My head is pounding. I can barely breathe. I open my eyes, but see nothing but blackness. I try to sit. I cannot budge. Quickly, I begin to realize my worst nightmare has come true – I’ve been buried alive.
‘Okay, don’t panic’, I tell myself. I know I’m working with a limited supply of oxygen, and there’s no telling how long I’ve been unconscious, breathing it all up. I try to slow my breathing and regulate my heart rate. As my eyes become adjusted to the dark, I begin to feel around. I’m definitely in some sort of box – maybe a coffin? There’s nothing but raw wood beneath my fingertips.
I’m still wearing the last clothes I remember having on – a Harley Davidson T-shirt and denim jeans. Vaguely, memories began to filter into my mind, illuminating me on how I ended up in this forsaken situation. I’d gone out with a few friends to drink and watch the football game on the big screen at the bar. We might have had too much to drink and mouthed out to a group of older, Russian guys when they accidentally unplugged the set.
I remember following my friends out into the parking lot to face off with the men. The wet asphalt, scraping under my feet as I lunged to land a punch and then – nothing. I must’ve gotten knocked out cold, because the next thing I remember is waking up in this blasted box. I wondered, if I was still wearing my clothes, was it possible they hadn’t searched my pockets? With any luck, my keys would still be in there. Maybe I could somehow use those to escape.
I wriggle my hands down as far as I can manage and feel around. There! I can feel the edge of the cool, metal keyring sticking up out of my left front pocket. Ever so slowly, I inch the keys out and grasp them in my hands. Now that I have a tool, my brain goes into overdrive, trying to figure out the best way to put it to use. I decide to try brute force. Scooting down to the foot of the coffin, I maneuver myself until I’m able to reach the middle of the lid fairly easily.
I begin. BANG! Again. BANG! I thrust the pointy keys into the most vulnerable point of the box over and over. Finally, I manage to crack the wood. Flipping my shirt over my head to protect myself from the falling dirt, I quickly begin a repetitive motion of dig, dig, scoop. ‘I will prevail!’ I think to myself, pushing the dirt behind me and to the sides. I’m starting to make a little headway. I can almost fit my head in the indentation above, but bouts of lightheadedness are coming more and more frequently. I need to speed it up.
Taking carefully controlled breaths and holding them for as long as possible, I worked as fast as I was able. After what felt like hours, I was finally able to begin crawling upward, with only the soles of my feet left inside the box. I only hoped they didn’t bury me too far down. I took a deep breath and started climbing in earnest. Thankfully, the soil was still loose, so it was fairly easily displaced. Still, my lungs burned and I thought I would for sure die of suffocation before ever seeing the light of day again.
I’m sure I looked like the walking dead, crawling back from Hell. But, I made it! The dirt, dry and caked, cracked open above my head. I reached one arm out through the slim hole I’d made, and then the other. Pushing off from the ground, I lifted myself out of my would-be grave, taking a deep breath of fresh air. Looking around, I realized I was in my own backyard. I ran inside to phone the police, but, when they came to take my report, I could tell they thought I was making it up. I think I’ll stick to a nice, safe soda from now on.