I woke up some minutes ago. I’m sure how many minutes ago. It is difficult, impossible, to measure the passage of time. It is pitch black.; I am unable to see anything. I wrap my right hand around my left wrist. It is gone. The watch Samuel gave me for my birthday two years ago. It is one of my few prized possessions. Pure gold. Navy face. My favorite color. Sam always knows what to get me. Most of my girlfriends complain about their men’s ineptness when it comes to selecting gifts. They all joke about how they wish Sam was theirs.

Wait. Forget about the watch. I do wonder how and when it disappeared. More importantly, how did I get here? How do I get out? Why can’t I remember anything between walking to the store and now? I know it’s a dream, but I’m not sure I know how dreams feel like. I’m pretty sure dreams feel real while you’re on them. This feels real, but can’t be. I feel around me. Up and left and right feel soft. Down feels soft and hard. I’m not sure how to describe it. It feels like the others, yet hard underneath it. I yell out various profanities. I am a high school teacher, and a mother of two. I rarely have a oral release.

“You asshole,” I giggle.

“Poo poo caca head.” My five year old’s favorite phrase.

“Fuck this shit.” I get bored after three sentences.

It’s only now that I realize that the sounds were muted. I think I had expected echo-like acoustics. I wonder is it caused by the soft sides. I have to idea as to what else it could be. I hear something else now. Voices muffled. I’m moderately surprised I can hear them at all. I recognize Sam’s immediately. I’m not sure, but it sounds garbled. Not because of the lack of transferance of sound from the outside. However he’s talking to are not garbled. Muted, yes. Garbled, no. Soon the other voices stop, and Sam remains the only one. He is crying. He has only done so a handful of times in the years I have known him. I want to comfort him, like he has me on so many occasions. My love. My dear.

“Why Claire? Why?” He sobs.

Why what? What is he talking about. I need to remind myself this is a stupid dream. No nightmare.

“Please don’t leave me. Please. Please Claire,” he begs.

I hear thumping on the top. Feel my place shake. More sobbing.

“Come on Sam.”… his father. Why is he here?

Then mine. “Sam. Hold onto us.”

My father has always been strong. I have no idea what’s happening.

“Sam. Claire loved you very much. Your dad and I are here. Lean against us. Come on.” Then my dad cracks and weeps and sobs. I hardly recognize it being him until Sam’s dad talks.

“August. Your child is gone. This is terrifying. Sam. Come on. Both of you sit with me. It’s a time for us to be a family.”

My dad and Sam never get on well. Nothing major, just different personalities.

I cannot believe what I am hearing. The three of them are together. Something hits me right between the eyes. Their language…

“Claire loved you…”
“August. Your child is gone….”

I panic. No. No. No. No. This a dream. Only a dream. Only as nightmare. If I were dead I wouldn’t be conscious. I don’t believe in a hereafter. It’s impossible. Could I have been wrong? Can you wake yourself up form a dream? I’ve never done that, or even tried. I don’t think I’ve ever controlled my thinking during a dream. Would I remember?

I feel movement. My box, no coffin, jerks once, and then starts moving smoothly. It takes me a few moments to realize I’m descending. It takes a few seconds without any visual cues. Oh God. I’m being buried. Fuck. I try to calm myself, but who the fuck would be able to calm themselves under these circumstances. Again I try to convince myself it’s not real. I lose control of my bladder and bowels. Yet nothing comes out. It is the strangest sensation. Another piece of evidence indicative of her demise.

Her continued descent made things more and more real. Increasingly intense and fearsome. Although she could not see anything she closed her eyes. It was a defense mechanism. An attempt to protect her fragile mind. If she had a mind at all.
The movement of the coffin stopped (she accepted that was what she was in) with a jerking motion. She heard something that was probably the ropes. Now that she was aware of her predicament guessing what things were was measurably easier.

Shortly after she hears what can only be dirt being piled onto of her ‘home’. She started gasping and gulping for air, although she admitted to herself that she likely didn’t need any. She could not tell when the burial concluded. She assumed she was six feet under, give or take. No one would be able to hear earth hitting earth that far above. She figured it didn’t matter.

A thought struck her. She had wanted to be cremated. She must be dreaming! Sam would never go against her wishes. They had discussed it many times. She also knew that if she were to go first he would find it very difficult to ‘burn her’ as he called it. What if he felt unable to cremate her? She felt instantly angry at and forlorn for Samuel’s predicament. She loved him hugely, and he her.

She spent hours lying there. Feeling hungry but knowing she didn’t need food. Thirsty. Itchy. Emotionally scared, resigned, angry, sad, resentful. Once again, the passage of time was impossible to gauge. Eventually she became exhausted. She doubted she’d be able to sleep. Can ghosts sleep? She laughed out loud. What a ridiculous ponderence. She wanted to pass out. Less time to lie there and think, worry, feel bored. Her eyelids became heavy. Blinking with increasingly longer times between opening her eyes. They stayed shut… And never opened again….

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