Lightning slashed the skies as thunder shook the library. Fear hung in the air; the very scent of it had caused a panic attack, sending him half-crazed into a corner when the power out went two hours before.
He was okay.
He searched through the darkened isles of books for what he was hoping to find. He knew if he found a cube, he was done for… but an envelope was going to be directions to another place.
Was he really this dumb to follow directions on a piece of paper? It seemed so, as he approached the table and found a blank business-sized envelope; sealed as usual. It was smudged with dirt, as though the person who put it there couldn’t have been bothered to wash their hands.
Paul picked it up. As he moved it, he could smell the soil – the garden – on the paper. It was getting all over his hands. He hated this smell now… it disgusted him to the point he was trying not to gag each time he saw this on paper of any kind. He opened the envelope – it didn’t tear, showing it had only been seal recently – and out fell a slip of paper. He unfolded it and there was a single word scrawled on it: Undertaker
‘What the hell?’ he thought as he read it again and slotted it back into the envelope. Where the frigging hell was he supposed to go from here? Paul walked to the front of the library, where the front desk was left silent and empty, went past it and around to his left, down the stairs and out to the back where , huge floor to ceiling windows had been fitted into the massive study to overlook the park and half the town. The storm raged outside as he stood leaning on the back of one of the lounges not knowing what the hell to do.
The last clue in a long line of many had one word and it was ‘Undertaker’. He had to remember that he was the last one alive out of a group of twenty people and he was going to get the hell out of this town alive – and with his soul – if he could, if he didn’t come across a cube in the next day or so that sang to him that is. Besides, he had run out of food a day or so ago and he needed to go scavenging after the storm broke and see what there was available that was still good enough to eat.
Then he had it! Undertaker = graveyard = cemetery!
“Oh crap!” he grunted as he pushed himself off the back of the lounge and knew there was only one cemetery he knew of that was inside the town and one outside it. He needed to be ready – armed – so that he could take on whoever this Undertaker was. But that would be tomorrow. He sat in one of the lounge chairs and listened to the rain.
He opened his eyes in the morning to sunshine, and dread within his heart. Before long, he was on his way to the cemetery. But first, he thought to try the funeral home – the only one in town. This place was a lot smaller than he thought; as it was a large house and it creeped him out immediately and he hadn’t even gone inside yet. But there was no Undertaker there.
So, he walked to the cemetery nearby and found its gates were wide open with a sign taped to it: ‘I’ve been waiting Paul’
As he stepped inside, the day quickly turned to night, chilled down and the street lights turned on. He hesitated, looked over his shoulder in the hope that the daylight would still be outside the gates; but he was wrong. He turned, walked inside the gates and, as he cleared them, heard them close behind him; sealing him in.
He didn’t get far when he saw a large, metre square white cube. His gut turned cool at the sheer sight of it; knowing that if he heard music, he was screwed!
“So, a white box scares you more than me?” a voice whispered by his ear.
He spun to find a tall, pale, imposing man standing next to him, “You know what the cubes do, right?”
“Soul-takers.” He whispered, “Sing songs, shows you something from home and while you are hypnotised, you’re fried.” He smiled, “Not a pretty way to go.”
“So, why are you tracking me?” Paul glared at him.
A sickly grin of knowing pulled up the face of the man, “Because, Paul, you are the last one alive. You are the one who I have been looking for and you have won.”
The Undertaker put out a bony hand, “Well, the prize to be my right hand man for eternity.”
Paul started to laugh, “It’s the money, the box … or the door!”
“What door?” he asked.
“There’s always three choices in game shows; and this was one big, sick, horrible game of yours.” Paul said, “What is the third choice?”
“There is none.”
“Okay… you want to know!” the Undertaker shouted at him and when Paul didn’t answer, he shook his head, “Crap, you want to know. You are stuck here and you die… there’s you’re lucky door prize choices!”
Paul was dumb-struck… he was screwed no matter what he chose. But he didn’t want to be with this prick for eternity. From his right, the cube began to sing to him. He turned toward it.
“No!” the Undertaker grabbed his arm, snapped Paul’s head around, slicing his neck open and drank deeply. He needed a new right hand man, and Paul was it!
“Because, I was you at one point, human… and this is a far better choice than any other. Besides, this way, you still have part of your soul.”