As he jumped the fence, he smiled.
He had been obsessed with corpses since he was 10. Seeing that decomposing body off the path had shocked him to the core, but fascinated him too. A long line of doctors, police and social workers had attempted to quell his curiosity and, for the most part, they had. Well, he had stopped talking so excitedly about it.
At 48, Kevin was a loner, working menial jobs to cover his bills. Since his first corpse encounter he had used sex, alcohol and drugs to silence his desires but to no avail. There were other, more twisted, pursuits, but nothing gave Kevin the rush of exposing a body, more specifically what was left, from its final sleep. Alone with his prize, he could do as he pleased, and he was yet to disappointed.
It was his third time in this graveyard. As ever, he had prepared, making sure he knew the quickest way out and which areas were the quietest. Dressed in black clothing, there was little chance of his being seen as more than a shadow.
As he approached the corner where his nights work would be gin, he slowed. The physical arousal of a newly decomposing body had quickened his pulse. Pulling his jacket off and opening his tool bag, he began.
It had been overcast but, as he dug at the soil, the moon appeared. It gave light to his deviant work, but it also made the shadows appear more menacing.
Suddenly, Kevin stopped. There was a strange movement to his right. Although it was 2am and pitch black the light of the full moon gave surreal light to shapes that weren’t. With a high pitched chuckle, Kevin turned back to his unnatural task.
Finally, and with perverse satisfaction, Kevin’s spade found the top of the coffin. Moving faster, with shallow, panting breath, Kevin scraped the rest of the earth from his treasure, then stopped dead.
The coffin appeared too well kept! Grunting, Kevin checked the headstone. It was an old grave, over half a century old! Confused, Kevin lit a cigarette as he pondered what he now saw. It was unheard of for such an old grave to have such an unsullied coffin. And a modern one too! As he blew smoke out, while scratching his head, the shadows at his peripheral vision moved again….
Kevin wasn’t alone in his corrupt passions, that much he knew, but if anyone else had decided to visit the cemetery he would have known. As he pondered his option a shape lurched out from by the trees.
Kevin let out an involuntary shriek, partly from excitement, but mostly from fear. The shape was human, but barely so. Torn and decomposing flesh hung from what once was a face. The torso probably had clothes hanging from it, but there were pieces of gristle and skin flapping loosely too. But the eyes! Flame red, sparkling with the gold of pure evil. The lumbering corpse attempted to stand straight, then, fixing Kevin with a look of contempt, slowly raised its right hand and pointed at the now trembling Kevin.
The corpse spoke. At least it would have been speech had the former human a throat or vocal chords. It came out as more of a strangulated moan.
Transfixed by the unfolding events, and simply unable to move from fear, Kevin stuttered as he tried vainly to talk to the detritus pointing at him. His words were as incoherent as the corpse, as Kevin also realized he had now soiled himself. The pointing cadaver slowly but surely kept walking towards Kevin, his hand now dropping to point at the grave and coffin.
Realizing the corpses intent, Kevin again tried to speak, but little more than a wail left his lips. Turning to make his escape, Kevin now, with a sinking heart, finally noticed the activity in the graveyard.
For they were all awake, those long dead inhabitants. Like the first corpse, they were in varying states of decay, their cloying, putrid stench now intensifying. Kevin’s legs finally decided to stop holding him up and he fell next to the freshly dug grave.
They surrounded him, the undead tenants of this final place. Laying there, giggling hysterically through the tears, Kevin knew that, even if he lived through this night, his sanity wouldn’t. It had already left. The guttural moans and wails of the fetid once humans around him were coalescing into a word. One. Single. Word.
Kevin laughed, a laugh of despair, insanity and hopelessness, as he scrambled inside the empty coffin.
As he jumped the fence, he smiled.