She pursed her lips as if something smelled. And it did. Or perhaps she was imagining it, having spent so much time watching horror movies. She sighed as she put the shovel down, glad to be done with the sweaty part of it. She hated coming out at night but there was no other way. Plus the dark kept most clients quiet and docile.
He’d been interred for 14 years but was still relatively intact; even though she’d done this well over a thousand times she still marveled at the wonders of embalming in modern society. “All right, read what’s on the paper while I hold him up.” She wrestled her ancient joints into the box and lifted him just enough to slide in and pull him semi-upright by the shoulders. Her client began the incantation and soon enough it appeared that the change had happened. His sewn eyes came partially open and the sewn lips attempted to move; there was panic, even on a cemented face. “Now, now. Don’t worry; you’ll only be in there for about six hours.” Now the body felt like it was fighting beneath her. “Quit it! If you struggle enough to break him, you won’t be able to re-cross. I’ll be back for you, I promise. Plus I’m gonna have to bring you, er, him, er…your body back anyway because they usually pass out pretty quick when they figure out what’s happened.” With that, she gently placed his body back in the casket, closed the lid with more supplications and kindnesses, and put the fake cover and sod over the open hole. From her purse she pulled an ancient wand and after a few mumbled words, the pile of dirt disappeared. She returned the wand to its place in the purse and pulled out the cemetery pamphlet to re-check the mowing schedule; it would spell disaster for her practice if the lawn keepers came through and either fell into the opened hole or ran into the now-invisible pile of dirt she’d removed from the grave.
“Ummm…” The noise startled her; evidently he was waking up in her client’s body.
“It’s okay–just come with me,” she cooed, grabbing a hand and pulling the girl to her lair which was disguised as a family crypt. She opened the door and got the girl inside. “Now sit in this chair.” The girl, with her new “passenger,” complied. “Do you know where you are?” The girl shook her head. “Okay, let me explain.” She went on to describe how her client had been in counseling for a while since the death of her first husband and that the counselor had suggested an exercise where she put herself in her former husband’s shoes and imagined what it would be like for him to be in her shoes. The girl’s eyes widened as the spirit currently inside her began to understand. “Now, close your eyes. I need you to see something.” She proceeded to cast a spell that allowed the spirit to see what the girl had seen all those years ago as if it was happening now, to him. The girl’s body twitched and writhed. They had been together for nine years and she rewound all of it for him. Just as she had said, the girl/the spirit passed out. She kept a wheelbarrow next to the chair for just such occasions. Grumbling, “I’m getting to old for this,” she took her/him/them back to the gravesite and began the incantation to return each spirit to its rightful place. She was thankful that over the last 100 years she’d been wise enough to change the contract to include a clause indicating that the client was responsible for re-shoveling the dirt. She hated that part of the job.
Hello, kiddies! Yeah, I know. I’ve been absent from class. Sort of. I’ve been working on my novella for this month’s Camp NaNoWriMo. I saw this prompt and that, combined with a house mix that featured Vincent Price, caused me to put today’s Camp NaNo segment on pause so as to reply to the Daily Prompt with the ripe little tale you find above:
If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be, and why? If that seems too easy, try this one: who would you like to have spend a day as you and what do you hope they’d learn from the experience?
While I have no illusions about loaning my person to my former (as in, deceased) first husband, I still hope that wherever he is in the hereafter he has been exposed to at least a fraction of what he took me through in our nine years together. Not for torment or pain, but just to understand what it felt like. For a long time I carried fear and anger, but now it’s just a general achy regret about losing my spirited innocence and all… So glad that I was blessed beyond measure to get another chance at this whole trip called life…