All you know is the peaceful tranquility of sleep, a never-ending sequence of dreams, each better than the last.
That is, at least, until you feel that slight tugging at your mind.
Go away! You will it, and for a few moments, it works.
But then it comes back stronger than ever. And slowly, painfully, you feel yourself dragged from the world of the resting dead back to the world of the living, forced into the leathery shell that once served as your body. Coughing up a cloud of dust, you open your rheumatic eyes, blinking slowly to begin the accumulation of fluids so your poor orbs can see without a fiery haze descending over your gaze. Looking back and forth, you see your deep in the earth, your simple wooden coffin having been broken, a rope tied around your upper torso having served as a winch to pull you up and out of your final resting place. Standing high above you is an old man missing several teeth and a young boy, both staring at you in wonder. The old man is holding the other end of the rope.
“Why have you woken me?” You rasp, hacking on the dirt that has gathered in your throat from years of being buried.
“Y-you, you were Harold Weinstein, correct?” The young boy asks.
You look down for a moment, wracking your worm infested mind for what your name had been. Harold, yes… Harold! Harold Weinstein had indeed been your name!
You look up and stare at the young boy. “Yes, I was. I mean, I am!”
“We dug you up to learn where you buried all of your gold,” The old man says, catching your attention. You look up at him and give him a gimlet eye. The greedy opportunist… waking the dead from their peaceful slumber for a little bit of coin! The nerve!
You reach up, your arms now withered branches with vine-like muscles coiled around them, and grab hold of the rope. “Why not come down and I’ll tell you myself!”
The old man teeters as you pull hard on the rope, dragging him partially into the grave. The boy cries out in surprise, moving to help the old man, who has dug his heels into the soft earth, refusing to budge an inch. You loosen your grip on the rope, laying back in your coffin, smiling up at them.
“That gold is mine and mine alone, I see no reason to share it with the likes of you!” You spit, a stray tooth flying from your rot filled mouth. No matter, you have plenty where that came from.
“What would you want in exchange for the gold then, eh? A bargain perhaps?” The old man offers, looking down at you quizzically.
“Some company would be nice… to have someone buried alongside me would be splendid.” You honestly answer.
“So a woman?” The boy asks, looking a little green at the thought.
“And be nagged for eternity? No thank you! I want a person I can be friends with, someone I can bond with. A trustworthy soul that doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty, nor minds the living dead.”
The young boy didn’t even see it coming, the shovel being swung into the back of his head, knocking him into the grave. You jump in surprise, staring up at the old man as the young boy lands with an undignified thump. He’s bleeding from his ears, and one of his eyes, not really a good sign for his good fortune or health.
“There you go! One person to keep you company. He’s a right hard worker he is, and doesn’t mind the dead. Now how’s about you tell old Willy about the gold, and I’ll bury you both back up, safe and sound, huh?”
You reach forward and grab the unconscious boy, dragging him closer to you. You grab a hold of his head and pull it back checking his teeth and gums, before inspecting his arms and legs. You finally look up at the old man, this Willy, and smile at him a worn leathery grin.
“The gold is buried in my coffin, a large satchel tied off with a belt. If you want it, come and get it!” You cackle, seeing Willy’s face darken in hue as he realizes he’s been tricked. You reach forward and drag the dead boy even closer to you; he’ll serve as a fine guest for the next few years, at least until the worms are through with him.
Clumps of dirt rain down atop you, a swearing Willy shoveling the grave closed. Looks like he doesn’t want to come on down and try for the gold.
Sliding back into the broken hole in your coffin, you drag the boy along with you, breaking several of his bones as you tug him through the narrow hole.
“You’ll love it down here m’boy,” you say, settling him next to you in the coffin, his head resting on your matted pillow. “Nothing but rest, relaxation and rot.”