A View From Below

The following was an my entry in the 2015 Iron Writer Challenge. Elements included: A heavy metal song, A priest, and picture of someone looking up out of a grave.

“Now I lay me down to sleep…”

The preacher launched into a new prayer.  James thought the service should have been over by now.  Several of his friends had said their piece. Then the preacher had given a short homily, followed by a terse prayer.  

How odd that he’d followed it up with another.

“If I die before I wake…”

James could hear the dirt fall more than feel it.  Two unseen faces had begun shoveling it over the sides after the first prayer.  He wondered why they didn’t wait until the end of the service.

Not that there was anything to be done about it.

It must have been a stroke, James thought.  Four nights ago now, five maybe?  

He’d been talking on his ham radio to some guy in Utah.  His call sign had been W7JFQ. They’d just made contact when the 2×4 smacked him.  At least that’s what it had felt like. Then his vision went supernova. The colors had been mesmerizing, at least for the fleeting instant before absolute black set in.

He’d woken up on a table.  The steel would have felt cold had he been above room temperature.  Somehow he’d known he was dead. There’d been no fear, no confusion, just the cold realization that he was dead.  That and the quizzical sensation of having his blood drained and replaced with embalming fluid.

Then the mortician had closed his eyelids and the world once again turned black.  He’d heard everything though; the small talk amongst the morticians, the funeral directors as they’d dressed him, even the goodbyes from family and friends at his visitation.

There’d been no fear, no confusion; just the cold realization that he was dead.  That and the fact that he was awake through it all.

Now, here he was, six feet down, watching helplessly as earth poured down from above and the preacher continued his prayer.

“Exit light…”

Wait a minute!  That wasn’t a prayer, he thought.  

James strained to hear as much as his deceased mind would allow.  

“Enter night…”


That wasn’t a preacher either, he realized.  It was his nephew Mark.

The no good slacker is reciting Metallica lyrics at my funeral!

James swore he could feel his embalming fluid boil.  Everything about Mark drove him crazy. The little jerk couldn’t hold a job, always seemed to be high, and apparently didn’t believe in belts.  

What was it Uncle John called him, James wondered.  Saggatian?  Yeah that sounded right.

“Take my hand…”

If only he could find a way to crawl out of here!  He’d kick that little turd right in the nuts!

“Aww crap, the lid popped open!”

James saw a haggard face peer over the grave’s edge.  Then another, weather beaten figure leaned over holding a shovel.  The man dropped to a knee, pressing the shovel against the lid that James suddenly noticed to his right.

Hinges squealed as the lid swung shut.  Darkness enveloped him yet again.

Well this ought to be interesting James thought as Mark’s muffled voice mixed with dirt splashing on the casket.

“Off to Never Never Land.”

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