The Coffin

Arthur lay staring at the ceiling, listening to the screams emanating from underneath him. Torn between the decision about going down or staying and enduring the shrill noises, he shuffled in his bed. Minutes passed by and he didn’t sense the slightest decrease in the volume of the screaming. Unwillingly, he got out of his bed and reached into the drawer. He knew the sound was coming from the basement, judging by the intensity of the muffling. Still, he remained alert and moved gingerly towards the door. He opened it, started going down the stairs as quietly as he could till he stood in front of the entrance into the basement. He gulped, and turned the knob of the door with quivering hands.

Darkness. Blended with the maddening screams.

He combated the hostile darkness that surrounded him using the flashlight he got from his room and descended the stairs. The wailing grew louder and clearer as he went down further into the basement. The floor was ice-cold. Reluctantly, he headed towards the source of the horrendous sound. It was coming from under the earth.

He slowly picked up a nearby shovel and started digging up the earth. About ten minutes later, he could see the bleak wooden lid. He took out the remaining traces of mud and shifted the coffin lid. The shrieks had become unbearable. He pointed the flashlight at the interior of the coffin.

Lying there, gagged and bound tightly by a heavy rope, was a young woman almost the same age as Arthur. Through the ragged piece of cloth that failed to completely cover her mouth, she was screaming at the top of her voice. Tears were streaming down her cheeks, which was now grotesquely smudged by dried blood. With watery and nearly carmine eyes, she glared at him with nothing but contempt.

Arthur reached down into his pocket and produced his revolver. The woman received the sight of the gun with pure indifference, not even a flinch. He slowly lifted his hand and aimed the revolver directly at the skull of the screaming woman. After struggling for a few seconds to relieve his hands from the shaking, he fired the bullet. It hit her head and turned the coffin into a bloody mess. The screeching ceased.

He covered the hole again with the mud after putting the lid back in place. After making sure everything was okay, he walked back up the stairs. Before he closed the basement door, he shot a glance back at the spot where he stood just moments ago.

He opened the chamber of the revolver. Three more bullets left.

This was the second time he shot his wife on the head in one week in spite of burying her alive. He had started suspecting whether ‘that’ was indeed a human being. Arthur wondered whether he had more sleepless nights to come.

 

 

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