All characters portrayed in this story are fictional and any relationship to people living or dead is purely coincidental.
You could take a bus from St Charles to Abere in the mornings, the weather would be chilly and the air would hang, cold and biting. The busses "korupes" would ground tiredly over potholes, kicking up red dust with each spin of the axle as they rolled disconsolately towards you, the drivers hunched over the steering wheel and looking like the ghost of a thousand life experiences cranked to "really freaking hard". You could take a bus from St Charles to Abere in the mornings, but you shouldn't!!
St Charles slept early and woke up late. By eight pm, the shop owners would lock thier stalls and a dead quiet would sit atop the dust. The filling station that proudly proclaimed 24/7 would be deserted and the bikes would speed past. Only at the family house would the corp members talk, scream, play and pray, safe in their little corner of heaven, blessed and protected by the priests. Everyone knew to stay away at night, except me that is.
There's no excuse but I was at a party and walked the last few miles home, swaying unsteadily, the sulphur lights pulsed orange over me, I checked my watch and it was eight pm. My watch blacked out at 8:01 even though I just put in new batteries, I stared at it confused but continued on my way. There was a poster ahead, it was an obituary, I saw it once or twice before, an old lady. I didn't want to go past it. A cold feeling came over me, my heart sped away in my chest but my legs carried me on and on. The poster grew bigger and my fear grew with it, unexplainable and complete fear, soon the poster loomed ahead of me and it was my face on the poster.
My eyes popped in my head and my breath ran away from me, I couldn't scream, fear suffused me. I could only stand and stare at the picture of me, my obituary picture. I screamed at it and tore it away, scratching at the post till my nails where bloody. Another poster was beneath it. Posters were appearing all over the pole, my obituary.
Regret to announce the death of our loved one
Tragic passing on to glory
Gone too soon
The setting of a life
The posters were on the ground now, they were everywhere, I was dead a million times over. I couldn't breathe.
"It's all a lie. It's a lie. It's not real" I whispered to myself and closed my eyes. Slowly I opened them and the posters were gone. I took a shaky breath and laughed at myself. My voice was false even to me. I was walking before I even realized it. Green light suddenly shone by my side and I jerked my hand up, only to see my watch working again.
8:15, did I really walk that long?
The day got darker steadily, at first I thought nothing of it then I remembered that the sulphurs were the only light and the daylight was long since gone. I looked behind me, the sulphurs were going off behind me. I stared at them in horror, my heart beating hard in my chest. Something growled in the darkness and shook me to life. I turned and ran for all I was worth but the sulphurs were going off ahead of me too. I screamed again and stopped. The lights continued to go off until only the one above me stayed on. The growling continued in the darkness, another light came on in the distance and there was an open grave beneath it. Someone was digging it up from the shadows, bleached bones held the shovel. I couldn't scream, I was well beyond that. The growl came behind me again, forcing me forward, I walked towards the grave and the skeletal digger, cursing myself for being drunk, telling myself it wasn't real but the grave didn't dissapear and the growling continued behind me. The sulphurs went on and off in time as I walked, the grave had a cross on one side, you guessed it, my name was on it. The skeletal digger stopped digging and turned to me, pointing a skeletal finger.
"It's not real. It can't be real. There's no grave in the middle of the the street" I croaked to myself but it didn't go, the digger bid me come and the growling continued. I was going to die, I would be lost beneath the street, missing forever. It was so unfair, I didn't deserve this.
I stood before the digger, under the last sulphur alive and beside the yawning maw of my freshly dug grave. Something roared in the distance, a bike engine, I turned back as the bike sped past.
"Heyyyyyyyy" - "Stop please, help me" I screamed at them but then the passenger turned and empty eyeholes stared at me and skeletal teeth grinned a death grin. My voice died, all the sulphurs were back on. There was no creature in the dark, there was no grave, there was no skeletal digger, only the cold dead wind and the dust covering me. I took a shaky breath. I couldn't take it anymore. There was a shop beside the road, long closed. I sat before it and took out my phone.
It couldn't be possible, time was speeding away faster than reality.The screen just stayed there, bearing those impossible numbers, uncaring. It blinked suddenly, then again and again and went dark.
"what the..." - "Please not again. I'm never going to drink anymore I swear. Not again please. I just want to get home"
I couldn't move my head, something held me facing the screen, I felt the cold touch, the temperature dropped again, if that was possible.
The screen came on;
You are no more.
I drew in a breath to scream and a hand covered my mouth but there was no one there. Tears fell from my eyes and evaporated immediately. I was sure my heart will burst in my chest but those hands held me and moved through my hair and touched my face, lingered on my neck.
"please" I mumbled behind the hand covering my mouth "Please"
You are mine now.
The phone screen read
A partner to death.
"I'm not dead" I screamed through the hand, "I'm not...."
The sulphurs went off with a click and the one before me came on, the grave digger was back and the grave was ready.
Yes you are.
The screen chimed.