Sunday, 31 May 2015

Malevolent Manic Creg's Misadventures at Mating


"Dear God in heaven above - what on earth have you done in here Creg?"

Creg meeped meekly in startled reply to his mother's rantings. He made no other response for fear of dobbing himself in.

"It smells like an old man has died in here. It smells like... have you been eating those frozen Aldi meatpies again Creg? I told you they have horse meat in them and they're only good for the neighbour's cat!"

Creg was sitting at the desk in his room wringing his hands anxiously. He'd only just finished explaining to his female guest, who was sitting on the bed opposite him, that the reason he'd had to duck out of the room so suddenly was to check on a family emergency, when suddenly his mother had started ranting loudly about his toilet habits.

"They're spiced anyway- you know you can't have spicy things Creg, it plays havoc on your bowels!"

Creg stared at the floor, unable to bring himself to make eye contact. "Oh Goddd," his mother groaned from the toilet.

The excuse that Creg's guest had been attempting to think of for the last thirty minutes, now seemed irrelevant. Without a word she stood up from the bed and walked straight out of the room without giving Creg a second glance. The noise of her feet rapidly alighting the staircase were muffled by Creg's mother coughing and spluttering and flushing the toilet. A distant bang of the front door closing was the last Creg ever heard from her. It was followed by a sad sigh from a toilet air-freshener blowing his dreams away.

He placed his head on his desk and closed his eyes. His rating on his Datr app was surely just seconds away from going down another point now. No one would ever agree to a date with a perfect 0 rating. It was all his mother's fault. He had just a few moments to book another date before the nails were hammered into his coffin. He took out his phone and began swiping furiously, his mind racing with ways he could take care of or at least distract his mother. His fingers stalled, his brain suddenly going quiet. Staring back at him was the most beautiful vision he'd ever seen. Her nickname was GORY HOLE but she had the face of an angel. He clicked her to begin a conversation.

"Hell I am Creg," he tapped away without proofreading and pressed send.

"OOPS - I O U N O" he sent.

"Not that kind of O, just an o letter."

"Not that I'm a guy who couldn't or wouldn't give you an O or anything."

"Because I'm very good at it."

"Based on other's opinions, not my own."

"But also my own opinion is that I'm good too, obviously."

"Objectively speaking... not attempting to toot my own horn or anything."

"I definitely don't toot my own horn. Hopefully you will do all the tooting of my horn for me."

The car crash of messages continued for a few more minutes until finally he received the reply:

"Smith Street Park, 10PM".

Creg gulped and put on his trainers. He'd barely have enough time to play a few hours of Football Manager before then. What on earth would he talk to his date about if he hadn't gotten a good game in by then?

It was a dark night, the moon was waning, a thin sliver of silver hung overhead, but it lit no path. Creg could barely see three feet in front of himself, but he knew the park well. He used to come through it after school to visit his father's grave in the cemetery adjoining. Back before he decided his father was to blame for just about everything that was going wrong in his life, but mainly for leaving Creg alone to deal with with the ever increasing psychosis of his mother. He'd walked through this same park on the way to the cemetery with his father once. His father had said to him, in oddly sage words, "I'll be here one day Creg." Creg, being about seven going on eight at the time hadn't really followed, "you mean you'll get a job here one day, Dad?"

His father laughed, "we all end up here one way or another son. Not to work, no. Perhaps in fifty years, when I'm ninety, you'll come here and lay flowers by my grave. Just like I'm doing today for my father."

Creg felt sadness and impending doom enter his tiny nearly eight year old heart. "And mum?"

"Yes, mum too in time, though she'll outlive me that's for sure. Women always outlive men."

"So Charlene will visit me when I'm gone?" Creg looked at the hill, it was full of weary, well-worn and well-weathered headstones, scraping against the skyline. "I hope no one forgets where I am, there's a lot of graves here."

His father smiled. "Creg, just because a person dies and their body gets buried in a grave here, doesn't mean they'll always stay here. I expect my father is out there exploring the unseen universe. I doubt he's even had time to pop in and check on your grandmother. Your grandfather always had distant eyes, a wanderer's heart and an adventurous soul."

This was a lot for Creg to take in. What he managed to pick up on though, was that Grandpa's ghost was right now wandering the universe spooking people. He shivered then, just as he did now, walking through the park in the dead of night.

He zipped his jacket up as the wind began blowing and stumbled his way through the darkness. There was a whispering sound behind him. He stopped, looked back, but couldn't see anything. It seemed to stop as he looked. "Hello?" Creg called weakly into the blackness. The sound of footsteps and scraping came from his right, he walked towards it, stooping his neck and looking, repeating his earlier call, "Hello?"

The footsteps stopped, but the scraping continued. Creg stepped carefully over the graves. His greatest fear was that he'd offend one of the bodies by walking over them, and their ghost would haunt him in revenge. "Hello?" Creg called again. He thought he could make out a fire burning in the distance and headed toward it. "Hel-" Creg felt the ground disappear below him. He screamed as he fell, imagining himself falling into the waiting arms of some well decayed zombie at the bottom of a tomb. He hit the ground hard against his left hip and began rolling and groaning in pain.

A cheer rang out, voices began calling to each other. "Did we get him?", "we totally got him!" Creg managed to silence his whimpering and stretch out his arms and legs around himself. He could feel walls around him. Four walls of dirt. He struggled to his feet by pushing against the crumbling earthen wall. The thin sliver of moon came into view, giving him an idea just how far he'd fallen. About six feet, he surmised, clutching his injured side. That was about twice his own height, there was no way he was getting out of here in a hurry. He dropped to his haunches and pressed himself against one of the walls as the footsteps and voices grew nearer. Shadowy figures appeared around the edges of the open grave, peering down at him. He shut his eyes, fearing the whites of his eyes would give him away; his breathing slowed to a pain inducing pace.

"Is he in there?" a male voice asked.

"Oh he's in there," said a second male's voice. "I heard him screaming all the way down and heard the thump when he hit the bottom."

"What if he's dead?" said a girl. "He could've broken his neck."

"Doesn't matter, the blood will still be fresh enough... I think... shit... well obviously I hope he's not dead. OI MATE, ARE YOU DEAD?"

Creg remained silent, eyes closed harder than ever. He was holding his breath and pressing himself desperately flat against the wall. Blood? What did they want his blood for? Suddenly there was laughter. Creg let himself peel one eye open just a crack. He was blinded by a torch beam, causing him to open both eyes and blink stupidly in fear. They were all watching his courageous display and laughing. Suddenly the light went out and Creg couldn't see anything. Panicked he began yelling at the top of his lungs, "HELP, HEEEELP, HEEEEEEEEEELP." The laughing stopped.

"Shut up kid or, or we'll... we'll fuckin' kill ya!"

"HEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!"

"KID SHUT UP OR I'M GUNNA...."

"HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!"

"Just dump the chicken blood on him! That'll shut him up!"

"HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLPLAAARRRGHHHH!!!! PLARRHRHGHGH!!!"

"Quick chuck in some of the dirt on top of him!"

Suddenly the walls felt like they were caving in, drenched in blood, flailing his tiny little arms, Creg continued to scream as rocks and dirt rained down upon him.

"Fucks sake, let's get outta here before someone comes. Fucking hell what a fucking wimp!"

Creg screamed and screamed until he couldn't scream a second more. Still no one came to his rescue. He struggled to get out but couldn't climb the walls. He tried putting his hands on one wall and his feet on the other and climbing out horizontally, like some kind of extreme mountain climber, but he was too short and the walls crumbled away too easily. He checked his phone, the screen was shattered from the fall, the light came on but he couldn't make out a single thing. He soon resigned himself to the fact he'd probably die down there. They probably wouldn't even notice his malnourished corpse in a week or so, when they dropped the casket in on top. He'd just become an unmarked grave under Mrs Betty Winthrop or whatever. He began to sob.

Hours passed as Creg drifted into and out of fits of nodding sleep. Occasionally he tried to call out for help, but his voice was still too hoarse. After what seemed to him an eternity, the light of morning began to spread across the sky above. It brought him scant hope of being found. It just proved to him just how deep he was, as he could now better see the crisp linear outline of the hole cut far above. It was then, as he scanned the edges of his prison, that he noticed two shoes hanging above him. He squinted at them, trying to make sense of what he was seeing, but it was still not bright enough. "H-hello??" Creg meeped quietly, unable to call out, The shoes didn't appear to move, just hung there out of reach. He moved away from them to get a better viewing angle and saw that they were attached to legs. Someone was sitting above, dangling their legs right over the grave, and right over him. "heerrrppp-meeeee!" Creg tried to call, his voice rasping. Receiving no reply, he tried to jump up and reach the shoes to tap the person. No matter how many horrible noises he made nor how high he jumped he couldn't make the person aware of him. In a last ditch attempt he took his own shoes off and threw one at the legs. "Ow, what the fuck?" a girl's voice cried out. Suddenly the light of a phone was peering down at Creg. "Hhhhhheeeeeellllllppppehhh," Creg called back huskily, looking up at her covered in dirt, large amounts of dried chicken blood and scratches. His arms were out pawing at the dirt walls below her.

Creg heard a loud scream, the word zombie, and the sound of those shoes he'd seen, running quickly back to the path and disappearing. Tears ran down his face and left skin coloured streaks as they washed away his detritus. What would his father think if he was looking down on him from heaven now? He was only buried nearby, though Creg couldn't tell exactly where he was after changing direction several times last night. His father could be the next grave over for all he knew. This horrified him a little, but also gave him an idea. To dig himself out via a tunnel on an angle he could ascend. He began ploughing his fingers and nails into the earth, sheets of dirt fell away around his feet. He cried as he dug, his nails bending and breaking away. It wasn't long of this cry-shovelling, before Creg heard noises above him. His hopes of raising anyone by this stage were completely dashed so he simply continued digging, oblivious to the crowd that was gathering. A news crew, two police officers, and a local nosey parker were peering down at his tiny body, thrashing away pathetically at the side of the grave.

"Reports of a zombie in the cemetery this morning, turns out to be local hooligans tipping headstones and having what looks like- satanic rituals - more after this," the news anchor reported in serious tones with a finger in one of her ears. The camera man shifted from the reporter to begin filming down the hole at Creg. "Ad break guys - three minutes," yelled the producer. "I want a shot of the fire and the dead chickens, I want an interview set up with one of the police to see what they plan to do about the kid in the hole - he's clearly the ring leader of the whole thing. We'll call him satan's moleman - no - mammon's moleman... the body burglar... no, the Redditch rooster ripper...?" he trailed off and then threw up his hands in defeat, "we'll think of something!"

"And we're back in 3!... 2!"

"The Redditch cemetery, a quiet place of solitary reflection, a tranquil place for mourning, now being invaded by satanic cults practising occult rituals." The producer fist pumped off-screen,as the anchor started her spiel - he began mouthing "CHI-CKENS" energetically at the cameraman to get him to move the camera around. "... as you can see they've left a trail of destruction in their wake. A satanic bonfire, used to sacrifice animals, as you can see, chicken carcasses are literally strewn all around us...." MOLE-MAN he began mouthing and pointing at Creg's tomb. "... the leader of the death cult has been cornered by police in one of the open graves this morning. The leader, known only by his alias - Beelzebub's Badger, is right now attempting to tunnel away from police and interfere with another grave." The camera panned down to Creg, zooming in on his futile efforts. "We'll have an exclusive interview with the police who were first on the scene in a matter of moments."

"CREG! CREG, YOU GET OFF THE TELEVISION THIS VERY INSTANT! DO YOU HEAR ME?" Creg stopped, the familiar voice had rattled down his spine and rendered him paralysed. "YOU, WITH THE CAMERA, STOP FILMING HIM. HE'S NOT A SATANIST, HE'S A VERY NAUGHTY BOY!"

The cameraman spun around to take in Creg's irate mother spouting off. The anchor stood, mouth slightly agape, before coming to her senses. "Are you the boy's mother, do you care to say something about why he's in a cult? How could you have brought him up to be like-" Creg's mother snatched her microphone. "LOOK HERE," she addressed the audience, "you should all be watching the Sunday Hour and Songs of Praise instead of this rubbish." She dropped the microphone and kicked the cameraman in the testicles, then turned and walked over to the police who were still standing around the grave wondering what to do with Creg. "I want you to leave him in there," said Creg's mother. "I want him to stay in there until he's had a good long bloody hard think about what he's done to this family."

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