Everyone loves to give advice. Sometimes that advice is good, but other times? Not so much. In all the various words of advice one could ever possibly encounter, there are some that can actually save your life.
Now I’m not talking about tornado survival tips or words of wisdom like “Always travel in pairs” or “Make sure your spare tire is good”. While those kinds of advice can certainly save your life, that’s not what I’m talking about. No, the advice I’m talking about is this:
Never, never, ever, ever, ever visit a crypt alone without making sure the door stays open!
A downpour of rain pelted the pavement at that Everhurst Cemetery on a late Wednesday afternoon. Arlen Michaels pulled his Chevy into the driveway, then circled the grounds in search of the Edwards Family crypt. The Chevy’s wipers struggled to clear the glass while Arlen struggled to see through the windshield.
His purpose was to retrieve mysterious cargo pursuant to the boss’ request. Arlen had never met the man he knew as Mr. Jones, but imagined him as thin man behind a large desk, gold-crusted fingers clinging to a cane. He must certainly be wealthy as he had all the best security and never seemed concerned with budgets or costs. Mr. Jones was exceedingly secretive – a mere voice at the other end of the phone who hired Arlen for various odd jobs and errands.
Arlen complied closely with any and all instructions and collected his pay through electronic deposits made to his bank account, but in the main, the real reasons behind his duties were unknown. Arlen figured it best to not ask questions .
Arlen was young and athletic, which was quickly becoming his most valuable job qualification and suspected it was the reason Jones hired him in the first place. Arlen’s lack of questions were met with growing monetary deposits he received at the end of each assignment.
The crumbling moss-covered crypt was situated at the back of the cemetery. Arlen parked the Chevy, grabbed his flashlight and ran quickly up to the mausoleum gate. True to the instructions, the door was ajar. Arlen slipped inside.
After adjusting his vision to the dark, Arlen switched on the flashlight. He directed the beam across the stone floor, locating the bag he was supposed to retrieve. His lithe footsteps were followed by a soft metallic click as the iron gate closed behind him.
Heart racing, Arlen froze in his tracks. The sound of rain pounding the saturated earth accentuated his breath that hung in the air like cottony white vapors. Jeremy was locked in and the caretaker wasn’t due back for another week.
Grabbing the bag, Arlen searched for an escape route. The bars were tight, there were no windows and the only way out was a passageway leading to the tunnel below.
Arlen spewed unsavory epithets and vowed to find another job immediately. That is, if he ever found his way out. Then he leaped inside the passageway with no other choice but to traverse the pitch black depths of the dark, damp tomb.
The corridor was slick and matted with what Arlen figured were the most spider webs he had ever scene.
“Geez!” he shouted. “What the hell kind of spiders live under the ground like this? ”
“Black widow love cool, dark places,” responded his thoughts.
He crowded out the voice and forced himself to forge ahead.
The stone floor was slippery under foot but Arlen refused to look down. He had but one thought – and that was to find a way out before his batteries went dead, and do it without dying or getting hurt.
When the floor disappeared, Arlen found himself flying head over heels in the dark. The flashlight flew out of his hand and thudded in the dark some 20 feet away. Of course, landing on the hard ground extinguished its light. “Crap!” screamed Arlen at the top of his lungs. The floor was a combination of slime and dirt and he struggled to get up.
Fumbling the stone path in the direction of the flashlight, he felt soft earth off the stone path. Everything was dark, save a faint light about 500 yards below. There was a way out!
Groping frantically now, he felt a glimpse of the smooth plastic of the flashlight butt, but beside it, his hand encountered something sharp sticking out of the soft, dank earth. He felt back in the direction of the flashlight. Finally, his hand gained a firm grasp of the light as he grabbed it and clicked the switch. The light came flood the darkness with an explosion of bright light. He turned the beam to examine the sharp object he’d found and discovered the bony, gleaming-white hand of someone who had lost his way down here in the tunnel.
“Holy Sh–!” cried Arlen as he crab-crawled backwards, light in hand. As soon as he hit the stony path, he got to his feet. He shone the light down to the ground. Much to his horror, he saw that either side of the path were black pits filled with gleaming bones. This was a burial chamber, but either they had run out of graves, or whoever put these people here, didn’t waste a minute putting them in one.
Taking care to skirt the pits, Arlen sped through the darkness towards the pinhole of light on the far side. When he got there, he ran his hand along the surface where the light was streaming though. He found the outline of a wooden door and began kicking it in.
Eventually, the door swung open, revealing the late afternoon sky. Rain poured down as Arlen ran to his car. He jumped into the seat and keyed the ignition, reminding himself to find another job. “Yes. A new job sounds like a good idea,” he announced to himself as he put the car in gear and drove away.
Behind him, the crypt acknowledged him silently. And just as silently, the door swung open ever so slowly, all on its own.