in Featured/Stories/Stories and Poems

I never thought much about the afterlife. Until now. I can’t move, breathe, speak or hear and it is so dark all the time. If I knew it would be this lonely, I would have been cremated instead.

Chuckling softly at the irony of it all, I pick at the maggots wriggling on my forehead. I am trying to figure where I am. In a coffin? I think the answer to that is obvious. I don’t relish lying here, slowly decaying, until only a bit of sand and bone indicates my passing. Not that anybody would care, nobody cared at all when I was still alive.

Dying was not so bad though. When I pulled the trigger, there was a loud bang, a flash, then darkness. It did not hurt one bit. After that, nothing, until I opened my eyes here. In the coffin. Supposedly my new and final home. Not if I have any say about it!

It is a good thing that I am not claustrophobic, or I might have surely lost my mind by now. Can a rotting brain go insane? And if that person was off his rocker to begin with, does he stay insane when he is dead? Perhaps talking nonsense mono-syllables to himself all day long. I wonder if the living can hear us. Perhaps, if they bothered to listen, they might. But then again, why would they bother?

I will say one thing about death though. It is dull and boring, especially from my vantage point. I have never been able to sit still for long, and boy, I surely do not plan to start doing that now.

So I begin to pry at the lid of the coffin with my swollen, rotting fingers. Not very successfully, as the digits drop off one after another in the effort. Now what?

I gently wriggle my toes. Nothing falls off … yet. Lifting my legs and displacing more of the irritating maggots, I kick at the lid. There is a slight creaking noise. I try again. The lid moves an inch, dirt trickling in.

Finally! With my rotten stumps I dig through the dirt, soil falling on my head, my face. At least the maggots seem to fall off with the dirt, so that is a plus. I manage to make a hole in the dirt large enough for my head to stick through. Nearly there!

After what seems like an eternity, I am out of the grave, chuckling as I shake the soil off me. “Didn’t think I would go quietly, did you?” I say to no one in particular. “You obviously do not know me very well!”

There is coarse laughter behind me and I spin around. In front of me is the ugliest, most terrifying being I have ever seen in my life or the afterlife for that matter. “Well done, Stan, I have been waiting for you to emerge! Welcome to hell, my good friend!”


I am a South African writer with a passion for horror. I have written several short stories and novellas in different genres, and I am thrilled to be a part of this site!

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