THE TOPIC OF THIS CONTEST WAS:
The old hag had insisted her locked diary be buried with her in the casket. Her white hair created a halo around her head in the simple pine box. The townsfolk were afraid to miss her funeral, on All Hallow’s Eve of all days! After all she’d done in her living years, who knew what she had in store for them after her passing?
Nobody noticed when one tiny girl reached into the casket, grabbed the tattered, leatherbound tome, and hid it inside her coat.
(Stories need only touch on this topic in some way to qualify.)
“Do you have to breathe so close to me?”
That was the words coming from Morton as he shakily started ascending the needle into the clammy widow’s lips. Taking the first stitch from the upper right corner, then grabbing some fragile skin from the bottom, and then going back up again. He was being extra careful not to pull too hard. Had she not already been embalmed there would be blood leaking everywhere.
“Why are you so nervous this? It’s what she asked you to do, remember? She even gave you ten thousand dollars in advance!” Matt, who was the younger son of the family-ran the funeral home, gave Morton the reminder speech.
Half her mouth was sewn shut when Morton stopped and said to his brother, “What do you suppose is in that diary anyways? What an odd request to have the key permanently placed in her mouth and the diary tucked under her hand for the viewing!”
“I say let’s open the locked journal and then finish the old hag’s promise!” Matt nodded toward the old weathered casing that had secrets waiting to be read!
“Are you crazy? This old broad would haunt us for life!”
It’s just me, you and a corpse that can’t even scream her shit no more!” Matt declared. “Don’t you want to know if she really axed the Johnson girls? Rumors always said that bitch had something to do with it! Dad and I had to piece those little girls back together just so the family could have some recollection of what they used to look like!”
Morton contemplated making another stitch, looking down at the white haired lady, when he saw movement and jumped back, tripping over his template of supplies. “What the hell? Did you see that, Matt? Her damn eye just tried to quiver open!”
“Are you reverting back to a newbie? Dead people can’t move and we drained her blood dry last night! Move over. I’m getting that key out before you seal her to eternity!”
Matt stuck his fingers in the left half of Widow Marie’s mouth. Two of his fingers would have to do as the opening left without stitches was small. He had worked enough on the deceased that he had little emotion. To him they were just an icy doll. One time he even ate lunch in the embalming room and set his chocolate milk down on a man’s chest, using him as a table. When you’re hungry, you’re hungry, he had told his brother who had looked at him in utter disbelief.
It was hard to feel if he had the key or her tongue as both felt cold and neither had moisture. Just a little bit further. He felt the metal now as the top of his index finger just grazed a tooth. “Shit,” he said. “It’s going back toward her throat!”
He was perspiring as he lunged for it. He always wanted to know if Widow Marie really had that affair with Pastor Elliot. That thought pattern caused his fist to shove all the way in. In a split second, he mentally gave permission for his arm to go deeper with the invasion. The sutures ripped out.
“Look what you’ve done now, Matt! The key is in her throat and looks like a damn Adam’s apple protruding out!”
Widow Marie now had a tongue hanging out past her lips and it was quite clear she would continue haunting folks as much with her dead body as she did with her living one! Morton’s phone rang as he looked at the wench in her pine box, having the last laugh solely on him.
It was his daughter on the phone. “Daddy, hurry home. I want you to take me trick or treating and not mommy! It’s almost time to go!”
“Don’t worry, honey. I’m just wrapping things up here!” Feeling like an idiot, he had forgotten it was Halloween.
“We have to get this crazed lady done! Screw the diary! Find me a scarf so we can wrap it around her neck.”
Disappointed, Matt left the room to see what he could find. Morton looked at the disaster and tried to shove Marie’s tongue back in but rigor mortis was not being kind. “This will be unethical but I’m cutting the damn thing off!” Morton whispered to himself.
The scissors had landed on the floor when Morton thought he saw the eye movement earlier. He bent over to retrieve them and, as clear as movement could be, her hand slapped him on his lower back! Morton dived for the door and hit heads with Matt who was opening it simultaneously.
“What is your problem, brother?”
“She just slugged me with her arm is what is going on!”
“Dad is coming soon to move her to the chapel. You need to get your shit together! You know it’s just post-mortem phase that swung her arm, right?”
“I don’t know why. She just freaks me out!” Morton graveled the words out as his brother skillfully finished the job.
Matt and Morton both turned toward the door just as the scarf was tied. It was their Dad popping his head in.
“Get going. It’s Halloween night! Nancy looks great. Good job! Be sure to get Widow Marie out of the fridge in the morning. Her funeral is Monday!”