A collection of horror, mystery, and science fiction tales, with contributions from fellow writers, James Darko and Dexter Lynch. If you wish to contribute, I'd be happy to showcase your writing. Just send me a message. The stories are free to read and always will be. Some are better than others (I'm speaking only for myself), but I can't give all my best ideas away for free, ha ha. Feel free to share any stories, but please be sure to give credit where credit is due.
Friday, October 17, 2014
TIGHT SPACES (Revised Version)
The last earthly sounds Amelia Walsh heard were the shovels
of dirt being deposited on the lid of her coffin. The chilling silence that
ensued after her burial had concluded sent shivers down her spine.
The back of her head was still pulsing; the end result of
being struck with a blunt object. She didn’t see the object that had hit her.
But judging by the weight, it was too light and too small to be the shovel her
captor used to bury her. Whatever the object was, the blow was strong enough to
render her unconscious.
couldn’t recall much. One minute, she was parked in a blue convertible, making
out with her boyfriend. A few seconds later, she was begging for her life as
she was being dragged from the vehicle. She couldn’t remember anything else
that had transpired. The crack to the skull really scrambled Amelia’s circuits.
It would take a little while for her to piece the rest of the night together.
awful thing to wake up and realize you’re being buried alive. And worse is that
you don’t even understand why.
was a modern day saint. She helped organize the Westlake Meals on Wheels program.
She was an afterschool tutor, teaching both math and science. And she donated half
her weekly allowance to charity.
worst thing she ever did was wear her sister’s jeans without permission or stay
out past her curfew with Todd.
cried once after accidently stepping on a ladybug. For three hours.
never harmed a soul. So why was she being punished so cruelly?
didn’t scream for fear of running out of breath. She needed all the oxygen she
could get if she was going to hold out hope. And she didn’t know just how deep
she was buried. It could’ve been six feet, could’ve been two feet for all she
knew. She was lapsing in and out of consciousness through most of it. There was
no way to be certain how long it had been.
The Gravedigger. That
name was etched in the back of Amelia’s mind from the local papers. The media
loved to hype things, loved to stir up fear. But the Gravedigger was no hype,
no media frenzy. He was flesh and blood and he was wreaking havoc in the small
fishing town of Westlake.
name instantly made her shudder and sent more chills scurrying down her back, prickling
Smith, a state correctional officer, was discovered three days after he was
knocked unconscious and buried in an unmarked grave. They estimated it took him
all of four hours to run out of air in the shallow grave he’d been abandoned
a local DJ, was found four days after the gruesome discovery of Smith. Both
showed signs of blunt force trauma. Though, this didn’t play any factor in
their deaths. They had simply suffocated, ran out of oxygen. And Amelia knew if
she couldn’t find a way of escape, she would just end up another statistic.
Another notch in the belt of the Gravedigger.
scratched and clawed at the lid until the tips of her fingers were raw and bloody.
There was no escaping this airtight entrapment. Deep down she knew this fact,
but her naïve mind refused to accept it. She chose to believe that escape was
imminent. If she kicked, pounded, and clawed hard enough, she would inevitably
claw her way to the surface. This is what she told herself, but this was just
the bitter stage of denial. A way to avoid facing the harsh realities that were
waiting to be accepted.
cellular phone was tucked in her pocket, which she promptly removed when she
realized it was still in her possession. The phone had full battery and was her
only source of light inside this narrow death box. She had no service, no reception,
no way to call for help.
that phone reception made much of a difference. Amelia’s parents had turned her
phone off temporarily as punishment for breaking her curfew. Her phone could
receive incoming calls, but she could not make outgoing calls.
torture. She could see what time it was–9:15 PM at that moment–and she could
count down each minute of her demise, but she couldn’t alert anyone of her
dawned on her. You can make emergency calls to 911 even if you don’t have
minutes on your phone or are restricted from making outgoing calls. It even
works without reception.
fingers–sore as they were–moved at lightning speed as she dialed those three
once before a polite southern accent came across the line. The operator was
female, much older than Amelia. “911, what’s your emergency?”
I need help,” Amelia cried. “I’ve been locked inside a coffin and buried
stay calm,” the operator pleaded. “Do you know your location?”
blacked out. He–he hit me on the head. I went down. That’s the only thing I
stay calm,” the operator repeated, her sweet southern voice filling with grave
concern. “We can trace the call. Just stay on the line, please.”
Amelia said, waiting, hoping, silently praying. A few moments later, the
operator returned to the line.
we’re having difficulties tracing your location. I urge you to stay on the line
while we continue to try.”
Try. Amelia hated that word at
this moment, loathed it. What she needed most was reassurance. Forget trying, Amelia thought. How about you actually DO something before I
run out of air!
thirty plus minutes of waiting and wasting precious battery life, she abandoned
hope and pushed the end call button.
phone rang back immediately and she looked at the screen, expecting to see 911
in the caller ID box. Instead, the name on the caller ID said Todd.
Brennan was Amelia’s boyfriend, this she recalled. She couldn’t remember for
how long though. She couldn’t even remember how they first met. That bash to
the noggin did more damage than she had suspected.
pressed the receive button and lifted
the phone to her ear. Todd’s familiar voice flowed out from the speakers.
“Amelia, can you hear me?”
she cried, but this was a cry of joy. With this call, her hope had been reborn.
“Where are you? Are you alright?"
trapped,” he said frankly. “I can’t really see or hear anything. So if I didn’t
know any better, I’d say I’ve been buried alive.”
Gravedigger,” Amelia said with exasperation. Of all the things she could recall,
she had to remember that damn name. "He did this to us."
you okay, babe?”
head hurts,” she moaned into the phone. “I don’t know how long I’ll last in
here.” More than anything else, Amelia just wanted to go home, take a bath, hug
her parents and sister, and put this nightmare behind her.
don’t know how long I have either,” Todd said. “But you have to be strong.
Someone will find us. 911 will find a way to trace your call.”
I never mentioned 911,” she said, bemused.
you did. You said they had problems tracing your call.”
did?” she asked. She couldn’t tell if her memory was shot or if Todd was simply
playing mind games with her. “How are you calling me?”
using my Motorola,” he said.
don’t have reception…”
for some reason, I do. Check your bars. Maybe your phone is working again.”
didn’t bother checking the screen. She had more questions on her mind. “If you
have reception, why don’t you call for help?”
good would that do? I don’t even know where I am.”
talked for an hour, and not one of his stories seemed to jog her memory. But
his words still brought her that reassurance she desperately needed. That was until
the call was suddenly disconnected. And she had no way of calling him back
without service or the ability to make outgoing calls. She could only hope and
pray for him to call her back.
passed before the phone rang again.
she exclaimed. But the caller ID read 911 instead. She answered the call and
that pleasant southern voice chimed in again.
the operator said urgently. “We’ve been trying to reach you. We haven’t been
able to get a fix on your location, but local police have been dispatched and
are searching for you as we speak. We’re doing everything in our power to find
you. Just hang in there.”
ended the call abruptly. The word police
had jostled her brain.
memories of that night flooded back in nasty waves. The headlights of Todd’s
car beaming off a metal police badge. The whooshing sound the baton made as it
cut through the air and nearly bashed her head in. The way her eyes flickered
before everything went dark. She remembered everything.
it all went black, she remembered seeing the officer slice Todd Brennan’s
throat from ear to ear. She remembered this sight vividly, as it was the last
thing she would see before she lost consciousness.
boyfriend was dead, surely buried in an unmarked grave beside her. She deduced
that the voice on the phone was either that of a ghost or it was just a figment
of her imagination. Neither thought brought her much comfort.
who did this was Patrick Downey, a local police officer. And that bastard was
probably going to get away with it. Probably would go on to do it again, and
again. And that thought not only distressed her, but made her want to retch.
day, old Patrick Downey would slip up. Leave evidence behind. Get spotted by a
witness. It was guaranteed. Even the most elusive killers make mistakes.
Otherwise they wouldn’t get caught. And this thought was the only thing that humored
her in this fragile state of defeat.
hours passed inside that unescapable box and Amelia struggled to retain her
breath. Her chest was tight, her lungs weak. She was wheezing as she tried to
take in the air.
buzzed again. This time it was Todd’s name flashing in the caller ID box.
to me your Todd Brennan,” she said as she answered the phone.
She tried to scream the words. But her throat was too sore, too dry, and the
air too thin to produce anything louder than a soft whimper.
that time you stepped on a ladybug,” he chuckled. “You cried for three hours
straight. I couldn’t say or do anything to make you feel better. You were
inconsolable. That was on our first date. I never thought I had a chance with
you after that day.”
clutched the phone to her ear, laughing, smiling as she sucked in her final
the officers dispatched to search for Todd and Amelia drove down to Westlake
Cemetery to take a look. He pulled his patrol car up to the wrought iron bars
and walked through the unlocked gates.
stopped when his flashlight beamed over two squares of fresh dirt that had
smoothed out with the back of a shovel. Officer Patrick Downey nodded, admiring
his handiwork. He glanced at his wristwatch. It had been five hours since he
buried Amelia Walsh.
wait another hour before calling this grim discovery in.
Note To Readers: This is a revised version
of one of the first stories I published to my blog. The reason I decided to
return to The Gravedigger series is because Patrick Downey AKA Charles Gein AKA
Sid Hodder will be returning in a new series featuring homicide detective Wes
Archer. If you search through the posts of my blog, you can find the original
Gravedigger story and all the subsequent sequels.