Below is another writing challenge from the inimitable Stripes, who asked me to write ‘500-1000 words, with a distinct beginning, middle and end on the prompt The ground opened up, and to [his/her/their] horror, revealed…‘. Concrit always appreciated. Here we go …
Let’s Spend the Night Together
After the funeral and that was over I started going round his grave. Just popping by after school or on the weekend and that. Like he was a mate and I were just stopping off at his place when I had a dead bit of time to fill. And given how much I went round we must’ve been proper besties ‘cos it nearly felt like I were living there.
I told myself it were ‘cos I didn’t get to say goodbye before, not with all those relatives there being like mega-serious about everything. Like, tears in their eyes and belting out hymns with their voices all cracking like ice cubes when you drop them in that posh cider. It felt like it wouldn’t have been right to say goodbye then, like I’d of been stealing some of their goodbyes.
And, right, it’s not as if the kid they were all talking about sounded much like my Danny, I mean, this lad were a ‘keen student’ and a ‘devoted son’ and had ‘a lust for life’. He had a lust for something I can tell you that much. And I couldn’t think of anything Danny were devoted to except maybe Mick Jagger. He had a proper hard on for Jagger.
Anyways, what I’m getting at here, is that it’s like it were a funeral for someone else. Some swatty, well behaved kid, not the pretty-boy who took me round behind the tennis court and played me Rolling Stones songs off his phone until I got so bored I literally had to kiss him or I’d die of boredom.
So I snuck into his graveyard and shared a can of scrumpy with him, pouring half of it (well, at least a third) onto the ground and having the rest myself. And after a while, when I’d been coming there for a month, it started to get clear that whatever I was doing, it weren’t saying goodbye.
So I was sitting up against his headstone with a can (the back side of it, the side that now reads ‘here lies Danny, quite pretty, bit of a waster, gay for Jagger’) and like, at first I thought it was an earthquake right? Ground proper rumbling and trembling and that. And the headstone toppled back and took me with it and I was just this big flailing mess in a dead sprawl on me back like the world’s biggest bloody cockroach and I realised the tremor was only coming from the grave.
And the ground opened up and this, just this bleeding shape, y’know, just rose out of it. And I was proper horrified ‘cos it was Danny.
He lurched towards me (like, properly lurching with arms out and legs wobbling like jelly, it would’ve been dead funny if he wasn’t, y’know, dead) and I took a step back without thinking and nearly tripped over my can of cider. The can spun away with a clink and he opened his mouth, showing his teeth.
Zombie-Danny didn’t eat me.
Instead he wiped the mud out of his eyes (still blue, still bloody gorgeous) and said:
“I don’t suppose you’ve got any more of them, do you?” He pointed to the spilled can. “Only I’m well thirsty …”
I dug another can out of me coat pocket and held it out to him without saying anything, words stuck half in and half out, scratching at me throat like when you swallow a pill with no water.
His hands brushed over mine as he took the can and they were well cold. Proper freezing. Like, he was talking and that so he probably wasn’t a zombie, but he wasn’t exactly in the land of the living …
“So, it looks like I’m dead …” He said. And his voice were just the same, sweet and light and melting inside you like candy-floss .
“Um, yeah.” I said. Then quiet for a bit.
“Bollocks.” He said.
“Yeah.” I said.
“Got anything to munch on?”
“’Spose that depends. Like, are you craving the flesh of the living or would Space Invaders do?”
“Tell you what, let’s start with the Space Invaders and see if I’m still feeling peckish, yeah?”
I tossed him a packet and he snatched it out of the air with a pop of burst air and crunch of crisps. He shovelled a handful down his gob and said (mouth still full):
“What happened to me?”
“Dunno. Animal attack, they said. Like, bite marks and crap. But it can’t have been that bad, ‘cos you still looked dead good in the coffin.”
He didn’t say anything for a minute, doing that ‘thinking deep thoughts’ thing he liked to do.
“No, I mean … what do you think I am?”
“Dunno …” I gave it some thought, “Like, probably not a zombie, but maybe a vampire or werewolf? Hard to tell, like, without a full moon or sunrise or anything.”
“I don’t think I much fancy being a vampire.”
He sounded so pathetic I just had to put my arms round him. I leaned my head against him and breathed in deep. His smell was lurking there, under a stink of musk and dirt and dead.
“You could make the werewolf thing work, though, you look dead-good with your shirt off.”
He chuckled, like, proper throaty laugh that tickled me ear as it rattled round his chest. I leaned into him and he leaned in too, bringing his lips down to kiss me neck and I felt the softest prick of fangs on skin. Then he stopped.
“Not that peckish after all, then?” I said, proper shaking, every bit of me screaming to run, but not able to let him go.
“Nah” he said, “not really. Tell you what … why don’t we stay up and watch the sunrise?”
So we sat there, on the ruins of his grave, wrapped up in cider and each others arms. And when the first ray of sun crept up on us, we clung to each other, dead scared, and then looked up … and stared that flaming bastard right in the eye.