DUST TO DUST

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"Lying with her, eyes closed, hands folded over his chest and as dead as a doornail, was the undertaker himself. "

“Having been found guilty of the crimes of forgery, extortion and embezzlement, I hereby sentence you to twenty-five years in prison, without an option of fine. I rise.”

Despite knowing she deserved the jail term, Theresa was devasted. She did not want to go to prison! She had hired the best lawyers, appealed severally and now, her last hope, the supreme court, had turned her down.
Even before stepping within the four barbed-wire topped walls of the maximum security prison, she was already planning on an escape.

3 WEEKS LATER
Theresa had hit on an escape plan! You see, in the prison, everytime someone died, which was often, thanks to gang wars and territorial disputes etc, there would be a piercing whistle. First thing Theresa did upon entering the prison yard was to chummy up to every guard and official. Luckily enough, she was also friends with the undertaker.
The undertaker, a soft-spoken, fair complexioned individual would, after blowing the whistle, deposit the corpse in a coffin to be buried outside the prison gates. Then he would leave to arrange for a hearse to carry the coffin, before leaving with the body.

Theresa’s brilliant idea was to sneak into the coffin, then she would be buried with the body outside the walls. Later on, the undertaker would come and in the dark of night, dig up the coffin and break her free.
She promised him a lot of money if he would go with her plan. Prison work doesn’t pay much, you see, and the undertaker had a lot of responsibilities. So despite his misgivings, he agreed.
And they planned on a coffin with an air vent, a compartment at the top to keep a sandwich, a bottle of water and a flashlight. She arranged for him to get the money and the coffin and created and kept aside.

AFTER A FEW MORE WEEKS
One dark, rainy afternoon, there was another fight in the prison yard, and Theresa knew her day of escape had surely come. Sure enough, after clearing the prisoners and subduing them, there was a piercing whistle. Quick as a flash, Theresa got out of bed, sneaked out of her cell and made her way to the undertaker’s room. She saw his shadowy form leaving the room and grabbed the sandwich out of his lunch box which was sitting on the table. She also took his bottle of water, got into the coffin with the corpse, stowed them in the compartment, closed the lid and settled for a long wait.

Sure enough, the undertaker came back, nailed the coffin shut and it was lifted and transferred into the hearse. Theresa did a little dance as she felt the hearse rumble down the prison road. Free! Free at last!!
After a pause there was a soft thud, of dirt hitting the coffin’s lid. Slowly, it continued until it faded away.

A couple of hours later, Theresa had gotten bored just lying there in the darkness so she retrieved the flashlight from the compartment. After playing around with the beam of light for a while, she turned the light to see who her ticket out of prison was.

The flashlight dropped to the coffin bottom and Theresa let out a long blood-curling scream that was sadly confined to the coffin.
.
.
.
.
Lying with her, eyes closed, hands folded over his chest and as dead as a doornail, was the undertaker himself.
Her hope, and salvation.

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