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Rated: GC · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #2206461
Employees attend their boss's funeral and they are happy to see the back of him.
Mr. Dead

He'd been an angry man. Power hungry and domineering in life. Most of the mourners at his graveside were secretly glad to see the back of him.

The funeral attendees stood, dressed in their black suits and dresses, around the hole dug for the man who had made their lives a misery. Nobody there knew that the former boss of Inter County Electrical Trading had made the lives of each of the other employees miserable in the last months of his life.

All three of his staff had taken a pay-cut. Each had been told that their wages were being lowered to the same level as other members of the staff. If they communicated this cut, indicating their earnings had been higher than other employees, their lives would be over.

Two weeks before the cold autumn day of the funeral, he had announced to them all that the firm would be closing the following Friday, he couldn't continue running the business. Now they stood, unemployed and outside in the harshest weather September could throw at them, paying their respects to the man that made them and other people miserable.

No tears were being shed under the umbrellas. From none of them did the sound of sobbing emerge due to the grief they felt. The only showing of any emotion whatsoever was when the pastor finished his words and Kevin Albright spat out under his breath, "Good riddance to bad rubbish."

Nobody heard Kevin say this, but they were all thinking similar things. None of them had liked old Mr. Donaldson in the slightest.


After the service and burial, the ex co-workers went to pub next to the cemetery together. None of them had really had contact with the other colleagues outside of work in the past and they spoke as though they were strangers, learning about each other.

Kevin, Anna and Jessica didn't really have a chance to talk at work. They all had separate jobs to perform and their lunch and coffee breaks were scattered at different times so that there were always people staffing the shop.

Anna worked on the counter, serving people when they came in to buy things or collect orders. Jessica worked in the back office, taking orders and ordering deliveries. She also covered at the counter when Anna was on her breaks. Jeff was in the storage yard, collecting and loading deliveries and taking them into the shop or to vans when people came in to buy stored items. He'd cover for Jessica when she was on her breaks or covering for Anna. Anna would tell delivery men to come back later or wait when Kevin covered Jessica or was on his break.

All this complication was caused by Mr. Donaldson. A man they had only ever met on three occasions each. When they were interviewed for the job, when they received the news about pay-cuts and when they were informed they were to lose their jobs. Other than these appearances, Mr. Donaldson remained a mystery to them all.


The former colleagues sat drinking to pay their final respects to the man who had paid them their wages for over a year now. The pub was pretty crowded with regular drinkers, as well as with the funeral attendees who were all dressed in black. It wasn't the happiest looking crowd in history, but it didn't look as though they were all terribly upset about the passing of Mr. Donaldson. Those in black were no glummer than the regular drinkers.

The constant background noise of a chatting crowd was sometimes interrupted by a loud cackle of laughter. People wondered to and from the bar carrying drinks by the pint and the measure, the longer they stayed the more that was spilled.

Kevin stood at the bar waiting for his drinks to arrive. He was drinking bitter and the two girls were drinking red wine. He was surprised both were drinking wine, he'd always thought Jessica was a bit of a lad and would be a beer drinker. She looked a lot prettier today though, she really looked good in the black dress she was wearing. He'd only ever seen her in jeans and with her hair in a bun, with it curled she looked like different woman.

Kevin had fancied his chances with Jessica and knew she wasn't married. He had just found out though why she wasn't married, she had a girlfriend. This fact didn't put Kevin off her, although he fancied his chances less, he found Jessica had just become a lot more attractive to him.

Anna, with her long blonde hair and tight figure hugging dress looked the same as she always looked. Legs showing from just above the knee and high heeled shoes, she was very attractive. The put off for Kevin was the wedding ring on her finger. He was many things but he wasn't a marriage breaker.

His drinks arrived and he fixed his tie before going to sit down again with the two girls who were looking serious. He put the drinks on the table, sat down and rubbed his hand through his short black hair to get rid of the itch that always appears when the hands are otherwise occupied.

Anna thanked Kevin for the drinks and took a sip before saying, "Jess just told me that the boss cut her pay cut a few months back."

Kevin was about to tell her that his had been cut too, but she continued talking. "He cut my pay too, said I'd been earning more than you two and he wanted us to be equal."

"What an arsehole!" Kevin said before either of the women could continue. "He said exactly the same to me, said not to say anything or he'd lay me off."

"Me too," Jessica added to the conversation for the first time since Kevin had sat down.

"You know, I'm so fucking glad to see the back of that twat." Kevin was angry now. "No fuckin' wonder he didn't take on union members."

They looked at each other, each one of them with hate for the man showing in their eyes. They all spoke at the same time, "Good riddance to bad rubbish."

This was met with laughter, all of them finding the fact they spoke together in unison hilarious.


The hours passed and they talked none stop about so many things. They had worked in the same place for so long, but didn't realize due to working conditions, that they would all get along so well. They'd never had this opportunity to sit down and talk to each other.

The hours passed and the drinks flowed. Kevin had given up trying to persuade Jessica to like him through eye contact. It was as though she never even noticed and wasn't in the least bit interested in him in that way. He wasn't going to conquer a lesbian tonight and to be honest, he didn't care. He was enjoying the company of both girls.

Anna's phone rang numerous times. Her husband was wondering where she was and each time she rolled her eyes at the others telling him she was still in the pub with her colleagues, the later it got, the more and more regular the calls became.

The barmaid rang the bell behind the bar for last orders, shortly afterwards the bar began to empty out. Before long, Kevin, Jessica and Anna were the only people left drinking and the bar was deserted apart from the barmaid who hurriedly picked up glasses and wiped table.

"Drink up, were closing now." She said to the group as she cleared the table next to them.

They finished their drinks and headed out of the pub and waited in the shelter of the doorway, out of the rain, for a taxi.

To the right of them, the gates to the cemetery were locked by a huge chain. The tower of the church behind them looked like a darker patch of an already dark sky. Large tree branches hung over the surrounding walls blotting out light from the streetlamps that stood above them. The trees were also good shelter from the rain and as the barmaid locked the pub door, they ran over to them for shelter.


The traffic was thin on the road and with it being a Saturday, they all knew it could be a while before they seen a taxi with its indicator light on. They were usually all busy around the city centre.

The rustling of the trees stopped, a moment later the rain stopped too.

"The calm before the storm," Jessica giggled drunkenly to the others.

The cemetery gates rattled. They couldn't see anybody there on the outside to shake them. They all looked at each other and Jessica made a ghost noise. "Wooooo."

"Somebody must be locked in there," Anna said, "It's not going to be a ghost is it?"

She didn't believe in ghosts but this noise had freaked her out a bit, especially as it occurred right after the wind and rain had died down.

The gate shook again, harder this time as though whoever was behind it wanted to get out. They all looked at each other frightened as the chains began to shake again and then fell to the floor.

The two girls looked at Kevin, he was the man and they were letting him know it was his job to go and check what was behind there, in the darkness of the cemetery. Before the girls said anything that would make him feel small, he let pride get the better of him.

"Wait here, I'll have a little look," he said and flashed the two frightened looking girls a reassuring smile.

"Be careful Kev," Anna warned him, she really thought something was wrong here. Locks and chains don't open by themselves.

"I'll be fine," he told her and headed toward the gate in a not quite straight line and with a slight drunken swagger.

The girls noticed his drunken swaying and looked at each other and nodded silent agreement. They began to follow him to the gates. They didn't walk any faster than him, but Pythagoras was correct. Walking in a straight line, Anna and Jessica reached Kevin just as he reached the cemetery entrance.

They were all squinting their eyes as they struggled to see into the darkness of the cemetery. Now the rain had stopped and their eyes had adjusted, they could all see a little further than before when they left the pub.

"I can see someone!" Anna exclaimed and began to point though the gates at a white figure that she could see in the distance.

The other two look in the direction she finger indicated and Kevin focussed on the object. At first, he too though there was a person standing around in the shade of a tree near to the church building. After concentrating on it for a moment, the drunken blur in his eyes disappearing as he did so, he realized what it was.

"It's an angel," he told the girls.

Both of the girls turned and looked at him giggling.

"An angel?" Jess laughed.

"Really, Kevin," Anna said. "Next you'll be telling us it was fairies that took the chain off the gates."

With that the girls both burst into fits of laughter that echoed through the dark, windless night. Kevin wasn't laughing and made the girls laugh louder and harder when he tried to explain that what he saw was a stone statue, an old grave marker.

The gates shook. Gently at first, not making much noise, but enough to cut off the girls from their laughing fit.

They continued to shake, more and more violently. The rattling noise they mad grew louder the harder and faster they moved. It was as though somebody was hanging onto them, shaking them like a madman. Then, as suddenly as they had started shaking, they stopped.

There was a scraping noise against the ground being complimented by the squeak of rusted hinges, the sounds being amplified by the silence of the night. The gates were opening and they were opening by themselves.

The three of them looked at each other with fear clear in the expression on each face. Kevin noticed how pale the two girls looked and decided that he should say something.

"It's not raining now; let's go to the main road to get a taxi."

Both the girls agreed to this idea and they began to head away from the cemetery towards the pub and the main road. None of them looked back over their shoulders at the gates which still stood open.


A cold breeze began to blow from behind the trio. It wouldn't have been noticeable, but the fact it had been deathly still just a moment ago made the ice cold breeze feel stronger than it actually was.

It felt to Kevin as though icy fingers were grabbing at the back of his neck so he reached back to pull his collar up to keep the cold out. As he did so, his hands touched something that made him let out a small yelp. There were icy fingers grabbing at the back of his neck.

As soon as the yelp had left his lips, he felt the cold spread right the way around his neck, tightening its grip. He heard Jess let out a cry and turned to his right to look at her at the same time as he struggled against the fingers of ice that seemed to be attempting to strangle him.

Anna was nowhere in sight. He shook his head from right to left; she was nowhere to be seen.

He felt the fingers tighten again and begin to tug at him, trying to pull him backwards in the direction from which he had come. He attempted to pull himself free, work his way forwards away from whatever it was that tugged. It was useless, he could feel it pressing against his windpipe as he tried to work his way free. It would choke him if he tried too hard to escape.

He looked to his right and seen Jess struggling in the same way as he himself. She was choking and grappling behind her at some invisible force that had a hold of her, pulling her. Her heels began to scrape on the floor as she began to slide backwards in the direction of the cemetery. She began to scream and struggle a lot more. She was grabbing at whatever was there, but not getting a hold of anything but her own long hair.

Kevin felt his own feet begin to slide now, scraping across the cobble-stones that covered the old pavement outside the pub and the cemetery. He began to struggle, tried to grab at whatever was pulling him. He couldn't touch it and couldn't feel it with his hands, but the more he struggled, the tighter on his throat it became.

He was dragged into the cemetery backwards and then as suddenly as they had come, the icy fingers on his neck were gone. When they released him, he was dumped on the ground next to Anna and Jess. Both were stroking their necks, frightened and confused about what had just happened.

The cemetery gates in front of them now slammed closed and the chain rose off the ground and wrapped itself around the bars locking the gate.

Anna sat sobbing to herself, not saying a word and rubbing frantically at her neck as though the fingers had left a kind of dirt there. She was terrified and confused, but at the same time she was glad the others were here too, she thought she was going to be here alone when she was first dragged back.

She slowly stood and walked over to Jess who was standing in a state of confusion, looking around herself as if she didn't know where she was. Lost in a place she had been near to almost everyday of her life. Anna threw her arms around her and Jess held onto her, both sobbing and telling each other that things would be fine.

Kevin, as confused and scared as both of the girls, staggered over to the gates and looked out into the area where they were previously standing. He pushed at them and pulled at them. He pulled at the chain that was wrapped around them. Nothing happened, the gates stayed closed.

"Locked," He said quietly into the darkness.

He began to shake them and when they wouldn't budge, he began to tug at the chain. As he pulled and put mire energy into it, he began to get angry. He yanked at the chain and the gates rattled, but didn't open.

He began to kick the gates and pull at the chain at the same time. He then began to shout at them as though they would listen to him if he demanded it loud enough.

"Open for fucks sake," He shouted as he kicked shook and yanked at the gates. "Fucking open!"

With a final kick at the gates, he turned to the girls shouting. "They're locked... they're fucking locked. How the fuck can they be locked? "

His shouting was getting louder as anger built up inside him. He began kicking at the gate again; having no effect on the lock or on the fact the gates were closed. "How... The... Fuck... Are..."

Jess had come over to him without him realizing and put her arms around him, Anna followed close behind.

"Shhhh," she hushed him down his ear, trying to calm him.

Kevin put his arms around her and Anna and began to sob himself. "How the fuck can them gates be locked, we just...."

"Shhhh," Jess hushed him again.

Anna, with the arms of her two work colleagues around her, continued to cry. As she began to calm down she lifted her head and looked deep into the darkness of the cemetery thinking about the exact location of the other exit. In her mind, she pictured exactly how it looked.

"There's no gate," Anna whispered quietly to herself unconsciously speaking out loud.

"Huh?" Kevin raised his head and looked at her.

Realizing she had spoken allowed, she repeated her words. "There's no gate."

She looked from Jess to Kevin and then looked into the darkness of the cemetery again.

"The exit on the other side hasn't got a gate on it. We could get out that way."

Jess and Kevin looked at each other and when Jess nodded at Kevin, they both looked back to Anna. Without saying a word, Anna led them to the path that would lead them through the cemetery and out onto the main road on the other side.


The three of them stayed close together as they walked slowly along the path. The only source of light was that of the moon making visibility to safely walk without tripping difficult. Tree roots broke through the ground beneath there feet and old broken gravestones were also laid on the path unevenly.

A cloud must have covered the moon making the pathway darker still and slowing their progress even more. There was still no wind and the cemetery was completely silent. No sound of leaves rustling in the wind. No sound from the road outside the cemetery. It was dark, they were wet and above all, they were scared.

Anna, who was leading the way on the path, tripped over something and fell to the ground. Kevin, who heard her fall more than see it, leaned over to help her back up, but found himself falling to the ground alongside her.

He felt his ankle trapped in what looked in the darkness like an overgrown tree root that had broken the ground. He reached down to his foot to free it so he could help Anna to her feet and continue along the path.

The root moved in his hand when his fingers were around it, as though tightening its grip. He tugged at it but it got tighter as though proving its point that the foot would not be freed. Anna let out a cry from next to him and he heard Jess fall to the ground behind him, letting out a whimper as she hit the ground.

"Something's got hold of my foot," Jess said out of the darkness behind him, sounding rather cool for the moment.

He could hear Anna struggling against whatever it was that had her trapped.

"Anna?" he asked her, trying to look into the darkness to see what had him and the girls held to the spot.

"I can't get it off... I can't get it off my foot." Anna cried out breaking the silence of the cemetery with her shout. "Get it off me... get it off now."

Anna began to struggle. She grunted as she tried to pull away from her trap and Kevin could hear foliage on the ground sliding about as she struggled with her hands to find more grip.

"Oooow....It's hurting," the struggling woman called out obviously oblivious to her friends being trapped also. "Help me. Please, help me."

There was a chuckling sound from out of the darkness and then whatever chuckled began to cough. Kevin was scared even more and began to struggle himself, pulling at whatever it was that held his foot. He tried to grab onto it with his hand and pry it up but it wouldn't budge and the more he struggled, the tighter it got around his ankle.

"Jess?" Kevin asked the girl he could hear behind him. She had begun to struggle now too.

"Hold on, I'm still fucking stuck." She replied. "It's getting fucking tighter."

More chuckles came out of the darkness, closer this time, right next to the path. The coughs that followed the chuckling were followed by what sounded like footsteps on gravel.

Kevin began to struggle even more and tried to jerk his foot free instead of trying to pry it out of its trap. He felt whatever held his foot move once again, tightening its grip around his ankle and making a pain run down into his heel.

The clouds moved out of the way of the moon and a grey light began to flood the path, brightening up the cemetery and revealing the traps that held them all by the ankle.

"No, it can't be," Jess said out loud although she only meant to think it.

The thing that trapped her foot moved again. The fingers of the grey hand that protruded from under the ground adjusting to increase the grip it had on her ankle.

Jess began to scream. She was screaming out of fear of the situation. She screamed out of the fear of being trapped and she screamed because her whole world, her whole reality, had just been destroyed by the vision of what was holding her to the spot.

Anna looked up from her own struggle when she heard the screams Jess released. She seen the hand holding Jess around the ankle and looked and seen exactly the same thing holding Kevin. She also began to scream and shout for help. She began to struggle too, not caring about the pain the hand inflicted on her ankle as she tried to pull away.

Kevin was filled with panic, the screaming of the girls increased the fear within him and his own struggle increased as did the grip of the hand around his own ankle.

Anna's screams suddenly became muffled and the sound of her struggling stopped. Kevin turned and looked in her direction and seen two more hands poking out of the ground. One had grabbed Anna's hair and the other was reaching around to the back of her head and pulling it tight to the floor.

He heard the chuckling sound again and the coughing almost directly down his ear. He felt the breath from whoever it was on his cheek and swung his head around to see who it was.

Nobody else was there and he was looking directly at Jess. Another hand was coming out of the ground behind her and he called her name too late. It grabbed her hair and pulled her head to the ground with a thud.

She struggled as she lay on her back. Her screams seemed more desperate and impossibly, more full of fear. Another hand rose from the ground and grabbed her around her face, covering her nose and mouth stifling her high pitched cries.

He felt warmth on his ear and heard the chuckle again.

He spun his head around expecting to see hands protruding from the ground ready to grab him. Instead he was looking into a set of eyes looking directly into his own.

He jumped backwards away from the owner of the face that was watching him. Smiling and letting out the odd chuckle, Mr Donaldson looked from one woman to the other, both pinned to the ground struggling and trying to scream.

The dead man, the former employer of the three of them, looked back at Kevin still smiling. When he seen the panic on Kevin's face, he began to chuckle and then began to cough. Once the coughing had stopped he spoke.

As the dead man spoke, Kevin felt something grab him around the neck and pull him backwards so he was trapped lying down on the ground. Before he had a chance to cry out, his mouth was covered, allowing him to breath, but holding him pinned to the spot, flat on his back.

He heard footsteps as the dead man moved about to each of the prisoners he held in the cemetery speaking as he went. The gravel crunching under his feet as he looked Kevin and Jess in the eyes from above and he looked down at the back of Anna's head and the hand holding her.

"Couldn't keep your mouths shut about pay-cuts." He began to cough. When he stopped he continued. "You couldn't keep them shut..."

He began to chuckle as he picked a log up from the ground and showed it to the two that could see what he was holding.

"I told you not too or I'd end your life. Did you think I was joking?"

Coughing again, he walked to Anna who was still face down, raised the log above his head and, just as the log began to fall to hit her, the clouds covered the moon and left them in complete darkness again.

Kevin heard the thud and heard Jess begin to struggle with more fear. He heard another thud and then another thud. He began to try and pull away himself. He heard footsteps on gravel coming closer to him, the coughing now directly above him.

It was quick; he felt only an instant of pain as the log met the side of his head, his skull instantly crushed on impact.

Jess heard the thud from right in front of her where Kevin had lay and could no longer hear him struggle. She heard another slam of the log as it met Kevin's head again to be certain he was dead and then heard the crunching of gravel get closer.

There was another chuckle. Another coughing fit. There was only an instant of pain and Jess never heard the sound as the log met her directly between the eyes collapsing her entire face inwards.


Mr. Donaldson walked away from the bodies strewn on the path that were no longer held by hands coming from the ground.

"You'll never let me down will you?" He said into the cemetery.

A wind blew across the church grounds for the first time that evening, shaking the trees and raising the dried leaves from the ground with a rustling sound.

The clouds once again moved away from the moon and the dead man smiled when he looked back and he seen the bodies on the path behind him.

He lay on top of the earth under which he was buried earlier in the day and said, "I knew it. You're the best employees I have ever had and you work for free."

He chuckled to himself and this was followed by another coughing fit, as numerous grey hands reached out from around the graveside, grabbed onto him and pulled him under the ground back to the depth of his coffin.

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