The Spirit Is Willing . . .

For much of my life, I have had an irrational fear that I would be mistaken for dead and accidentally buried alive. It’s a silly fear, I suppose. Still, stories about safety coffins – ones fitted with a bell or some other mechanism to alert those above ground that the deceased wasn’t actually dead – kept that fear alive. I needn’t have worried, however.

What happened, instead, was that my spirit was tied to my corpse (I assume this is the same for everyone), and so, while I was actually dead, I was still aware of being buried. Further, it seems that, until decomposition was complete, I was stuck, in my coffin, underground. Being buried wasn’t scary, but being stuck in one place is incredibly boring. Apparently, cremation is a better option, since it destroys the body and frees the spirit right away.

It doesn’t really help to know that after death. I had, in fact, asked to be cremated, but my old-fashioned family ignored my wishes in favor of a more traditional resting place. So I was resigned to waiting for my body to decompose. There was no way to judge the passing of time, and I wasn’t even sure how far along decomposition had to be before I would be freed. Did I just need my soft tissue to completely degrade, or did my bones need to turn to dust? Thankfully, I no longer breathed, so at least I didn’t have to smell the process. Unfortunately, I also didn’t sleep, so I couldn’t even pass the years unconscious.

As I said, I had no way of knowing how long I had been in the ground when the rumbling began. At first, I thought maybe I had finally been freed from my body, but what was really happening was someone had dug up my coffin and moved it. My boredom had become so overwhelming that I decided to try to tear myself away from my corpse and get away. What I didn’t expect was that, in trying to move, I wound up moving my physical remains as well. We burst out of the coffin together.

I tried to run and put some distance between us, but my body was too tightly attached: everywhere I went, it followed. There were a few people nearby. I attempted to talk to them, to explain I just wanted someone to destroy my corpse, but without breath, I found it impossible to speak. Even if I could have managed, I doubt they would have heard me over their screams.

Someone, I didn’t see who, pulled out a gun and began shooting me. They didn’t seem to be a bad shot, but my body wasn’t in charge so the damage didn’t matter. Even the headshots had no effect, despite what you might have seen in the movies. My body continued to lurch along after my spirit. Since I didn’t know how much damage it would take to free my spirit, I decided not to stick around to see if the gun would finally have an effect.

So I began to look for a large fire to cremate myself in. Hindering that effort was not knowing where I was, or where there might be a fire hot enough to do the job. I just began shambling around aimlessly. It didn’t take long for the police to show up. Their guns didn’t prove any more effective than the first one, so I ignored them. I was just glad I couldn’t feel pain.

Eventually, someone brought out a flamethrower. Finally, something useful. I walked straight towards the person, giving them plenty of opportunity to burn my body to ash. What I didn’t take into account is how long it takes to break down bone. By the time the flamethrower was exhausted, there was just a skeleton left, but I was still attached to it.

All the screaming and violence had actually worn me out. I discovered that I missed the peace and quiet of my grave. I still had a skeleton that was maintaining its shape somehow, and I wasn’t sure how to destroy it, so I escaped all the chaos by disappearing into the woods. Luckily, with most of my flesh gone, I found the remains of my body easier to drag along. I have no idea how long it will take for the bones of my old body to return to dust, but I have decided to stay away from people until then. The screams really were too much. But at least I’m not stuck in that box anymore.

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