Darrell: Introduction

This is an introduction to what I hope will be a full story someday soon! I’m not sure if I’ll post the story  online or not, as I am hoping to send it to in to a contest or two. This one is about as weird as the other stuff I post, and almost as gothy, so I hope you all enjoy it!

* * *

Darrell Fritz was a freelance writer with what you could call a rather unique problem. At least it was unique as far as he knew. He didn’t know anyone else who went through what he did every morning. If they did they probably kept it a secret, like he did, so they wouldn’t come off as completely insane. Darrell was already a rather strange looking man and it would have been even more difficult for him to be taken seriously if he tried to convince them of the truth. That truth being very simple. Every time Darrell Fritz fell asleep he would wake up in an open grave. It was a different one every time. They were almost always close to home; at most a they were a few hours drive away. Hearing this from anyone would sound strange. Hearing it from a shortish, dumpy, bald man with thick rimmed glasses certainly helped you develop a few extra opinions rather quickly.

The first few times this happened it was obviously terrifying. Darrell soon grew accustom to it however and started sleeping with a stepladder tied to his arm by a six foot rope. Unfortunately, on this cold October morning, Darrell didn’t fall asleep in his bed. Darrell instead decided it would be a better idea to drink an excessive amount of whiskey at a local bar with his friends and pass out on a toilet in a public washroom instead. He didn’t tend to carry his ladder with him in public in an effort to avoid awkward conversations. He did carry a leather messenger bag, however, with a laptop, notepads, pens, charging cables for his phone and computer, and of course a tape measure. He stretched his arms out wide and cringed at the pain he felt in his back after spending an entire night sleeping on cold, hard, dirt. He was kept warm enough by his leather jacket but his ears felt almost numb and he was eager to get out of this grave and get to a cafe as soon as possible.

He stood up, groaning with pain, and dug his tape measure out of his bag. He measured the dimensions of the grave. Two and a half feet wide, seven feet long, and eight feet deep. Of course he woke up in one of the deep ones when he was horrifically hung over and underprepared. He stood for a few moments after putting away the tape measure. He sighed, with his jaw slack and hanging low, and just stared off in to the distance. He hoped that somehow, if he just did nothing for a few more minutes, all of his problems would go away. This was, of course, not the case. So he sighed even louder and deeper before finally giving in. He stretched his arms as high as he could. They didn’t reach the top of the grave, of course, even if he stood on the very tip of his toes. He jumped. He stretched. He tried to run up the wall as though he weren’t some dumpy fool in a hole but instead was some sort of great acrobat. He fell flat on his ass and was grateful no one was there to see him.

His final and most successful attempt involved pressing his legs against one side of the grave and his back against the other. He slowly but surely shimmied his way up. His back hurt and the pain got worse as he was forced to hold himself at an incredibly awkward angle. He managed, however, to make it to the top of the grave. He got his arms above ground. He took a deep breath and tried to swing himself around so he could finally pull himself out. His body twisted around and he saw a man wearing coveralls giving him a rather horrified look. Darrell was surprised by this and one of his hands slipped causing him to lose his balance. He fell hard on to the ground on top of his bag. His hip crashed hard against the tape measure in his bag and he let out a yelp of pain. The man, likely an employee of the cemetery, appeared above him, leaning over the grave.

“May I ask how you got down there?” the man inquired.

“A rather heavy night of drinking, I think,” Darrell replied as he stood up. While not entirely false in this case he had been using this as an excuse any time he had been caught.

“Right,” the man replied. “I’ll get the ladder.”

Darrell sighed and leaned against the wall of the grave. His hip twinned with pain, likely bruised from the fall. He pulled his cell phone out of his pocked. It still had some battery life and was filled with notifications from his friends trying to find out what happened to him the night before. He was going have to come up with a hell of a story. He put his phone away just as the man was returning with the ladder. He let it down with a satisfying thud. Darrell climbed out and thanked the man.

“Just try not to do it again, alright?” The man said.

“Of course,” Darrell replied laughing awkwardly. “One quick question before I go, though. Uh… Where am I?”

“What do you mean?” the man asked, furrowing his brow.

“Oh god,” Darrells said, sighing and rubbing his forehead, “What town am I in?”

“Christ, you were pretty damn drunk, weren’t you?” The man asked. Darrell just nodded, and was too embarrassed to make eye contact. “You’re in Dundurn.”

Darrell’s eyes grew wide and he nodded as he thought to himself.

“Is that not where you’re supposed to be?” the man asked.

“It’s as good a place as any,” Darrell said. “It’s my home town. While I’m here I may as well say hi to the folks!”

“Right,” the man said. “You do that.” He walked away and grumbled to himself. Darrell left the cemetery and made his way out to the highway. This was not the best morning he’d ever had, but it was far from the worst.

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