Digger Joe

Digger Joe

A Story by AshW

Digger Joe, was what everyone called him. His real name was Joey Dorstend, but no one had called him that for almost twenty years now, ever since he became the groundskeeper of the local cemetery. Groundskeeper was of course the official title for his job, a much more gratifying word than what he really was: a grave-digger. He did have a variety of lesser tasks, like picking up the trash, planting, raking, re-sodding and getting rid of old flowers and faded flags, but what he mainly did was digging.
He dug neat, rectangular graves with tidy squared corners where the dead would be buried after hours of preaching from the emissary of whichever god they were obsequious to. And then he filled up the grave with the upturned soil. The work that he wasted his life on ran in loops as he endlessly dug and filled up, working hours of strenuous effort just to be back to the same initial point. 
The latest addition to the cemetery’s residents had been a father of two. Digger had seen the two teenagers struggling with their tears while their mother let hers flow freely. He had waited in the shadows, as he always did, until the end of the sermon and not once did she stop crying. She was held by relatives who tried to comfort her but that, of course, was futile. Every grieving husband, wife, parent or child thinks that he or she is alone with that pain. But Digger, who had witnessed that same scene over and over again, knew one simple truth about life: no matter what singular paths people follow, no matter what distinct achievements they accomplish, no matter what tragedies they suffer and what memories they forge, they all share the same fate. They are born, they live, and they die. 
This was comforting to Digger. He was only running out the clock.
Only, no one would be there to mourn him, unlike the one whose grave he had painstakingly dug during the early hours of the morning. He had never known his parents. He grew up in an orphanage, a short distance from the cemetery. These were the two establishments that had nursed him all his life. He had never known passion and had never been loved. He would have liked to think that his job was a turn-off for women, but it seemed that no one really had any interest in him, without even knowing that he spent his days among the dead. 
He was as dead to the living as those whom he tended to. 
But even these lived in the memories of their loved ones. 
He would be remembered by none.
He heard something. The noise had been there all the time, he realised, elusive at first; the sound equivalent of something we see out of the corner of the eye, which we find isn’t really there when we turn to face it. Except that it was steadily growing louder. It sounded like something scratching against a hard surface. 
Digger froze. The sound was coming from the casket that was laid in the ten-foot hole in front of him. It was still faint but audible. Nails scratching the inside of the casket. He remained motionless, shocked and paralyzed by the utter ludicrousness of what he was hearing. Then the moaning started. More scratching, this time much louder.
The terror that threatened to take hold of Digger never really surfaced. He had walked among the dead too long to know that no one ever came back. He had of course heard stories before. Someone having all the signs of having trespassed, and who suddenly, for whatever inexplicable reason, jolts right back to life. It was supposed to be some sort of rare medical condition, although Digger simply thought that that person’s time had not yet come.
He heard a muffled voice. The man inside was coming to his senses. 
Digger laughed. The whole situation was hilarious. He thought of the wife in tears, and how she would react when she saw her husband waltz into their home in the clothes he had just been buried in. She could die of a heart attack, and he might have to bury her! Digger was hollering now.
The man inside the coffin was banging furiously against the lid, which remained stuck. “No need to panic, big guy,’ Digger said, after managing to get a hold of himself. “I’ll get you out soon enough”. 
And you can get back to your life. Back to your perfect life, with your perfect family and your perfect job. The casket was an expensive one, and the cars around the funeral had been very classy. The guy probably had serious money. Probably a massive house where his two carefree children pranced around. He had never had a single worry in his life, until that fateful day when he collapsed.. He was like one of those rich brats who often came around the cemetery, drunk as hell, to make fun of the grave-digger. These usually grew up to be highly respected members of the society, and find the ideal companions to start a loving family with. These were the people who despised the likes of Digger, who, by their mere existence, tended to be a sickly blot smeared on an otherwise perfect life.
The banging against the lid was getting more frantic now. 
Envy and Hate stem from the same dark entrails of human emotions. Digger felt both as he started shoveling.
He dug very slowly, and threw each mound very carefully.
The cries began to fade as he worked, and the piles of dirt slowly stifled the sobbings of agony.

© 2013 AshW

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This was really good. I love "the simple truth about life" as you described it. Well done.

Posted 8 Years Ago


8 Years Ago

Thank you! I'm very new here and looking forward to contributing to the site.

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Added on March 27, 2013
Last Updated on March 27, 2013
Tags: horror, fantasy, meek, weak, revenge, vengeance, digger, graveyard, cemetery, buried, buried alive, alive



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