by Neal James
…All he had to ‘do’ was sit (or lie) it out in a comatose, death-like state six feet down waiting for his resurrection at the hands of his wife and a few friends with shovels. They would come, he was sure. They would have to fairly soon before he ran out of air in his normal revived state. Mustn’t panic – that would stimulate his respiratory system and use up the available air too quickly. His pulse was racing; he could hear it inside his head. Must slow that down – breathe slowly, calm down, they’ll be here soon.
Mandy, his wife, was the beneficiary named on the insurance policy and the payout was in excess of a million pounds. They had planned out to the last detail what they were going to do once he was free again from his current confined situation. Off would come his beard and moustache, and a radical haircut, together with contact lenses, would fool all but his closest friends and business acquaintances. He would then slip quietly away from the area and await Mandy’s arrival with the proceeds of their scam, together with the funds from the sale of their house, which had always been in her name. The company would fold, unsecured creditors being left to fend for themselves in the feeding frenzy, and the two of them would slip out of the country with the false documents he had been provided with by the friend of a friend of a friend. That was the plan.
He felt around his wrist and swore at the lack of a watch there. He always wore a watch, and gently cursed Mandy’s lack of foresight in not putting one on him for the funeral. ‘It was his favourite watch – he would have liked to take it with him,’ she could have said. No-one could have questioned it with the floods of tears that she would have been able to turn on – heaven knows there had been enough of those down the years. Now he was lying here with no idea of how long it had been since the funeral. He couldn’t hear a thing; in fact it was as quiet as the grave. He laughed out loud at his sudden humour, and then wondered if anyone would be able to hear him at the surface. Imagining the sudden scare for grieving relatives placing flowers against a nearby headstone he laughed again. No, mustn’t do that not enough air for unnecessary respiration. Need to stay calm, they’d be along in a minute.
He couldn’t remember how long after the burial they’d agreed that it would be safe to dig him up again. Was it a day? Two days? More? What was he going to eat and drink in the meantime …?