In My Wake

In My Wake

A Story by James Whitefall

A family buries a loved one. Based on a true story. 7/52


I feel it. I feel the dirt landing on the top of my prison. Wiggle toes. Come on you, this is life or death, so just wiggle already. But no, they refuse to listen, and now I can hear voices from the outside. They are getting louder and I can tell they are walking toward me. Help me!!! I’m down here. It’s no use. Just because my brain is thinking it, doesn’t mean my mouth is saying it. I want to throw my perfectly laid hands at the lid and beat it senseless. It’s wood, I know that, but that still doesn’t stop me from wanting to beat it senseless.

“We are gathered here today to mourn the death of Michelle Ruth Jensen. She was a special star in our universe, and bright did she shine.”

I’m not dead. I’m down here. Just open the lid and you’ll see me.

“She was an avid biker, hiker and devoted mother. She, like many others were called home- back to God, in a timeframe of his understanding, not ours,” the voice continued.

            My stomach is tingling. I feel the anxiety bubbling up inside and all I can do is lay here, still and unmoving. My thoughts move to darker places.

I imagine a man, non-descript, cackling as he tosses dirt over the hole I am now in. He knows it. This man knows I’m down here and instead of helping me; he’s the one mocking me by shoveling a mound of dirt, burying my body. The more I allow the thought, the deeper It goes. My world spins, and twirls, and then barrel rolls as it crashes into my soul. A shockwave hits me and then suddenly something happens. A tear rolls gently down my skin and I can feel it. The skin tickles as it rolls ever so slowly and I can feel my chest heaving for air.

I try to scream, but nothing is coming out. My toes, just get them to wiggle. So I try again. This time I think I can feel them move. I think they are moving. Tears are now running down my cheeks, flowing like a raging river.

“Michelle’s mother, Dorothy, would like to say a few words.”

Mom. You’re here. I know you can get me out. I know you feel me here, alive. I will thoughts of me to her, trying to use telepathy, or whatever twins use to know the other is there. Mom, just look at me. Open the lid and you’ll see me, and you’ll know I’m here. Demand it Mom.

“Michelle was my daughter and I was very proud of her. Her accomplishments in life may have been small in the world’s eyes, but they were huge in mine.”

I can hear my mom sob. I want to stop listening. I want to scream I love you. My resolve to escape this box triples. Something’s happening. My muscle twitches in my arm. I raise it. I raise it just above where it rests. Oh my god. It’s moving. Keep going Michelle. Slam your hand into the box lid. You can do it.

I gain momentum and push against the lid with my hand. The plush fabric easily bests my attempts. Oh my god. The box is so padded they can’t hear me. My heart pounds hard in my chest. So hard, I think maybe they’ll here that. Maybe they will hear my beating heart. Get a grip. You need to tell them you’re in here somehow. You need to kick and scream. You need to cry for help as loud as you can.

A miracle is happening before me. My toes move ever so slight, but they do. My hand has room, but it's difficult to keep it from trembling. I hear something else tossed on top of me. It doesn't sound like sand. I hope they're not done yet.

“Next we will hear from her sister, Cassandra.”

“Michelle,” she cries, “My sister Michelle.” The cries get louder and I clearly hear her like I’m there, standing in front of her. I’m trying Cassie, I’m trying. The back of my hand taps on the fabric-covered lid harder than before and now I can hear I'm making a noise. Every tap sound booms in my ears. Come on… Come on! I keep banging around, but my feet refuse to join in. Another noise echoes off the top and I freak. Less dirt, not more.

The crying ceases and someone screams. “What's that noise?”

I pound on the top now, my arms moving like normal. “It's the coffin. Something's in there.” I listen as more screams erupt and the stomping sounds make their way to me. The stomps are getting further away, not closer. You're going the wrong way. Someone get me out of here. I can hear a man, the preacher it sounds, calling for people to remain calm.

“Whatever's in there, I don't want it with my sister. Get it out”

“Honey,” I hear her husband say. “She's dead, does it matter what's in there with her?”

“Yes, it matters”

All the while I haven't stopped hitting the lid, but I still can't get my voice to make a noise. “Get it out David.” Yes. Do that. Please, oh my god, please do that.

I listen as grunts ring out. They are getting closer to me. “The things I do for that woman,” I hear David say. I can feel the coffin being hoisted and I'm now in the air. I hit the ground with a thump. The wind rushes out of me and I make a sound.

“Dan, did you hear that?” I hear David say.

 “That squeak?”

“Yes. You heard it too, right? Cassandra, something's in here. I’m not kidding.

“Stop being so…” I hear her say.

            The lid is opened and the sun hits my eyes. I shut them and I raise my hand to the sky, blocking the sun from hitting them any further. My fingers twitch and my arm shakes.

            “She’s alive,” I hear someone scream.

            “What!?” Cassie yells, “She’s alive!”

The lid slams closed, almost crushing my hand. “I’m alive,” my voice croaks. “I’m alive.


© 2016 James Whitefall

Author's Note

James Whitefall
This is based on a true story I was told when I was a boy. I hope you enjoy. Please rate and review if you're so compelled.

My Review

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Creepy way to tell a story. The first person build is effective. It starts out slow, which makes sense. I love this line: My world spins, and twirls, and then barrel rolls as it crashes into my soul. A shockwave hits me...
I would suggest you consider having her panic incoherently just before it for a few words.
Nice work.

Posted 8 Years Ago

James Whitefall

8 Years Ago

Hey, thanks for the review. I appreciate you taking the time.

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1 Review
Added on June 6, 2016
Last Updated on June 6, 2016
Tags: short story, short, amwriting, writing, amediting, editing


James Whitefall
James Whitefall


I'm an american writer who aspires to be an author. Sci-Fi and Fantasy are my muse, but I write whatever. Follow my journey at Email me at [email protected] more..