Monday, June 15, 2015

The Dead Stay Buried

1"No. No, no, no, I am not going in there. And you can't make me."

"What are you, superstitious? Worried some baddy is going to sneak... up... behind.. you... and..."

"AHGG!"

"Ow, dammit. What'd you go and hit me for?"

"That was for sneaking up on me. And yes, I am superstitious. Also, I like to be respectful. Honoring the souls of the dead and all."

"Fine, then you don't have to go in there."

"Really?"

"Sure. We need somebody to start throwing the missiles, and the silos aren't in there, nor are their control systems."

"Missiles?"

"What? Did you think we were all just going to rush him and have at?"

"Umm, well, yeah, actually. I did."

"Idiot."

I lay in the cool earth and darkness. The trick to being buried alive on purpose was not panicking. It also helped that I had plenty of oxygen, and a trap door at my feet, just in case, too. I wasn't even wearing a freshly laundered tux.

I was buried somewhere in the many-acred cemetery, even I wasn't quite sure where. Fresh sod had been laid over many of the plots, and the mud squelched with every step.

"I think you're sinking."

"Sinking?"

"Hey, can you make quicksand without sand?"

"Sure, probably. I think."

"Well, aren't you just a load of help."

"You're welcome."

Twenty-four hours isn't a load of time to throw a considerable defense together, so I was counting on playing off their fears and beliefs to get me through the least of it, so I had more time to focus on the worst.

Ten minutes in, and I let go of my dead man's switch.

"Hey, can you get the general on the comms?"

"Why, are you scared?"

"Of course not. But it cut out in mid-sentence."

"Maybe he just got an important call he had to take."

"From who? We're all in this together aren't we?"

"Yeah, but just because we're all trying to kill him doesn't mean we're all parading in like sheep to the slaughter."

"Did you just call me-- wait, what do you mean, slaughter?"

Calling my coffin a 20s-era ice box would have been insensitive. Besides, that whole thing was a movie myth anyway. Give me a little credit; it was more complicated than that. Well, slightly. The catalog said they were stylish, and only came in one color: battleship grey.

Also, I was deeper than six feet. Considerably deeper. Unless they dropped everything they had on the same spot, the right spot, I could be measurably less concerned about them just bombing me to hell. Besides which, they'd vaporize their own ground troops while they did.

"Brute force doesn't sound like a sound strategy."

"Who said you could ask questions?"

"One of the guys at the gate was taking names for devil's adovocates. He said I'd be lax in my duties if I didn't ask questions."

"Oh."

 "Brute force doesn't sound like a sound strategy."

"You said that already."

"But you didn't answer."

"That's because it's not my job to question orders. That's your job."

"I'm not asking you to question orders. I'm asking you to defend them."

"What are you, a grammar nazi?"

"Actually, I'm an English teacher who spends one weekend a month training in the reserves."

"Oh. Umm.. well, we have superior numbers, superior weapons, a larger budget, trained professionals, and loads more people. What does he have?"

"A time limit." 

Five minutes to go, and I could feel stamping and stomping above me.

Four minutes, and I felt my coffin rock and rise.

Three minutes, and I heard the whine of a chainsaw.

Two minutes, and I felt a faint tapping against the side.

One minute to go, and I started getting warm.

Ten seconds, and the coffin rocked, jumped, and started rolling.

Two minutes past, and I felt it come to a stop suddenly. I tried to hold in the contents of my stomach, at least until I got the hatch open, but it seemed to be melted. I kicked at the trap door and wriggled my way free.

The final blast was a Hail Mary of a shot, and a near miss too. If only they'd taken the time to code better tracking and flight guidance software, I'd have been dead, and they could have buried my remains where I'd fallen.

It was a cemetery, after all.

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