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I woke, my body laying stomach-down in my constricting but nonetheless comfortable single bed. It was a morning with no distinct merits. The first things I noticed were my face aligned with the bedside table, a thin stream of saliva navigating down my face, and the usual joyous, albeit short-lived mindset I liked to call “morning euphoria”, which was typical when I had received such a generous amount of sleep as I had. It didn’t take long for me to build the mental and physical energy required to throw the blanket that wrapped my torso off and lean upwards, and then place my feet on the cold ground. Getting out of bed never feels like a practice one actively takes part in. However, little did I know that in a mere few hours, the prospect of simply being able to stand up would become the most appealing idea imaginable.
I felt the morning bliss expire, as I stared blankly into the mirror that sat not two meters away from the bedside table. I was pale, with dark folds hovering below my eyes, which was not an appearance that had matched my previous mentality. I gazed continuously; perhaps it was a full minute, before I eventually gave up and marched amply to the bathroom that was only in the neighboring room. As soon as I walked in, I was greeted by yet another mirror, one approximately half a metre taller and two meters wider than the one that sat near my bedside table. I looked at myself very briefly, perhaps for only ten seconds this time, before I jumped into the shower. I let the hot water flow, and undressed from my comfortable boxers and plain white t-shirt, and was, as a result, drenched in a cold chill that hangs over my body aggressively. I then jumped into the shower, and my tormenting feelings of cold were very soon assuaged.
I stood in the shower, with physical pleasure feeling the place that my mental pleasure had previously abandoned as I let the hot relief engulf my body gloriously. It was my usual shower ritual, with me applying cinnamon-scented soap to my body, as well as a cheap coconut-scented shampoo to my hair. I turned off the shower, and was unpleasantly greeted with another horrific chill that had laced my skin. I hastily grabbed the towel that hung from the rack on the wall, and felt another, although far milder relief as I wrapped it around my torso, and continued to dry the water from my body. I walked back to my bedroom, my body still dripping from the remnants of water that still remained. As I walked in, I saw my office suit stacked in a disorganized fashion on a wooden chair that sat in the corner of the room. It was creased and crinkled beyond what was desirable, but I was used to it. After all, when the day was done, I was in such a hurry to get the damned thing off of me, particularly the noose that is commonly referred to as a tie, that I had no interest in fashion normalities.
After I had finished those parts of my morning ritual, that is, waking, then showering, then dressing, it was time for the next three stages; coffee, breakfast, then leaving for another eight hours of boredom. I walked into the kitchen, which was not far from my bedroom, to be instantly greeted by a most aesthetically rewarding sight out of the kitchen window: the magnificently blue spring sky, complete with the presence of golden sunlight and the absence of any clouds whatsoever. A beautiful sight, and one that reimbursed my waking bliss. I walked to the coffee pot. It was already full. I had deduced that Alex had already made a fresh pot of coffee. I put the backside of my right hand on the pot, and to my mild exultation I felt it to be still of relative heat.
I reached into the cupboard underneath the sink and reached out the first mug I could find. It was a yellow mug with “BEST BOYFRIEND IN THE WORLD” on it in bold red letters. Oh, that mug. Behind it, there was an interesting story, but by no means one that is pleasant to reminisce on. See, the mug was a present to Alex from Molly, his ex-girlfriend. She died, and that mug contained years of bitter memories that my mouth was busting to discuss with Alex, to sort out any remaining hostilities, but my mind was simply too afraid to tread into that territory. I picked up the mug, and filled it with a generous amount of black coffee. Funny how me and Alex so casually used it, as one would assume that such a thing would be kept as a sentimental monument, an item that using would be simply too taboo to consider. But Alex didn’t seem to mind, oddly enough. But then again, Alex was never a man of sentimental values.
Just as that thought raced through my head, I turned one hundred and eighty degrees and was almost startled enough to drop the mug when I saw Alex standing by the door, staring at me in an almost menacing fashion, as if he had suddenly adopted a strong contempt for anyone who dares touch the mug. It was an uncomfortable five seconds before I opened my lips to say anything.
“Morning,” I uttered shyly. He returned me with a dark look and a cold reply.
“Morning,” he replied, a wrath in his voice identical to his mannerisms.
“Thanks for making the coffee.” I believe I was subconsciously attempting to muster an at least semi-friendly response out of him, mainly just to break free from this unspoken, yet undeniable hostility that was so present in between us.
“You’re quite welcome, bud.” No such gleeful response that I had searched for was detected. I then noticed that he began to walk away, taking a couple steps walking backwards and then rotating around to walk away ominously. He was acting strange. I had no clue why. I turned to the fridge that sat to my right. I suddenly was dawned with the curiosity of what exactly the date was, and I almost jumped to see something terrible. It was June 15th, 2014. I almost dropped my mug when an epiphany of horrid realisations flooded my mind. It was the fifth anniversary of that fateful night, when I made what was without question the worst mistake in my whole life. That night that started with me, Alex and Molly celebrating my promotion by hitting the town. The thought of that night made me cringe where I stood.
Suddenly, I could feel myself reliving that night in almost completely adequate detail. The terrible sound of screeching tires, the loud collision, the sound of terrified screams, as well as that of the anguished cries of one who was forced to see their loved one dead. Oh, how tormenting these memories were to me. My blood boiled and my skin ran cold with just the sheer thought of it. And today was five years. A full five years of repressed memories, held-back conversations, and unexpressed hostility. How could Alex have ever forgiven me? I know I never would have. But it made certain facts make way too much sense. The otherwise inexplicable amount of spite Alex displayed was now logical. I knew he was angry at me. Some may have gotten forlorn or grieved at the five year anniversary of their best friend costing them the love of their life, but Alex seemed anything but. No sadness, no misery, just pure wrath was the only expression that was visible in his eyes on this dreadful day. What was he doing? Did he still hate me for it? Had we not moved on past all the bitterness and ugliness?
I stopped thinking about it as soon as my attention was paid to the clock. It was getting close to leaving time, and I had realised that my coffee had begun to go cold. I picked up the mug, and with hands still shaking in light of thinking of that terrible night, I began to drink it quickly. In less than five seconds, it was all swallowed, now sinking into my stomach. I would not have time for breakfast, which would be problematical if only my appetite wasn’t utterly non-existent. Suddenly, I began to experience a tingling in my stomach. Perhaps drinking that coffee in one uninterrupted swallow was not something my stomach had agreed on. It started to escalate, however. As I reached into my left pocket to retrieve my car keys, and then to head out of the door, I started to feel my saliva run warm.
I had the terrible feeling that I may vomit. I walked out of the kitchen and to the front door. I opened up and started walking to my car, which was parked only 50 metres away. But then the dizziness kicked in. As I started to walk down the pavement that preceded the front door, I started to feel light-headed. The feeling in my stomach had progressed from mild discomfort and nausea into a full intense cramp that made me feel like my intestines were tied into a knot. I began to grunt from the pain, all the while becoming so dizzy I could barely stand. I had to sit. I had to…
I could then feel myself wake. I felt odd, but very foreign from what I had labelled the morning euphoria. My head was engulfed in what was a suitable candidate for the worst migraine in my life. I could recall people claiming that a bad migraine resembles having one’s skull filled with razors, and I had never before felt the truth of that statement till now. The air was thick and dense, laced with fumes of dirt. It's pitch black, too, with not a single ray of light in existence. I feel myself lying down. What’s happening to me? Am I dead? Where am I? I’m not sure if I am dead, and this is some perverted reality of an afterlife. Am I in Hell? Oh God, I’m in Hell! I’ve been sent her because I killed Molly! Please God, I didn’t mean to! It was an accident!
I felt too weak to move, and it took me several seconds of intense energy before I could rise. I tried, but banged my head on some hard object. It was generously painful, feeling as if it had enough force to put a nasty wound on my forehead. I put my hands up to feel what was above me. It was wood. And that’s when I realized the horrifying truth. Me lying down surrounded by wood, with a headache, and haunted by the fumes of dirt. I had been buried alive!
It wasn’t too long before a great panic ensued my mind. I banged on the coffin lid and started to scream at the absolute top of my lungs, louder than I had ever done before.
“HEEEEEEEELP!” I shrieked, banging on the lid with all the force I could possibly muster. “HELP ME! I’M STILL ALIVE!”
My panic began to intensify. I pushed on the lid. I pushed harder than I had ever done before. I pushed until the muscles in my biceps cramped beyond tolerance. The lid moved not an inch. What was I going to do? My breathing started to escalate. I tried to maintain a healthy and oxygen-efficient level of breathing, but my panic for how utterly dire this situation was had soon took its toll on me. After all, I had now fully comprehended the reality of the situation: I had a mere two hours to escape this claustrophobic tomb until I inevitably suffocated. I had to get out of here. I decided to turn over.
I tried to move, but the coffin was awfully constricting. I tried to turn over, but it was easier said than done. I tried. I tried to wriggle. I tried with all my effort. After about 30 seconds of trying I was finally on my side. Now, half was done. But I could now feel myself stuck, so I pulled. I pulled harder. Come on, come on! Eureka! I was on my stomach. I put my hands facing flat on the base of the coffin, and it was time to push like I had never pushed before. I did a push-up like manoeuvre, attempted to open this blasted lid. I used so much force. I had little room, and I could feel my back started to ache horrendously. I could essentially feel every bone twist and crack with every newton of energy I applied to the lid.
I pushed vigorously, with adrenaline acting as a frantic motivator. But it was no use. I applied so much force that the cramping in my back had reached an intolerable level, and, despite the intense damage that was invariably being done to my back, the door moved yet again not an inch. Not even a millimeter. Good lord, the blasted thing couldn’t even move a micrometer! It was useless. There was thousands of kilograms of dirt being applied by gravity. The strongest man in the world, even if taking highly potent performance-enhancing drugs, would be incapable of lifting such a weight.
And that was when panic started to truly unfold in my mind. I was going to die! Oh God, I was doomed! I was going to die and go to Hell! I started to feel an intolerable stress. I started to grab my brown, still-silky hair, and started to pull. The anxiety sent my heart into a rapid frenzy. I kicked and moved. I started to pull my hair with such great force that it ripped out in hands full. The pain was intense. Oh God, the terrible stinging. It stung like nothing I had ever felt before. I could feel blood gushing from my scalp, and I began to scream. Not to attract the attention of anyone who was fortunate enough to be above ground, as I now realised that was a futile practice, as the dirt would be simply too dense for sound waves to travel through.
I screamed simply because the physical and psychological torments I was experiencing were simply too great to be felt in silence. Before I knew it, my hysteria had sent me back onto my back. How did that happen? I moved my hands around my body in a mindless panic, until I felt a bulk in my right pocket. I reached in, and felt two objects that I quickly identified as a piece of paper and a torch. I reached in and retrieved both out. I clicked the flashlight. And the light that was produced was enough to sting my eyes. Before I read the paper, the first thing I had noticed was that I was dressed in the same clothes I had worn when I had originally passed out. It was clear I was not given an adequate funeral. How did I get here? I proceeded to shine the light onto the piece of paper and began to read.
I bet you're wondering how you got here, no? Well, considering that the law never gave you an adequate sentence, seeming to think that six months is enough for permanently taking my beautiful Molly out of this world, I’ve decided to finally give you the justice you deserve. Did you ever wonder what happened to Cooper a few months ago? Well, he was my appetizer. You’re the main course, my good man. I know you were the one behind the wheel, but like they say, real mates don’t let mates drink drive. Happy five year anniversary!
Sincerely, your best mate, Alex.
Oh my God. This wasn’t happening! It all made sense now, though. The spiteful attitude. The coffin he had been constructing in the basement that he claimed he was selling. How did I trust him? How, how, how?
My panic had not been assuaged. In fact, it was worse. What was I doing? I couldn’t just sit here! Good God, I was suffocating! I had to get out NOW! I started to kick on the lid. I began to scratch at it. My sane mind would have known how much of a truly futile practice this was, but under the circumstances, my adrenaline-set mind would have tried anything. I clawed, harder and harder, and it started to blister my fingers. Before I had time to register it, my fingers started to sting. They started to sting immensely. The pain was intense, but I couldn’t stop. Oh God, the pain! I could start to feel blood stream down my hands and then down my arms.
I then touched the tip of my fingers. The pain was so intense I grunted. My throat was beginning to sore from the constant screaming and panting. I felt the skin from the tips of my fingers had ripped off, and I believe I could even feel my bone exposed. But I kept clawing. I never stopped. I could feel the nerve-ending in my hands tear agonizingly, and as far as I could tell, the lid was far from penetrated. I just kept clawing for what felt like forever, until a horrid realisation had dawned on me. My fingers were gone! I had successfully removed my fingers in my futile clawing. Each of my fingers had about half of them gored off, and the door still remained sturdy, albeit covered in deep scratch marks.
Now what could I do? I had nowhere near enough strength to lift the lid, and my fingers had been grinded off, so what is left to do? In my adrenaline-induced panic, the only possibility was to slam my head against the lid. So I did. With a quick jerk, I slammed my head against the door with an intense force. No good, and the pain in my head was excruciating. Again I tried, with an equal amount of force and an also equal amount of futility. The pain was increased two fold. So I tried again, harder than both previous times. I felt my forehead. Cracked and bloodied, causing unimaginable agony at touch. I then felt the lid. Firm and undamaged, without even a minor fracture.
My head had now introduced me to a whole new world of pain. Oh God, the terrible agony inside my head, which had originally resembled an ice-pick, was now made many fold worse via the frantic smashing against the coffin lid. I laid my head down, and let out a long groan. The lightheadedness began to kick in. I began to feel myself fading out of consciousness. I began to drift out. Slowly… slowly….