Mementomori | By: Leslie Dawn Bagale | | Category: Short Story - Dark Bookmark and Share


type story here
There remains since creation's birth a certain fascination with the odd and grotesque.
The angel of oddity himself, Mr.Poe, best expressed this in his ominous poem
"The Conqueror Worm", "...and much of madness and more of sin and horror the soul of
the plot..." This suggests that at the heart of each man spawns an unholy seed; and that
the only true comforts found in life are, in fact, drawn from this innate awfulness.
By this, I mean that we each harbor the secret desire and need to see, as well as hear,
of the worst imaginable scenarios. But why? It is simple: when stripped of all
of our humanly facades--speaking of the false emotions we must each exhibit and endure quite
so often for purposes of appearance--we are debased to one primal emotion: fear.
And fear is the consequence of terror and horror, both associates of the odd and
So, perhaps on some primal subconscious level, we long to be frightened and to
have our sanity tested to the utmost limits. This is why Halloween is such an immensly
popular holiday--it is the only time of year we get to nationally celebrate our love
for the darker side of human nature.

This is where my tale begins, on All Hallows Eve, as I contemplated this very
subject on human nature. I had been sitting by the fireplace in the study sipping
brandy for nearly thirty minutes when there came upon my door a rap. Arising from my chair,
never ceasing to withdraw the liquor from my lips, I am embarrassed to say, I half-
walked, half-stumbled to the door where upon my arrival I encountered--no one. I
recoiled with the effects of both brandy and spooks, and, without so much as a cursory
survey of the gounds, closed the door.
As I settled back into my Victorian-style chair, I came again upon the realization of
today's date and chuckled to myself; my "spooks" were probably neighborhood children
in the throes of mischief that so marked this time of year. Feeling somewhat better, I
proceeded to replenish my glass with brandy. It is true enough that Martha had hated this
minor flaw in my personality, but indeed Martha was gone and I no longer felt the desire
to feed the chivilorous illusion. She had seen fit to continue upon her live's voyage solo
and now I had to do the same. But before the "new dawn" toast could form properly
upon my lips, a crash from the adjoining kitchen hushed it. The noise startled me so badly
as to cause the spilling of the entire contents of my drink onto the floor--and
subsequently the breaking of my favorite drinking glass.
Clutching a jagged fragment of the glass for the purpose of protection against
burglars, I hurriedly went to the source of the commotion only to find--nothing.
Before I could further ascertain the whole of this mystery, my mind began to reel, and I fell
upon the floor into a deep "slumber". I cannot say for how long I slept that bleary sleep, but
when I awoke my pillow no longer consisted of the tile I had originally fallen onto,
but instead a foreign surface, altogether alien to anything within my home.
My first conscious thought was not one of immediate alarm at this change in
events, but rather one of amazement, for upon closer observation, I came to the
realization of my surroundings: most certainly--from the clue of the near complete
darkness (except for the one thin ray of sunlight which crossed my left arm); also from the
musty smell of wood; not to mention, the fact that I could scarcely move my arms or
legs from this position on my back--that my new dwelling was that of a box,and judging
from the stray beam of light and the two sets of ancient hinges which I felt (both to my
left), a lid of sorts directly above me. But how did I get here ad who did this to me?
I could only guess.
Now that my mind had totally cleared from its previous state of intoxication, I
could think enough to formulate my escape. My first attempt, however, proved to make
any further planning unnecessary, for even the whole of my summoned strenght could not
budge the lid which held fast. Only then did it cross my mind as to what kind of box
confined me: a coffin! Those devilish pranksters of Halloween had taken advantage of
my unconsciousness and placed me within a bed of the dead! Luckily, as I could see
through the crevices of this poorly made coffin, I was not interred alive; the
sweet daylight assured me of this.
Indeed a horribly tasteless joke, but still I was not gripped in uncontrollable fear,
for if I was in a coffin then someone would have to soon come to lower me into the cold
ground below-if my predicament was as I thought it to be; and since I was in no danger
of suffocation, I would wait until such time when I could advise someone of my plight.
In the meantime, all I could do was wait.

...thy soul shall find itself alone--
alone of all earth-unknown the cause"
"spirits of the dead"
E.A. Poe

I could thank heaven at least for my attire which consisted of my best woolen suit;
without it, the cool late October breeze would surely have frozen my nimble bones.
But, alas, my small convenience soon turned sour when I noticed the wind pattern picking up
to violent degrees--a sure sign that an early winter storm was brewing, and
unfortunately for me, before my pardon was to be obliged. Within a few hours
(as best as I could judge) the winds were blowing with such force that the coffin
capsized, causing me to fall sharply onto my right side. I cried out, but even if a
thousand persons had been surrounding me at the moment, they could not have heard over
the winds, which were quickly turning my new home into a refrigerator.
At this point, I proceeded to wrap my arms around myself in the hopes of
generating some much needed heat; but considering the position in which I now lay, the
attempt was indeed feeble. But wait! BY God's good grace could it be true? My hand had
happened upon a flask I kept well hidden inside my jacket. I quickly set about the task of
abstracting this from my pocket and within a span of what I perceived to about 30 minutes,
for it took this long to obtain the flask and to get into a position suitable for
drinking from it, I held the liquor to my parched lips. My body responded at once to the
liquid fire, and I immediately began to draw warmth from its effects.
After I had drained the entire contents of my drink, I must have fallen into yet
another deep "sleep" because when I awoke no light hitherto admissioned from the crack
which was, strangely enough, on my left again. At this discovery I began to feel the first
real pangs of terror rising from the core of my being. I pounded my fists on the wood to
no avail--I was alone. And then with a final burst of anguish I noticed the true nature of
my situation: not only was I still entombed, but now the scent of fresh earth--more
pointedly, that of dirt--assured me of my fate: during my latest "slumber" I had been
buried alive! As if to disprove this deplorable idea, I took my finger and pushed it
through the crack and felt...a gritty, packed substance. Surely enough, my worst fear
was then confirmed. But how could my sleep have been so restful that I did not feel the
lowering of my tomb--or hear the shoveling dirt tapping its funeral march above my upturned
face--or hear the humming of the man who attended to his graveyard duty unknowing
of my breathing existence? Why had this been allowed to happen?
But of course, I knew that answer as well. I had lived my entire miserable life with only my
own lusts to walk in communion with. Selfishly, I had atended to myself as others
including my sweet love Martha were turned aside by the desire of my fleshly appetite.
Oh, how wrong I had been to live as if it were only me who mattered! And now I would
assuredly die as I had lived: alone.
The fevered panic finally stole over me and there arranged within my frame a scream which
seperated my ineberated mind from my much abused body. In the final moment before the air
ceased to feed my lungs, I bargained with God that if He let me free form this nightmare, I would
never again partake in wine's nectar. But, of course, there would be no reprieve. In the
last moment before my expiration, with tongue protruding and doomed eyes bulging, I fixed
my gaze heavenward--toward the place I would most certainly not be returning--and when I felt
the first unseen hand slapping and pincing, attempting to awaken me, I was still
unconvienced as to whether it was delerium or the fever known as living.

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