Excerpt: The Mourning Bells


The man tried to grope about, except that it was impossible to do much more than scrabble his fingers along the sides of the coffin, what with the lid being mere inches from his body.

Why is it that everyone always talks of how the passing over from life to death takes a mere painless instant, but neglect to tell anyone about the horror of being confined inside a coffin? the man wondered from his unfortunate vantage point.

Why don’t the ministers, during their dignified and dull sermons, warn congregants that the worst part of death isn’t the looming specter of hell but the endless journey from dining room table to graveside?

He knew where the lid was only because he had hit is face on it, trying to rise from his confines. It was darker than a crow’s wing in here, which only heightened his great fright.

He had shouted several times to whoever might be near him, but to no avail. His body rocked back and forth now, and the increased clattering below him signaled that the funeral train had picked up speed and was making haste for the cemetery.

Surely someone would hear him once they arrived at the cemetery and would unhinge this unholy slab of wood that was like a raised drawbridge, separating a knight pursued by arrows from the safety of the castle.

Dear God, what if I expire again before we get there?

Despite the lack of air and his terrifying situation, this irony was not lost on the man, and he even choked out a guttural laugh that sounded strangely like a sob in his ears. He might die a second time and no one would ever know.

How had this happened? What had he done to deserve this wretched situation? Was there even the remotest possibility that he would be discovered here before he was buried, with spadefuls of dirt ensuring that his shouts and gasps would be silenced forever?

He felt a tear leak from the corner of his right eye. Why, he hadn’t cried in more than twenty years, since he was a young boy and his favorite dog had died after being bitten by one of Father’s horses. He would offer a thousand of the brainless pups now as a sacrifice to escape this vault of doom.

Someone help me. Please.

Unedited contracted excerpt, Copyright 2015 Christine Trent.