Ghost Story - Silent Partner


Mike Spera

Part 4

Dominic began punching the roof of the coffin over and over again, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he was busting a few bones and making his knuckles a sloppy mess in the process, oozing formaldehyde for blood. He was a man on a mission, and we were both beyond the Point of Safe Return.

I added my strength to his, pushing his arm harder and faster for better results. The wood cracked in several places and took quite a beating before giving way; then came the avalanche of brown, flowing down on us like a waterfall, smothering us like a jealous lover.

At this point he began to panic a bit, scrambling vainly to stay on top of the oncoming dirt. I told him not to worry about it. He was worried that the direction he was digging wasn't actually up.

"Just keep digging," I said: "Keep going in the same direction. You're going to make it."


We eventually pushed Dominic so far up that when we reached up to grasp the next handful of earth, we felt nothing but cold air and a slight breeze. Dominic took a deep breath {Did I mention that old habits die hard with him?} and crawled out of the ground like a drowning man dragging himself onto a lifeboat, gasping for precious air the whole time.

He sat there for a few minutes, panting and brushing the dirt off of his arms, chest, and hair.

"Stop being so melodramatic. It's not like you were going to suffocate or anything."

He dragged himself to his feet, his body aching and stretching against the effects of time. His knuckles cracked, his shoulders popped, his vertebrae popped down his spine one by one, his kneecaps cracked when he stretched his legs. Overall, his body wasn't that much worse for wear - it was just a little rusty after being dead for about five years.

Now the two of us were presented with a slight problem. Dom was standing where he was buried, in his home town of Medford. However, Rosemary still lived in the old apartment she shared with Dominic {and all of those little things Dom still clung to} in Braintree, which was about 20 miles away. My companion was starting to wonder how we were going to get from point A to point B without having to walk the whole way.

"What's the shortest distance between two points?" I asked.

"A straight line?"

"Good. So what's the shortest distance between Medford and Braintree?"

Dominic was silent for a moment, puzzled.

"Route 93 South, dummy."

"The highway?"

"Of course."


Dominic's body stretched its bones, stiff joints, and atrophied muscles as he shambled towards the stone wall in the distance at the edge of the graveyard. We didn't hear any cars or see any headlights streaming down the road.

How late was it? The moon waned lazily in the sky, and the stars twinkled, but neither one of us could fathom how many more hours of night cover we would have. Dominic's body didn't look too bad, but still. In the day there would be people, and someone would eventually notice the stiff gait and odd smell.

The poor man had to really stretch his leg to get it up over the wall. It wasn't that tall - about three and a half feet - but it was still an effort for a ghost-animated corpse. But he got his right leg up and over and let the weight of his torso just sort of roll off the wall, taking his left leg over with it. He landed shakily, but on both feet. I told him that he was doing fine.

"It's like learning to walk again," he mumbled to himself.

"Well, the rotary to the highway isn't too far. Stay in the breakdown lane and stick out that withered thumb of yours to see if you can get yourself a ride."

"Wish we could just get a taxi," he suggested half-heartedly.

"Yeah, but with what money, Dom?"

"I know," he said, dragging one foot in front of the other as his shoes scuffed down the sidewalk.


Dom walked to the rotary without either of us seeing a single car. It must have been very late at night. He wandered out on the highway, trotting down the breakdown lane and hoping that some car in the right-hand lane would see him before he became roadkill.

Finally, a pair of headlights appeared on the horizon, although with the glare, it was hard to tell what lane it was coming from. The car sped by in a flash. Left-hand lane. Probably didn't even see us.

A few minutes later, another car passed. Dominic waved his arms trying to flag the person down, but to no avail.

"Show off some leg, Dominic," I snickered.

"Fuck you,"


A few minutes of walking in darkness, with only the sound of scraping shoes to accompany us, another pair of headlights coasted down the road, very close to the breakdown lane.

Dominic stopped, turned around, and started waving his arms as he backed away from the traffic. The gray Chevy Impala shot past him, but slowed down and came to a final halt in the breakdown lane about 100 meters ahead.

The driver honked two quick times, beckoning.

I pushed Dominic to run towards the car as fast as he could. He tripped and fell, scraping his knee on the asphalt, cursing. I just snickered inside.

"Getting used to walking again, buddy? You gotta walk before you can run."

Dominic shook off the pain and lurched towards the waiting car at a brisk but safe pace. When he got there, the window was down but the door was locked - the driver wasn't going to let him right away.

"What the hell are you doing, walking down the freeway like that? You an idiot?"

The guy was in his 50's or so, thinning dark hair, clean-shaven but with a day or two's worth of whiskers. He was dressed in nothing special or distinct.

"No, sir, my car got stolen in Medford," Dom lied, pleading with the driver inside: "I just got out of work and I'm trying to get home to my wife. It's been a long day; can you help me out and drive me a ways?"

"Where you live?"


The lock popped up on the passenger side door: "I'm only heading as far down as Quincy, but you're welcome to hitch until then."

Dominic opened the door and slid inside: "Thanks a bunch. Quincy is fine. I could walk or get a cab from there."

"Damn shame about your car, son,"

"Thanks," Dom mumbled. "I just really want to get home right now."


The clock on the dashboard read 1:37 am. Ozzy Osbourne was quietly audible out of the car's turned-down speakers. Dominic lay back and relaxed, mouthing Ozzy's words to his wife as the car took us towards Braintree, towards the most bizarre meeting Rosemary Taylor was ever going to have in her life.

"I could be right, I could be wrong, it hurts so bad, it's been so long," Dom whispered to himself in the darkness: "Mama, I'm coming home."


To Be Continued...