70 A CALL FROM THE GRAVE  

jasonabadboy4u 30M
48 posts
6/17/2006 1:48 am
70 A CALL FROM THE GRAVE

70 A CALL FROM THE GRAVE
James was a highly respected physician with a degree from a prestigious college and an enviable position as medical examiner for a major metropolitan police force. He was also certifiably insane. Some people thought you'd have to be mentally sick to have the interest in pathology that James had. In the course of his work he had seen the worst: cult-style slayings, infancticides, gruesome suicides of every known type such as trying to cut your head off with a table saw, horrible deaths by burning and crushing--you name it, He'd seen it. But nothing prepared him for the case that drove him mad. It began like many of his previous cases, with a phone call in the middle of the night. The police had been called by concerned relatives to look in on an elderly woman whose phone line had been surprisingly busy each time they called for days. When she failed to answer their knocking, the police broke down the door to her house and found her inside, dead of apparently natural causes. Still, there were some irregularities at the crime scene that warranted the scrutiny of the medical examiner. The address that gave him was not in one of the usual pest holes where corpses were found in the early hours of the morning. It was in a surprisingly upscale suburban neighborhood. James was met at the door by a young cop with a sickly look on his face. The examiner figured him for a rookie, since rookies often got assigned to thankless details like this to toughen them up for street duty. The putrid smell in the house would have been enough to turn anyone's face green. James picked it up just inside the doorway, so it clearly permeated the entire house. The average person feels instinctive revulsion at the smell of death, and James trained nose told him that whoever the smell was emanating from had been dead for almost a week. He would want to know the last time anyone had spoken to or otherwise been in contact with the deceased. The smell grew more pungent as he was escorted up the stairs, and James quickly donned the surgical mask he carried with him on all of his calls. But it didn't help much. In the bedroom where the victim was found, the police looked no better than their partner at the front door. Once James saw the corpse, he knew why. Though the face had begun to bloat and mold from decomposition, he could still make out the look of sheer horror. The woman's eyes, although now sunken and dull, were wide open in fear. Her mouth was stretched in the Rigor mortis of a silent scream. In her hand, she still clutched the receiver of the telephone on the table next to the bed. James performed his preliminary examination silently, doing his best to avoid disturbing the crime scene. There was no sign of foul play or trauma of any sort to the body. An autopsy would be necessary, but James surmised that a heart attack was to blame. The woman hadn't gone easily. The look on her face said that something had literally frightened her to death. From the state of the tissues and the rigidly of parts of the body, James pronounced the time of death happened about a week ago. James jotted down the date in his pocket notebook. He would need it for the death certificate. Just then, he was informed that the deceased woman was the widow of a recently deceased man named George. That name rang a bell with him, as it surely would have with most doctors in the area. George, despite his renown as a wealthy businessman, had been a major hypochondriac and a Satanist. Even the most tolerant practitioners in town had dismissed him for his theories about life after death and from their practices once they learned the seat of his neurosis: he was pathologically afraid of premature burial. Given to fits of prolonged fainting as a young boy, he grew up convinced that someday someone would mistake his untimely death and he would awaken inside a coffin. Reassurances that modern mortuary science guaranteed no one would be interred who was not dead only agitated him more. His death fixation was now compounded by the fantasy that he would be powerless to prevent an unwitting mortician from cutting into his living flesh and murdering him on the mortuary slab. Anticipating the worst, George had commissioned a state-of-the-art mausoleum on his family's plot in the local cemetery. Supposedly, it was equipped with conveniences that would help sustain the life of anyone trapped inside it, should he need to avail himself of them. Construction had been completed not a moment too soon, as George had keeled over less than a day later at his office. James remembered: he had been the one called to make the official death pronouncement. The funeral held two weeks ago, had been a minor media spectacle which he remembered reading about. He was roused from his thoughts by one of the police officers, who strode into the room to announce that they had traced the last call that had gotten through to the woman. It had come from the nearby graveyard: George had apparently paid to have a private line direct to his house installed in his tomb. James felt his spine turn to ice. Had George somehow been revived from death, escaped his coffin, and called his wife from the phone inside the locked mausoleum? No! It wasn't possible. This had to be some kind of sick prank. He had signed George's death certificate. Maybe the family had foregone an autopsy. But would someone as neurotic and wealthy as George was insist that he not be embalmed? There was only one way to find out. At his instruction, all but two members of the investigative detail piled into a police cruiser and headed from the local cemetery. A storm was breaking, heralded by loud peals of thunder. Though the confines of the car were stuffy James, who senses the eyes of the other passengers on him, felt uneasily chilled. It was unthinkable that George was alive in his tomb, but if he had somehow managed to endure that short time after his premature burial, James's reputation and career were in jeopardy. George's mausoleum towered like a formidable Gothic castle above the broken row of headstones that surrounded it deep inside the cemetery. The door had been locked and chained, but the police saw no reason to wait for the caretaker to drive over with the appropriate key. Working by the light of a solitary flashlight, they pried the door open with the lug wrench from the cruiser's trunk. The groaning hinges of the door yielded reluctantly, and a nauseating stench wafting from the blackness on the other side of the doorway set each man back a step. Taking the police flashlight in hand, James walked cautiously through the partial opening. Several silent seconds later a thunderclap shook the grounds, and a slash of lightning ripped the sky, illuminating the cemetery with a strobe glare of unworldly sterile light. the police heard James's screams of terror a split second after. No one would say for sure what it was that James saw inside the tomb. But it was clear to all present that the gibbering maniac who stumbled out of the doorway was not the same man who moments before had walked carefully through it. The former cadaver physician is now locked away for his own safety in the psychiatric ward of the city sanitarium, trapped in the private Hell of his inarticulable thoughts. It is not possible to know what it is he screams about in the early hours of every morning, unless we credit the memory of the officer who claims to have heard the last coherent words he spoke as he emerged from George's tomb. " He really did die when I examined him. But he called his wife just days later! . . ." In a similar version of this story the widow receives a call from the grave on Halloween night or on April Fools.


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