Fiction:
The Grave Mistake
By: Jae El Foster
October 28, 2018
It was an hour or two before midnight on Halloween, and Tilda had been widowed for six months. The first three months following her husband’s death had been spent in misery. The latter three had been spent in preparation.
The air was chilly and fog swept throughout Deerborne. Even with her high beams on, Tilda could barely see the cemetery’s gated entrance. She put the car in park and stepped from it long enough to open the gate. She was scared – not only over what she was about to do, but because of where she was and that she was there on Halloween night.
“This better work,” she whispered as she drove through the entrance.
There was a small, hauntingly empty parking area to her right. She drove into it, parked, and cut the ignition. From the backseat, she grabbed a duffel bag and a flashlight. From the trunk, she took a shovel.
At this moment, the cemetery was the quietest, most frightening place Tilda could imagine. The only sounds came from beneath her feet and from her breathing as she walked along the dirt path.
Despite the fog, she found her husband’s grave in only a few minutes. She’d visited it many times over the last several months; she could have found his resting place in her sleep.
Standing atop Kenneth’s plot, she pushed over the headstone – which had been in her instructions – and began to dig. Within moments, dirt speckled her. Within minutes, her body ached, and within an hour’s time, her shovel touched upon the casket.
Four feet below the surface with the fog cascading the night above her, Tilda sat atop Kenneth’s coffin to catch her breath.
“This is insane,” she told herself as she glanced up to the sky. The thick fog prevented her from seeing a single star. “But it’s the only way. And if it doesn’t work, well… I can at least say I tried.” Her muscles ached… throbbed – burned – from the exhausting shoveling of the hard ground. “If it doesn’t work, I swear I’ll kill the gypsy woman that sold me this spell.”
She stood and reached up, grabbing the duffel bag from the ground above her. She brought it down to her and opened it. Then, using the head of her shovel, she opened the casket lid.
The scent of formaldehyde and decay shot out at her with grotesque force. She turned her face from it and held back the urge to vomit. Once her stomach settled, she looked down at Kenneth.
Tilda felt hot tears run down her cheeks. Although the oxygen was starting to play havoc with his skin, she thought Kenneth was still the most handsome man she’d ever seen. He was wearing his black tuxedo – his only suit and the one he took her to prom in and married her in.
She composed herself. She had work to do. From the duffel bag, she removed three white candles, a jar of black sand, a sheet of parchment paper with the ‘magic words’ written on it, and a knife. She then unbuttoned Kenneth’s jacket and shirt and spread them wide, exposing his chest and stomach. She winced at the stitches from his autopsy but she continued nonetheless.
Kenneth’s jaw was locked – perhaps even broken – and it took some effort but she managed to force his mouth open. Then, using the black sand, she drew a pentagram on his chest. As she lit the candles, her hands began to tremble. She was nervous. She was frightened. She was excited… She was so many things, but of all of them, she was anxious to be reunited with her husband – to kiss his delicious lips one more time.
When the candles were lit, she turned off the flashlight and crouched down low. She held the parchment paper before her and looked at the Latin words. She swallowed and felt clammy. She didn’t know what a single word on the paper meant, but that did not matter. All that mattered was Kenneth and her urge to feel his arms around her once more.
“You’re almost done,” she told herself. “Two more steps and Kenneth will be back. My love… my only love will be back.” Tilda swallowed again, cleared her throat, and read aloud from the paper.
From the sky, sudden and fierce thunder crackled.
She set the paper down and took the knife in her right hand. Then, closing her eyes and bracing herself, she sliced into the center of her left palm. She winced from the pain, but she did not scream. She opened her eyes and held her hand over Kenneth’s face. Then, she squeezed her blood into his mouth and when she stopped, a bolt of lightning struck Kenneth’s body.
Tilda finally screamed. Kenneth’s eyes could not open – they were sealed shut – but he rose up from the coffin and forced himself upon her, taking her into his arms and toppling her. Panic surged through Tilda as she tried to force him away, but he was stronger than she remembered and he would not relent. Tightly, he held her; his fingers dug into her flesh as he squeezed her and grabbed her. Then, as another scream escaped her, Kenneth kissed her and her scream fell silent. In an indescribable explosion of fiery light, Tilda and her zombie husband concluded an ancient ritual – one that opened a portal to Hell and delivered them to Satan’s front door.
Through Tilda’s grief, a powerful gypsy had managed to convince her that it was possible to bring Kenneth back from the dead and to return him to his prior pre-death state. This was deceit on behalf of the gypsy, who herself had a centuries old pact with the devil. The gypsy retained her power and her youth, as long as she delivered a fresh soul to the Prince of Darkness every Halloween night.
Copyright Jae El Foster, 2018