Fun times over at Chuck Wendigs Terribleminds this week. The prompt is visual. Out of a bunch of bizarre stock photos we pick one and write a story based on the image. The thing is, these photos are at times so weird it is believed they will never be used for anything. So ya, you know that isn’t true.
You could say I picked an easy one. I mean seriously, a man in a casket with a woman making a sinister face. Well, it does follow a pattern, at least as far as the image goes…
Sparks Fly for the Dead
Jessica watched the rain blast against the window. The deluge looked no closer to letting up. “What are we going to do?” she asked. “Did you ask if they could post pone this till tomorrow?”
Rich paced around the coffee table. “Are you kidding? As much as they charged us to hold the body already, his insurance won’t pay a dime if we delay it another day.”
“Well, I won’t pay for it either,” she said. “This is crazy. No one will go to the cemetery for the grave side service in this.”
“I don’t think it matters,” Rich said. “No one is going to show up to the funeral anyway. You should have heard the comments when I called his family…”
“I hate to interrupt.” Mr. Gibs stepped into the room. “There are a few guests arriving. Would you like to greet them?”
“You have got to be kidding me,” Jessica said. She slipped her heels on and tightened the straps. “Fine, let’s get this over with.”
“Don’t over exert yourself, Jess,” Rich said. He followed Mr. Gibs into the hall. “She means well, really, she does.”
“It isn’t my place to judge,” Mr. Gibs said. “Death affects everyone differently.”
“I don’t know. Maybe this is strange since he was our boss,” Rich said. “The family doesn’t really care what happens to the body.”
“I have seen much worse,” Mr. Gibs said. He left Rich at the top of the stairs, still waiting for Jessica.
Rich wanted to be angry, really angry. But everything about this situation just felt surreal to him. George Anderson was young, at least he seemed young to Rich.
The man couldn’t have been more than forty-five. They way he died though, still gave Rich chills. Struck by lightning playing miniature golf, right next to the windmill. The man was dedicated to his work but still, what a way to go.
“Let’s do this,” Jessica said as she stepped into the hall. “We should probably keep the vultures from picking the body clean.”
A large woman with a faux fox wrap around her shoulders cut through the small crowd of people to approach Rich and Jessica. “Excuse me,” she said. “Do you work here? When they burying the bastard?” Though she stood a few inches shorter than Rich she managed to look down her nose at him.
“I’m sorry. We worked for Mr. Anderson,” Rich said. “We made the arrangements for today.”
“Chancy get down from there.” The woman yelled at a small boy in a sailor outfit, who climbed on the end of the casket. “Leave your father alone.” The little boy spit into the open end, a gob of snot infested spittle landed on the side of the dead man’s face. “Chancy, now you get out of there right this instant.” She pushed her way through the gathered crowd to pull the child from the casket by the neck of his shirt.
“Ex-wife Harriet?” Jessica asked.
“I believe so. This should be interesting.” Rich scanned the room. “You have any clue who any of these people are?”
“Honestly, I am afraid to find out,” Jessica said. “What do you think we should do?”
Before Rich could answer another woman accosted him on her way into the main hall. “Where’s the stiff?” she asked. “You work here?”
“We were Mr. Anderson’s assistants, before he passed on,” Rich said.
“Ya, so you didn’t do much then did you,” she said. The woman thrust her coat into Rich’s hands. “I need a drink. Where’s the bar?” She didn’t wait for an answer. “Henrietta, you cow. He finally bought it.” She giggled as she pushed her way toward the casket.
“We should get out of the line of fire,” Rich said. He placed the coat on a hanger and they circled away from the mourners in the main hall. They watched over the casket from the side hall. Though the rooms were connected like a V mourners tended to stick to the main hall.
Mr. Gibs stepped behind the podium and tapped lightly on the microphone. The reverb hadn’t been adjusted properly as the taps echoed through the speakers. His face turned bright red as he struggled to regain his composure. The interruption did little for the mourners as their conversations rose in volume to be heard over his attempt to restore order.
Rich glanced at Jessica and she motioned toward the podium with a nod of her head. She ignored his glare with an insistent nod toward the podium. “Fine,” he said. He shut the microphone off when he reached the podium and then shouted toward the gathered hangers on, “Shut the hell up!” Conversation ceased as collective views turned to him.
He nodded to Mr. Gibs who took over the podium again. Mr. Gibs voice carried through the hall without the mic. Monotone and dry, his speech had a calming effect on those gathered. Rich thought that the mic might have livened him up a little but with this crowed it was probably best to keep them sedated.
As he droned on no one noticed a new arrival at the back of the main hall. At least no one noticed until the shriek. Earsplitting, shrill, not even a word, the shriek careened through the hall and drew attention away from the speaker and the casket. The shriek morphed into a single word “George.”
Her black hat and veil flew off her head as she rushed to the casket. “George, George, Georgy,” she called as she ran. Black hair, and black dress meshed like a shadow to hide her face as she buried her head into the dead man’s chest. Muffled cries of “George.” Carried out of the casket.
The crowed murmured their disapproval and wonderment at the intrusion, though no one bothered to stop her. The woman flipped open the bottom half of the casket and climbed inside. “How could you, George?” she said. “How could you leave me? How could you leave me with… them?” She straddled his waste as she looked out into the group. “You never deserved him.”
Jessica leaned close to Rich. “I think that might be Josephine.”
“Do you think they know that he left his money to her?” Rich asked.
“Thieving bitch,” Henrietta said. “Get off my husband.” She dropped Chancy from her lap as she jumped toward the casket.
“I think they might know,” Jessica said.
The woman climbed out of the casket. “He hasn’t been your husband in years bitch.” She grabbed a heavy vase of flowers and swung them at Henrietta. The vase smacked her in the face and knocked her back into the seated mourners.
“So, you sure we want to do this today?” Jessica asked. “I mean with these people involved?”