Monday, May 13, 2013

The Station

(Feel free to listen to this as you read or listen to this.)

“How much longer?” Donny asks, the shovel rests on his shoulder, stained with dirt.

“Two minutes!” Sara calls back. She grips a tire iron with both hands. A few strands of blonde hair hang down over her face.

“You guys are kidding right? This is a joke. Dig up the dead guy and scare the new ki-” Carlos starts, but Donny hisses at him.

“Shut up and get ready!”

The lights of my dad’s hatchback bathes the whole scene in a strange, clinical way. The grave was recent, so the dirt was easier to move. Donny and I had been digging for most of the night; we managed to get the coffin out just as Carlos rolled up. At first he freaked, but who wouldn’t? We handed him a bat and told him that he’d see.

(Read more after the Jump)

“Shit, thirty seconds! Jeff make sure you got the dial turned up!” Sara yells. I quickly lean into the car and crank the volume all the way up.

Static fills the graveyard, drowning out the chirping insects. That soothing white noise that sounds like rain on tin, not that hard harsh static, flows from the car. Then it stops and is replaced with a metallic hum. I quickly look at everyone. I knew they could feel the electricity in the air. Sara had an almost manic grin. Donny looked focused, like he had earlier in the afternoon at the game. Carlos looked back at me and shook his head. He looked upset. I just smiled and nodded.

“Nine-six-zero-six-eight-tweleve” Her voice begins to play over the radio. It has the hint of an accent. One of those that you can’t quite place. It sounds like her inflection changes now and then. Maybe European? Some nights I swear it’s a Spanish accent.

“Ten-forty two-red-eleven-thirty three” She continues the string of numbers. She changes a number a night. We’ve listened and made records. Tonight she swapped a five with a thirteen. Gotta make a note of it when I get home. Three minutes in Carlos begins to shift from foot to foot, he stops when she says ‘thirty nine’ and the lid of the coffin shifts. I watch the color drain from his face.

“Here we go.” Donny moves the shovel and gets ready to bring it down.

The lid of the coffin finally swings open and what must be ‘Andrew Donald: Loving Father and Husband 1955-2013’ begins to climb out. His movements are jerky. Strange. The movements of a marionette. His joints shift up every time he moves and there is an audible cracking and popping of his bones grinding. Eventually the corpse is standing upright. He looks toward the car with soft, milky eyes, and opens his mouth.

“Ssssszzzzzzzzzzttttt” he is sliding his dead tongue around and trying to breath. He is trying to make the sound of static.

They always do that.

“Take my fucking car away? Fuck you, dad!” Sara is the first to strike. She brings the tire iron into the small of the corpse’s back. He stumbles and turns to her and holds out his arms.

“Think you’re the shit, Ricky?” Donny swings his shovel at the corpse, striking it’s outward left hand with the blunt bottom. It swings back and we can hear muscles tearing as it bends a way it shouldn’t. “Fucking QB of the year, huh? If you let me have a play you’d see! I am way better than you!” He strikes it again.

“No, mom, I don’t want to go see a movie with Bob! I don’t care about your new boyfriend!” I bring my own shovel down on the thing’s head and there is a pop like an egg breaking. His head sits wrong on his neck now. Must’ve pooped a vertebrae.

Donny, Sara and I continue to rain blows on the thing, hurling regrets and anger at its deteriorating shell. It finally falls to the ground and Carlos joins in. He curses God for killing his brother with cancer and brings the bat down right on the back of its head. It finally stops making its static imitation, but we keep beating it and yelling. All the while the voice serenades us with numbers in a steady tone.

Around one-thirty the thing is a bloody, formaldehyde mess. The station is back to static. Donny and I shovel it back into the coffin. Sara leans against the car’s hood. I can only see her silhouetted at my position, but looking at her figure only makes me work harder. Carlos paces and is breathing hard. He is wound tight.

“Holy shit guys. Holy shit. We just- Christ. I think we should feel bad about this. Should we feel bad?” He stops and looks at the pile of person we’re shoveling back into the coffin.

“Felt good though, right?” Donny asks. Carlos looks up and for a second, his body becomes tight. He looks like he is going to spring into the air, or run away, but he just smiles and nods.

“How much longer?” Sara asks.

“We still have to put the coffin back into the grave, then bury it again.” I call back.

She shifts her hips and the small movement is a promise. We finish and I hand my shovel to Carlos.

“You’re new to the fun, but you gotta do some work. Help Donny get this back in the hole. I gotta take care of something.” He takes it from me and gives me a wink. Donny rolls his eyes.

I move quickly to Sara and feel her arms around me almost instantly. A hot kiss burns on my neck.

“Let’s get out of here.” Her breath is warm. She smells like vanilla and grass. Usually when we beat on these things they get all over us, but Sara always manages to stay clean.

“Sure, we’ll jump in the car and-” she shakes her head and smiles. Disentangling from me, she slips her hand into mine and pulls me along into the boneyard. As we move away from the light and the static I can hear Carlos asking about how we found out about this and Donny telling him about last year’s seniors and the ones before them.

“A rite of getting older. Only the coolest of the cool know about this and every graduating class passes it down...”

Their voices fade. We haven't gone far before Sara spins me and pins me against a large marble grave. We begin to kiss. Long, deep kisses. Her hands are up in my hair. I have one of my own on her back and the other up her shirt. She giggles.

I begin kissing her chin, then neck. She tugs off her shirt. I go back to her neck and then slowly make my way down her chest, now and then biting just a bit. She lets out a laugh and swats my head when I bite close to her ribs. She is ticklish there.

I’m on my knees and kissing around her waist. She makes cooing sounds that make my blood pump. They mix with the sounds of the crickets and wind and static. Static? No, we’re not that close to the car. I keep kissing.

The pop is barely audible.

Her body hits the grass and her head is almost completely spun around. A corpse stands there. A woman. She was behind Sara.


I scream and launch at the thing. It tries to move out of the way, but I catch it by the hair. Most of it comes out in my fingers, but I have enough of a grip. I bring her face against the corner of the marble monument. It splits. I keep screaming and slamming the thing’s head until it is almost cleaved in two. It stops moving. I drop it and then look over at Sara's corpse.

“No. No. No, no, no, no.” I try and shake her awake. I move her head and I can feel the way it’s loose and it makes me shiver and I want to throw up. I reach over and grab her shirt and fumble it back on.

“Please no. Please no. Wake up.” She is getting colder.

It must’ve been another recent grave that we missed. The woman had to have clawed her way out. The signal brought her up and we missed it. That is the only explanation I can think of.


I didn’t go to school the next day. My phone was exploding with texts and calls. I threw it against a wall. It’s broken now. I haven’t been home.

Managed to take Sara's body back to my car. Carlos and Donny were gone. She has been in the back seat all day. That smell of vanilla is now just tickle on the more pungent decay. It’s around eleven twenty when I pull into the mall’s parking lot. It’s completely empty. My stomach is going to burst. I throw the door open and throw up.

This is all going to be ok.

I lean back into the car and turn on the radio and find the station. The once calming hiss now makes my skin crawl.

Not long now.

“Nine-six-zero-six-eight-forty nine” her voice fills the car. The volume is at max and my ears are hurting. My head feels like someone is striking it again and again with a hammer.

I haven’t looked back at her since last night. My left foot bounces on the floor. My own nails dig into my hand with anticipation.

“Green-eighty seven-six-twenty-forty six” I want to look back, I want to see her. Any second now she will be sitting up and talking. I’ll tell her what happened and we’ll cry and be ok. It will be ok. She's fresh. Not like those other corpses. She just died, it hasn't been days.

“Five-five-eight-five” the announcer’s voice sounds like it has a mocking tone. If Sara is moving back there, I can’t hear it. I probably won’t be able to hear anything for a while after listening to this so loud.

An electric shock runs through my spine as I feel nails trace my neck. I become stock still.

In the rearview mirror I can see her, but it’s too dark. She is just a shape against the light, just like at the graveyard, but wrong. Completely wrong.

She reaches down into my shirt with her left hand, running her hand across my chest as the other drags its nails up to my chin. Gooseflesh breaks out across my body. I’m equally excited and terrified. She leans forward and I feel her breath on my face.


I turn and look. Her head is almost on backwards. She is making different faces at me. Every emotion is being flashed at me, each getting a two second window on her once beautiful face. Like a system re-booting. I feel my stomach clench.

She pulls her hand back up and there is a moment when the woman on the radio pauses.

Hot pain sears into my neck and there is nothing I can do. The scream I try and let out becomes gurgles. Looking down, I see my split neck. Her nails have rent it into a bleeding mess.


The hatchback rolls into the graveyard the next night. Two jerky figures step out and begin to dig up graves. Numbers begin to pour out of the car. Purred by a sweet feminine voice that has just a hint of tin.

By night's end, the pre-dawn air is filled with static.

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