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The Gravedigger’s Burial

The Gravedigger’s Burial

I am coming for you, riding on this black stallion, in this moonlit night, and I am wandering at the hill, just a few gallops shy from your resort. Do you remember that cursed night, when I beheld you on the furthest of the churchyards, on the bleakest of nights when the wolves howled and the screaming ghosts hastened out of their abandoned graves? I have been craving for you since then.  This craving – the craving to kill you – is consuming my soul just like a black hole consumes the fiery stars in the remotest corners of the cosmos. How iniquitous is it to kill an old stooping man, too weak to even stand for a while? But see, I am wistfully restive, for obliterating your existence is my fervid desire.

See, now I’m exactly there, nothing could stop me from reaching the cemetery, not even the howling wolves, neither the screaming bats and nor the black silence of this nightly breeze. Ha! Ha! Ha! And how could you expect your gods to change the course of your destined path, or your spells to deviate my will? I am too determined and desperate to kill you. I’ve been dreaming wistfully for so long to impale your emaciated throat with a rust-ragged spear and spill every cold drop of blood from your disease-ridden body. No, no, it is not that you vex me but it is the nefarious task you carry out.  You’ve dug for many here. Tonight, pardon my indulgence, I’ll bury you!

You, yes, you. I am talking to you, you filthy old gravedigger. I, your killer, will get off the horse, stand aloft at the iron gate of the graveyard, and peer through the rusted and spiked gratings. You see, nothing has changed since I last visited here; everything is alike – the distorted graves, the hunched and illegible tombstones, the stinking undergrowth and stench of the rotten corpses, the rattling spiders and scorpions,  the profusely growing toadstools,  an old oak tree in the middle, and your forlorn shed where you live with your cursed grave-digging-tools. Behold the death approaching you! Hearken to the footsteps of your impending doom. You might be coughing inside your shed, unaware of me, no? How sly I am, how shrewd my intuitions are and how unerring is my prophecy! No, you’re not coughing. The deafening silence emanates from it. Why? Where are you? Are you asleep?  Or you’re perhaps dreaming about tomorrow’s entombments and funerals or your immortality or perhaps the hopeful serenity of your life ahead. But trust me, I’ll shatter every dream you cherish when I’ll kick the door of your dilapidated shelter, and awake you and drag you to the middle of the cemetery and tie you to the oak tree and pierce my spear through your gaunt neck.

Ha! Ha! There, the door creaks open. I pay my respects as I avoid the kick. The god-forsaken creak raises the spirits of my soul. Oh heavens! The ugly stink of your shed is… Where are you? Vanished? You filthy old chap, I had come for you from a long distance, to soothe your soul, to lay your body down in peace. You are not here, ha?  Playing the game of mulishness with death? Fuck your tools, your tattered bed, your bucket. Fuck the swarm of cockroaches rattling across this damp floor. Fuck your absence, where are you?

Has my prophecy erred me? You are not here. And what is this sound that is overwhelming me? Have the ghosts risen from their graves and chanting the lament in their shrill voices? Yes, indeed they are. Whose grave are they encircling? I shall enquire about it for myself. Let the ghosts go and let my breathing slow down. I am waiting for the ghosts to abandon the grave – waiting impatiently, as a lion in ambush waits for a poor stag.  I won’t move a muscle lest the apparitions notice me and banish me to hellfire. Glory be to my shrewdness, how cunning I am, am I not?

Slyly, with furtive acuity, I am peering through the hole. The ghosts descend back to their graves; they are gone. I must dart and disinter the grave that they were surrounding. Where is the fucking shovel? Here it is. You see the extent of my impatience; I run towards the grave with a shovel, gasping for breath, perspiring – and there I am. I hear the agitated lungs, dancing from within the grave, the thumping heartbeats. Is someone inhumed alive? No, no. It can’t be. You see, I can pick the shovel of mud with ease. It is still loose and moist. Why does the stench feel familiar? I dig further down the ground, I dig until the edge of my shovel hits the old man’s ribs.

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The sundered skeleton. Somebody had torn the corpse into pieces before burying it, why the fuck?  The lonely ribcage. And here is the femur, the toes. The shattered pelvis. The dreadful stench. You see the skull, it’s grinning? The severed neck? The scratches on the bones of the neck look familiar– the filthy gravedigger I killed years ago. I can smell him. How foolish I am, how frail my memory is. I remember that Friday night three years ago, when I speared him to death after tying him to the old oak tree, took his head off his shoulders, tore the corpse into pieces, crushed his gut, cut its ears, gorged its eyes out, drank its sticky sweet blood and amassed everything into a shroud and buried it. Yet, I forget it every time and every week I come out of the den, just to kill him. I want to kill that bastard, again and again, every Friday night, taste his warm sweet blood and feel the prurient satisfaction. You see the obsession in me? The madness? How desperate I am to hunt for him again, and how preposterous it is that I am a fortune-teller of sorts, I predict, I’ll come for him again, next Friday night, surely and slyly, on my stallion, with my desperate hunger and my rusted spear…

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