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Leslie Blackwell Leslie Blackwell
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Paranormal Phobia Scene One

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She had a friend.

Hi all, have to write a story scene for an online writing course I am doing at present and would appreciate a bit of feedback. Been a while since I have asked someone for help with homework.

“There is no such thing as zombies.” muttered Matthew Swift, as he descended a small metal ladder into the open grave of Elspeth Delebarca. “You can do this. Think of it as therapy; nothing like getting up-close and personal with the deceased, to overcome your paranormal phobia.”
The smell of rancid mud vexed him, but he knew leaving the cellphone down there was not an option. Besides; if he was serious about being a gravedigger such stenches would be inevitable.    

Matthew’s heart chilled as he heard a sudden creaking sound. He ceased descending and stared down and carefully studied the casket lid below. Though slightly dilapidated, it still appeared in-tact and undisturbed.

“Easy bro, it’s all in your mind. You’ve been watching too many horror movies,” he muttered again, and then continued to the bottom of the ladder. “There is no such thing as zombies…it’s all in your mind.”

Matthew’s stretched out his left boot and tentatively found what seemed to be a frim pile of clay to the east of the casket. He drew a heavy sigh, positioned his right foot directly opposite and nervously released the ladder.  

The walls either side of him now appeared narrower and less stable than they had when he was looking down on them. It made him glad of the shoring boards.

“Errrrrrrrrahhhh,” sounded a raspy whisper from beneath him.

Goosebumps shivered up Matthew’s spine. He motioned to flee but the rational part of his mind stayed his cowardness.

“It’s all in your mind, relax.” he asserted.

He heard another creak, this one louder and more pronounced, and bits of casket splintered onto the muddy floor.


Matthew snatched his cellphone, from the far left side of the grave, and scrambled up the ladder, seconds before the lid shattered open.

Two skeletal arms shot out and rested on either side of the casket, and a rotting corpse gradually sat upright.

“Who dares disturb my slumber?” it scolded, rising to its feet and then a deep growling noise.
“Please don’t hurt me,” beseeched Matthew, “I mean you no harm…honest.”

“What were you doing in my grave, Hmmm?”

Matthew shrugged his shoulders then gave a fretful whimper as the corpse clambered out of the grave and walked towards him.

Terror urged him to flee but he found himself unable to take his eyes off the ghoul. It was unlike anything he had ever witness outside his worst nightmares.

“I-I dropped my cell phone down there. I’m sorry,” he offered.

“Sorry? I’ll give you something to be sorry about…and what’s the idea of digging all the dirt out of my grave…hmmm?”    

He felt nauseated and took a step back as her putrid breath overwhelmed him. Her jaw dusty bottom lip had become dislocated from her face and hung below her chin, swinging slightly as she spoke.

Terror urged him to flee but he found himself unable to take his eyes off the ghoul. It was unlike anything he had ever witness outside his worst nightmares.

“We are burying your husband in there tomorrow Misses Dune…you’ll be reunited.”

The mention of her husband seemed to strike a nerve with her. She tore at her own ragged clothing, from which a large black spider with a scarlet back. It landed on the ground and then scuttled toward Matthew as if one of her minions.

“I’m not having that fat-ass dingbat lying on top of me for all eternity. He can go rot with his fecking harem of harpies, in the far reaches of hell, for all I care.”

“I’m sure that is not completely true. You must have loved him at once, otherwise...”

At that very moment a flock squawking kakas flew overhead interrupting him in mid-sentence, and Sandra shifted her attention toward them.    

Taking advantage of the distraction, he grabbed a spade from the small collection of tools, left behind by Yak. He took basic aim and swung it as hard as it could.

“Take that you stupid spook!” he cried as the spade impacted.

Sandra stumbled but managed to steady herself. She snatched the spade out of Matthew’s hands, threw it back on the ground and snarled.

Dust sprayed from her filthy torso, while her sallow fangs and dagger-like claws projected. Her girth seemed to increase, as did her rage.

“You dare call me a “Stupid spook”?” she ranted, advancing with malice. “You’re going to pay for that, boy! Pay for it good and proper.”

Matthew carefully weighed his options. He had now lost the element of surprise and doubted grabbing another spade or shovel would help.

His mind flashed back to an incident he had once read about Fredrick the Great chiding his hesitating Generals with “Rascals, would you live forever?” Facing Sandra, he found himself siding with the Rascals.

He turned and started running down the pathway for all he was worth. Seconds later he heard Sandra starting off after him like a savage predator, pursuing its prey.

A skeletal hand gripped the scruff of his collar. He lost balance and handed backwards onto the ground. Moments later Sandra leaped on top of him but banged her head against a concrete grave in the midst of their struggles and he wriggled free.  

He continued running to the end of the path, turned left and started down a labyrinth of other pathways until he came across a narrow track, leading into a thicket of scrub.

He forced his way into the thicket and hastened east. Tangled weeds reached tried their best to ensnare him, while jutting tree roots littered his route; threatening to trip him.
Less than three minutes later, Matthew started running short of breath and had to stop. He strained his ears but could not hear anything other than the ambient sounds of chirping birds and shrilling cicadas.

“Hell, that was intense,” he muttered.  

Matthew leaned against the truck of a blue gum tree and waited for his racing heart and labouring breaths to return to normal. Though reasonably confident he had evaded Sandra he continued scouring his dense surroundings for potential danger.

Time passed and he had just about settled down when the distant sound of the RTV caught his attention. He cursed under his breath and began stressing over what excuse he was going to give Yak for his desertion.

“He’s going to go crazy ape bonkers when he sees I’ve left the grave unsecured,” he lamented.
Despite the very real risks it posed, he felt compelled to return to the gravesite, and explain what had happened to Yak. It’s somehow seemed preferable to confronting his stepparents, or councillor with the news that he had quit his job so soon.

“Besides, I can’t leave Yak to the mercy of that crazed Zombie,” he admitted. “Not after all he’s done for me. Okay, here goes nothing.”

Matthew drew a heavy sigh and retraced his steps the best he could, expecting any moment to bump into Sandra. To his relief he could still find no trace of her.

The sound of the RTV engine increased then stopped and he knew that Yak had returned. He hastened his pace, made it back out the thicket, and was just at the end of the narrow track when he heard a fretful cry.

Then there was silence.

-Scene one ends here-

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