Beasley’s Ridge Cemetery welcomed most new occupants via Burns Funeral Home and Crematory while Reverend Malcolm Spragg, spiritual pillar of the Fortune Falls Church of Christ, did the best he could to assure a good send-off for each and every one. A man just can’t witness that many black suits and waxy, tear-puffed faces without stepping into the shoes of the bereaved. As Reverend Spragg suffered from Taphophobia, or fear of being buried alive, he devised a method to watch over his flock to the very end. In addition to the Good Book, a pine box and a pre-dug hole, each had a thin chain tied to the index finger of the deceased that extended from the coffin to a silver grave bell staked behind the headstone… On a gentle slope near the bluff overlooking Fortune Falls, the sickly, sweet smell of funeral flowers made him sneeze. Stanley edged closer, running a gnarled hand along the headstone, then knelt down for a better look. The epitaph was fresh, BRANDON WILCOX…BORN ON A MONDAY – DIED ON A THURSDAY…DON’T TOUCH MY STUFF. Could it be more perfect?! Heart racing, nostrils flaring, he spun the combination on his briefcase like a roulette wheel and popped the locks, gingerly removing the aerosol canister incubating inside. He staggered to his feet, swiped a thin line of sweat from his upper lip with the sleeve of his lab coat and hoisted the lethal container over his head like the Sword of Damocles. “Welcome to Hell, let’s see if you can cheat Death!” he bellowed venomously, before releasing the entire payload of ZED666 into the freshly dug soil. Freed from icy exile, the sinister pathogen flourished, greedily racing from grave to grave in an evil incantation of impending doom. Reflections of an ancient moon throbbed in Stanley’s widening eyes, what had he done? He flinched and heaved the vile canister as far as he could, raw nerves screaming at the edge of his skin, then jerked backward snagging his heel in a funeral wreath and tumbling to the ground in a cowering heap. Images began to creep into the margins of his mind, dark, spidery things with scraping claws. A sibilant tea-kettle hiss of chains keened in the silence, followed by an eerie, almost beautiful, vibrancy of bells, clear tones rising above the wind like Celtic runes. Dust choked the air, mingling with the putrid stench of decaying flesh. Graves bulged and collapsed like dominoes, unleashing a menacing toll of rusty throats, mewling and moaning, building slowly in a grapevine of feverish clamor. Grasping arms breached the contaminated ground, desiccated flesh peeling from bones… they bridged the gap between death and the living in a unified wave of diabolic choreography, all heads pivoted toward Stanley. Hobbling on shaky legs, they shambled forward, moldy blackened tongues lolling and twisting between snapping yellow teeth. They were hungry…really hungry, in fact…they were ravenous……….
WAKE UP all you zombies and zealots out there! You’re tuned in to KKIL all-request radio in Nashville…98.6 FM on your radio dial…late-night cat fight mojo to keep the wheels rollin’! This is Dr. Scarlett Harp…live and unapologetic… pulling down the moon with a little radical empathy for the souls and soul-less. I’ll be smashing portraits over the airwaves just to hear the hearts break from midnight until the cock crows. So tell me…who’s on your heart tonight? Is there a special someone? Charge up that iPhone and call 615-555-5666…Send them a message in the language of the angels..let the music do your talkin’! Our first request this evening goes out to Charley Spackle and the gang, hunkered down in the basement of the Church Of Christ in North Atlanta. Here to say…KNOCK KNOCK..is Oingo Boingo! “I was struck by lightning, walkin down the street…I was hit by something last night in my sleep.. It’s a dead man’s party, who could ask for more..Everybody’s comin’, leave your body and soul at the door…..”
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