Premature Burial, by Jenn MMy palms sweat and my heart pounds just thinking about it. Premature burial. I know it's a silly fear but I can't help it. By the Gods, if people knew the King of Corinth was petrified of being buried alive, I'd become a laughingstock.  It's not as if it's never happened. I remember when I was about seven years old hearing about a woman it happened to.

She had fallen ill. Nothing the healers did helped her. She slowly wasted away, her muscles atrophying. Her skin became yellowed and waxy looking. Eventually she died. Or so they thought.

She was prepared for burial. Her body was wrapped in white cloth. After her family and friends said their goodbyes, they left her to be buried.

Imagine the poor louts that were left to this job. It was dark and they'd just finished digging the hole for the body. Her body was placed inside and they started replacing the dirt. A shallow layer of dirt covered her. A muffled scream was heard. The poor men, terrified a demon had possessed her body, dropped their shovels and hauled ass outta there. Later she was found wandering the fields. She had managed to claw her way out of the grave.

My fear started way back then. Herc teased me about it. I had nightmares for weeks. My mother chided me for being so silly. I drove her crazy because I was afraid to go to sleep. I was sure I wouldn't wake up the next morning and they would think I was dead.

I obsessed about it constantly. In my heart I was terrified I'd accidentally be buried alive. I made my mother and Hercules swear they would not bury me until they were positive I was truly dead. Mother would sigh and Herc would laugh at me.

Eventually I learned to keep my fear to myself, though it was always there in the back of my mind plaguing me. Every incident I heard abut someone being buried alive started the nightmares anew. Sounds foolish doesn't it?

When Rena and I married I shared this with her. I thought she would find me insane. She took it very well. She consoled me and swore she would make sure I was not alive before having me buried. For some reason I always thought I'd die before her. I had felt safe with her. She didn't taunt me or belittle my fears. Rena was understanding and reassuring. Through our marriage I didn't worry about being buried alive as I had before. I believed she would not allow that to happen.

When I found out my wife had died I was panic stricken. I wouldn't let them bury her for over close to two weeks. It was only after the smell of death came that I allowed it. Even today I occasionally wonder if I shouldn't have waited a little longer. A niggling little thought teases me that I may have buried her alive and she suffered in her grave.

Since Rena's death my obsession has grown. On the outside I'm the confident King of Corinth. I fear nothing. No one knows my secret.

At night though I can not hide from it. I awake in the dark, my heart pounding and my blood racing. My chest feels heavy and I gasp for air. I wake certain that I'm in a tomb and no one will hear my tortured scream: 'I'M STILL ALIVE!'

The End