McDouglas Wants Me

Submitted by Rachel Frankki to Contest #12 in response to: Write a story that takes place in a small town where news travels fast.... view prompt

McDouglas Wants Me by Rachel Frankki 


“This is all completely immoral,” The old codger from the council exclaimed. Of course he had already heard the news before the events were actually taking place. Nothing remained a secret in a village where everyone was scared out of their wits. “The dead deserve to be at peace and not be dug up for the sake of an experiment!”


“It’s not an experiment!” One of the women chimed in. “This town has had numerous reports of this man being seen in the flesh and we need to see if his flesh is still in the ground or not!”


I cheered with the crowd in agreement. Far too many complaints had been brought into the sheriff station about a certain John McDouglas back from the dead. The amount of sightings made this more than a mere Halloween prank. However, within the week it was as though everyone had known about McDouglas’ corpse walking around in what looked like flesh and blood. It only made sense that everyone went into full blown panic while telling all their neighbors about the impossibility they had seen. 

“Grave robbers! The whole lot of you!” The old man barked with a fist shaking in the air. He sided with the part of the village that believed everyone who was under sixty years of age was completely immoral in every action they carried out. 

“With all due respect Sir Courtney, we’re not necessarily robbing the grave if there’s nothing to steal,” A man with a shovel groaned. He had a point though. We had all been hoping to dig up the casket, check for the body, and rebury what was there with a limited amount of people knowing the true answer. Somehow though, Courtney managed to weasel his big nose into confidential information and spoil the plans to the village that now crowded the old graveyard. 

“Of course there’s something to steal, there’s a body in the bloody grave!” 


The air was still and stifled. Nobody wanted to speak. A layer of humidity hung above us despite being uncommon for autumn. I nodded my head towards the men with shovels as an indication to begin digging up the recently planted soil. Our village was small and nearly the entire population attended the funeral. It was a loss everyone felt, despite their feelings for McDouglas himself. 

John McDouglas had recently married before his untimely death in his butcher shop. We all felt dead as well when he accidentally fell onto the saw line and sheared himself in half. Such a stupid accident, nobody could believe it really happened. Some claim that he had gone to work while drunk, whereas others said it was a perfectly plausible death for someone who worked with saws and knives every day. Yet, everyone viewed him in high regard, except no one could understand why so many people were suddenly seeing him on street corners and alleyways again even though he had died. 

People had figured the town drunkards were belly full of rum and hallucinating like normal. Some claimed to see him in broad daylight just wandering the streets like a homeless beggar. Working in the sheriff station, I was the one who had to record all sightings of the dead man. However, when I would try to tell the others in the station about the reports, my co employees looked at me like I was the one who had gone insatiable. 

From his frayed overcoat, Sir Courtney pulled out his Bible to make us feel remorse for trying to answer our unfathomable questions. His voice thundered verses over voices as one of the shovels collided with the wooden casket and the men announced they had made it. The soil had been set for a week but it seemed unusually loose, just as if someone was digging it up everyday. Bending down, I helped the group pry off the wooden plank to reveal an empty casket with a cushion that only contained the imprint of a body. 

The cushion was still as vibrantly colored as the day we had put it underneath the ground. A hair was laying across where a head should have been. Nail marks lined the walls of the coffin to indicate some sort of struggle. McDouglas had been sheared in half sideways causing for us to put a higher and lower part of his body in the coffin. There was simply no way he could have been clawing his way out like someone that has been buried alive. 

Even Courtney went quiet. 


“I told you all he was out there,” John McDouglas’ wife said from underneath a black veil that was meant to obscure her presence. I hadn’t noticed her lurking on the edge of the group.  “He’s looking to be reunited with me and there’s only one way that can happen.”

A shot rang through the air as John’s mangled corpse fired a loaded shotgun from behind his wife. He was wearing the same clothes we had buried him but around his torso, fresh blood dripped onto the linens and the dying grass under his feet. The bullet blew straight through his wife’s skull as she fell into the casket with her husband falling in after her. Their bodies lay stacked on one another in an act of reuniting through death. One of the women carved the year into the gravestone marked for McDouglas’ wife. Someone whispered, “Till death do us part.”.

 

Unsure of what else to do, the crowd reburied them and moved away from the foggy cemetery as rain began to fall down and cloud our view of life. Within a week, everyone would know of the death of the McDouglas’s but nobody would have clear answers as to why any of this had happened. 

Some would say it was all a very elaborate prank. Some would say the dead truly walk among us. As I wrote up the report, I couldn’t wrap my brain around everything that happened that dark night. Why would McDouglas haunt his wife for a week before taking her to the grave as well? Who controlled us to allow something so grotesque to happen in my town? Did this even happen at all?

Years after the incident, people began to doubt if this truly happened to begin with. It was written off as a folklore story where inexplicable things happen and nobody can make sense of the events. But I was there, and I saw it all happen with my own eyes. Today’s society might not believe me, but word travels fast, when McDouglas is looking for you.



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