Night Walk

I felt restless, so I got out of bed and out of the house. The night made the city a stranger, and I wandered. After some time, it came to me that I was lost. The buildings had an unfamiliar shape and the streets were named for people I’d never heard of. I felt a growing sense of disquiet. I found myself on the edge of a graveyard. In the gloom I could faintly see the rows of tombstones. I was compelled to enter.

I found myself first in the oldest part of the graveyard. The tombs here were wrought from marble and loomed over me, holding the remains of the first families to settle here.  As I continued to walk, they gave way to more modest stones and more ordinary lives.

Finally I came to an open grave. The yawning mouth of the pit was strangely familiar. I could barely make out the inscription on the stone, so I leaned towards it, and with a jolt of horror, I saw that my own name was written there!

I slipped on the crumbling damp soil and tumbled into the grave. I cried out in panic and thrashed about, but the sound seemed to be absorbed by the dark earth. I continued rolling around and screaming for some time, but eventually I became tired. I realised that the grave was still completely open so I stood and looked about for a way up.

It was then that I noticed something: the headstone didn’t actually have my name on it. Blast! I’d misread it, probably because it was the middle of the night and there were no lights in the graveyard. I made several attempts to climb out, but the earth crumbled through my fingers and I kept slipping back in.

“Hello?” I yelled experimentally. There was no answer. I had to wait until the funeral the next day before somebody noticed me and helped me to climb out.

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