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Richard Greer flipped the key over with a small click, killing the vibrating, grumbling engine abruptly. Clods of moist dirt plopped wetly to the ground from the huge clawed scoop on the end of the mechanical arm of the machine, resting after digging a fresh grave. The rest of the cemetery was silent and growing darker as the exhausted sun began to melt into the bumpy horizon, the leaning stones of all sizes casting creeping shadows all around him. A chill slid its bony fingers up his spine as his tired old eyes glanced around the gathering of plots, the same old thoughts of moaning bodies clawing out of rotting caskets and writhing out of the ground, their pale faces stiff and squirming with nightcrawlers, their dull eyes pale and open to the world yet seeing nothing as they swaggered to their decaying stances and lumbered after him. He shoved the keys into his pants pocket and jogged for the truck, and then he sped away, throwing gravel back into the boneyard as the Chevy streaked down the winding backroads.
The next day, he sat on plastic lawn furniture watching a group of men struggling to erect a memorial tent against the whining wind. He chuckled to himself as one of them toppled backwards, taking a vital bar with him and the whole contraption crumpled down to the ground. The middle of the fabric sank down into the open grave, where the fresh stone vault lay open like a shark's mouth as a fat piece of bleeding meat was being lowered into it. He had closed his eyes when he felt an icy poke on his neck. He opened his eyes and was face to face with a little boy, dressed in a flannel shirt and faded blue jeans.
"Well Hi, little guy. What brings you here?" Richard said, ruffling his hair. The kid smiled on his pale lips.
"I just got here a couple days ago. People around here are pretty grumpy. I don't have many friends yet." He looked down at his shoes. They were untied, the strings hanging limply from them. The kid sat down on the ground and hugged his knees, looking up at Rochard. Richard smiled down at him, fished a candy bar from his lunch pail, and offered it to the small boy.
"No thanks," he said calmly, and looked over towards the struggling group of men. The tent was built but leaning dangerously in the wind.
"So where are you from?" Richard asked politely, trying to stress friendliness. The kid shrugged.
"Not far from here. I've only been in here for a couple days." Richard nodded, and smiled. The boy was downright adorable, with scraggly blonde hair that hung down onto his pasty forehead and big shining eyes.
"How was your trip here?" The kid's eyes widened and he covered his eyes.
"It was scary. I mean, I knew where I was going, but I felt lost. I saw a lot of stuff I never saw before." Richard glanced down at his watch and then stood up, boosting himself using the arms of the chair.
"Well, you better get going son. There's a funeral procession on its way and we have to get the stone built up. What's your name?" The kid smiled.
"Nick. Nick Keller." Richard patted him on the back. It was warm and wet. Squishy to the touch. Richard's breath caught in his throat.
"It was nice meeting you," he managed, and then backed away. The kid smiled and said, "I'm glad I found a friend. I'll be seeing you around." Richard watched him turn- and cried out in fear.
The kid's back was bloodsoaked. Between his shoulderblades was a ragged, oozing hole, like a gunshot wound, with streamers of the shirt dangling from it. It shimmered wetly in the sunlight. Richard gagged and closed his eyes. He mumbled to himself and prayed. When they opened, the kid was gone. A hard hand slapped him on the back of the head and he was torn from his shocked stare.
"Richy, get your ass over here. They gotta know what veggie they're plantin in the garden today," said one of the men in a crooked Milwaukee Beer hat. Richard nodded, and followed him to where the stone's base and upper body lay on the ground. As his gloved hands slid beneath the heavy marble, a white car pulled into the cemetery drive, crunching gravel and casting a blue shadow onto Richard and his colleague. A man in black clothing stepped out and approached them. Richard nodded to him solemnly and grunted with the weight of the stone. It clunked heavily onto the base. It read NICHOLAS ALLEN KELLER.
"He was my son," the man said, bringing Richard out of his trance. Richard felt his stomach turn over. His mouth hung open. He felt like he could wet himself. The old familiar icy feelings slinked back up his spine like frozen snakes.
"What happened?" asked Richard. The thought of the kid's back forced its way back into his head. He saw the pink, tattered flesh dangling again, he saw buckshot fall from the wound as the kid walked away. His trip had been to the cemetery.
The man grimaced at the unexpected question, wiping a tear from his nose, another from the corner of his eye. He snuffed.
"He was in the woods. Someone was hunting. He got shot in the back."


------
Bobby Yates **Slipknot Guy**
Please vote and review below...an aspiring writer needs a great deal of feedback from his readers



Comments

The following comments are for "The Gravedigger's Friend"
by Slipknot Guy

Ghostly
Slipknot Guy,

Very interesting story, I liked it lots. Well written and a bit eerie. One of my favorite types of tails, can't wait to see more of your work.

Later,
Dras

( Posted by: Drastine [Member] On: March 16, 2003 )





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