It all began with a bet.

I would suspect that a lot of bad things begin with a bet. Well, that combined with an evening down at the pub.

This actually did not start at a pub per se, but at a rum shop, the Bajan equivalent. It was after the seventh rum and coke that Paul Griffin pulled out of his pocket a picture his wife had taken of him the day before. The picture showed a very smug; very touristy looking Paul, dressed in a bright orange shirt tapping on the sealed tomb door of some poor sod’s grave.

Now, you might think that was rather disrespectful, and you would be probably right. However Ian, Paul’s drinking companion, did not think it was disrespectful in the least. On the contrary Ian thought it all jolly fun, further more he reasoned, wouldn’t it be even jollier if they ventured back to the graveyard and took a sledgehammer along with them…As you do. Well, if you do if you are intoxicated and felt like vandalizing an old tomb. In fact he was so in to the idea that Ian bet Paul a whole quid that he wouldn’t do it.

Paul glanced at his watch.

It was midnight.

Now this might have daunted other, less fool-hearty types, but not Paul and Ian. They quickly downed the last of their rum and cokes, paid the amused barkeep, and stumbled out onto the street. As luck would have it, or otherwise, they noticed to their delight a building site just a few hundred yards away from the rum shop. Upon stumbling over, they discovered to their further delight, a sledgehammer.

“I doubt anyone would mind too much if we borrowed it for a few hours,” Paul slurred, as he reached down to pick it up.

“Not in the least,” Ian replied with a matching slur.

Now funnily enough, the two intoxicated tourists’ brandishing a sledgehammer had some difficulty hailing a taxi. However, eventually, one pulled up and they clambered inside. The thick scented smoke inside the car revealed why he had picked them up…For surely this driver would have been oblivious if he had picked up the very devil himself. Ten minutes later the two drunk Englishmen arrived at St John’s church, and after paying the cab driver, promptly got out. Now, most cab drivers would have been suspicious at this after midnight visit to the graveyard, but this overly happy and relaxed driver just smiled, and turned up his reggae tape, and sped away.

So there they were enshrouded in clichéd darkness, and an equally clichéd mist rising up from the ocean about them. Undaunted the two of them marched to the back of the church to the graveyard.

Paul pulled out of his cargo short pocket a flashlight, and shone it about them.

“Zoinks,” Ian squealed in a very bad impression of Shaggy from Scooby Doo, as the light landed upon the tomb.

As they both began to giggle liked two nervous teenage girls on prom night they cautiously made their way over to it. There was silence all about them, which was suddenly interrupted by an unearthly screeching town. Paul reflectively spun about and shone the light in the direction of the hideous squeal. Terrified of what he might see, but more terrified of seeing nothing at all. Two angry eyes glared back at him, and the tormented cry came again, even louder than before.

“It is a bloody cat!” Ian said.

“Thank goodness for that- my imagination was starting to play tricks…Now where were we?”

With that the two of the stumbled down the concrete steps, to about waist height, and stood directly in front of the tomb door.

“Here is the final resting place of Joseph Briggs Mayers, who passed away aged 42 in 1888.” Paul read aloud. Just for a moment he felt a tinge of regret forming in his gut, and was just about to tell Ian the deal was off when he heard Ian’s voice.

“Well, are you going to do it or not? Maybe you are just too frightened?”

Swallowing his fear with a hearty gulp, Paul raised the sledgehammer above his head and brought it down against the concrete door with all the force he could muster.

Nothing happened.

Paul, with even more determination again raised the sledgehammer up and once more brought it down with even more force. This time he was rewarded with a chunk of concrete breaking off, and a slight crack formed in the door. Undaunted Paul gave it another whack.

Then another.

Then still another.

Sweat began to bead on his forehead and drip into his eyes. Yet, Paul, almost as if possessed by evil spirits never once stopped. Finally on the twelfth blow, the entire door crumbled in. After the dust had settled and Paul managed to catch his breath, the two men peered in front of them shining the flashlight into the cavity below them.

Much to their disconcertion they discovered that concealed behind the concrete door was not an actual entombed body, but a stair case leading steeply downward.

“Bloody Hell,” Paul cried.

“So shall we go down?” Ian asked with a combination of fear and excitement in his voice.

Twenty minutes later.

Paul and Ian after quickly bidding a hast retreat from the graveyard, and dropping the sledgehammer, are sitting in a back of a cab- heading back to their hotel for a nightcap or five. Again luck was planted on there side as a taxi cab just happened to be passing. Not considering that notion they quickly climbed aboard.

“Can you imagine what might have happened if we had gone down into that tomb?” Ian said with a shudder.

“I reckon it was a close call, it could have easily had turned into one of those Tales from the Crypt stories that we love to watch so much- and if that was the case there would have been a ghastly twist in the last few moments.”

As the two Englishman began to laugh heartily…They failed to realize that the taxi driver who had just picked them up was missing an important feature.

A face.

And that he was not taking them back to the hotel.

P.S. Gifford

P.S. Gifford is a published horror author of great talent. He started submitting stories around 2005. His short stories are by far some of the best and most entertaining that I have read. Around that time he was invited to write columns which are titled "Paperback Writer."

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