This week I’ve got something special for you guys.

A story. For free.

As you’ve probably figured out already, I’m a writer. I love stringing together stories with interesting and/or weird worlds.

This story was written in about an hour as an assignment given us by The Company director Brad Pauquette.

Requirements: complete story under 1,500 words. Any genre. Theme: “Buried.”

Coincidently, these are the same requirements given to anyone who submits to The Company’s Spring Writing Contest. If you’re interested, check out this article for more specs on requirements and prizes (yes, guys, there are prizes).

But now, without further ado, I present to you “Dead Bones,” a fantastic realism story of just under 1,200 words.

Dead Bones

Bones.

Bones of his ancestors.

Bones of Great-Aunt Martha and Joe Kingly and their father who died in the Civil War.

Not every Indiana family chars the corpses of their dead to bones and preserves them in little brother Grant’s garage. But Grant’s family did, and he kept the bones well—inspected each cabinet packed with bones zip-tied together and interspersed with black-and-white photos.

Photos. Memories. The family must live on—dead or alive.

Grant paced the aisleway between the rows of shelves that took up so much of his garage. He had parked his car on the grass outside.

Grant scratched the hair on the back of his neck—it was very thick today. It had been getting thicker by the day, it seemed. His beard, too—he had long ago given up on trimming. Grant’s nose twitched—he smelled it. Yes, very good, very new, very nice, very good to chew.

He sniffed the tall oak cabinet on his left, yanked the door open. Inside lay a small stack of bones, shiny-white, stuffed with little blurry pictures of a little girl with yellow hair that waved in the breeze. Grant paused.

Chew, yes, bury, panted part of his mind. But the other part said “That was your sister. You will forget if you chew, yes? Forget if you bury? Never forget.”

Grant silently closed the cabinet.

A bang on the tinny garage door.

Grant’s head snapped up, he heard the muffled complaining of his cousin Sasha outside. He smiled, panting. Fur was not good in the summer.

Grant trotted up to the garage door, pressed the little button on the wall that started the old chains grinding. The door pulled up into the ceiling, revealing Sasha standing in the driveway, hair curled and high-heels planted firmly on the pavement. Her dress was pink and she carried a cardboard box in her arms.

“Hey, Grant,” she said, walking into the garage.

Grant smiled stupidly. “Hey, Sasha? What’s up? Where’ve you been?”

She set the box down on the concrete floor. “Johnny’s crematorium,” she said. “Apparently the old lady was the product of one of great-grandpa’s flings. I’ve got the bones here.” She tapped the box with the toe of her high-heel, almost lost her balance.

Bones.

Grant could smell them. Take, chew, bury. “Thank you,” he said.

Sasha nodded, wrinkled her nose. “Gross stuff.”

“Oh.” Grant tugged the collar of his brown polo. “I think it’s delicious.”

“Wait—did you just say that word?” Sasha stepped up to Grant, felt the fur on his neck. “You’re like wolf-man. Have you seen a doctor?”

Grant pulled away. “No,” he growled.

“Sorry, I didn’t know you were religious,” she waved her hands. “Just file the bones away. Take good care of them—people have to remember.”

Grant looked down at the box. “Yes,” he said, a tight feeling pinching his chest.

He wanted to remember—remember Sister and Grandfather and all the dead ones in the family. It was so much, though. The bones-keeper rarely went out—family gave him enough each month to survive on. Dreadfully lonely it was, with bones all around, memories all around, death all around.

Grant sighed, still looking at the box with flaps closed—filed away. “Could I…could I bury the bones?”

“Hell no! That’s not what…” Sasha stopped, eyed Grant. “Why are you looking at it like that?”

Grant inhaled, exhaled, each breath taking in less air. He turned and looked at the rows and rows of bone-filled cabinets clogging his garage. He could park inside if the bones were gone—could go out and live life! If only these damn bones were in the ground instead of in his garage.

He turned to Sasha, trembling, panting. “Let me bury them.”

“No, Grant,” Sasha took his hand, drew back. “What’s up? Your paws—your hands—your hands are paws!”

Grant looked down at his hands. Palms were calloused, almost black. Fur lined his fingers. His nails were long and curved. No. He dropped down on all fours, clawed at his face. “No…” he whispered, “My hands. My hands.”

Sasha bent down above him, tugged on his shirt. “Come on. I gotta get you to the doctor right now. Something’s wrong.”

“No!” Grant barked.

Sasha backed away, shaking her head, making her curls bob. “I’m calling the police then. They’ll know what to do.”

No. Not the police. Don’t take me away—don’t take me away! Grant shook where he crouched on all fours, a tear working its way from his eye into the fur on his cheek.

Sasha dialed 911. She was talking into her phone, telling the police that her cousin had become a dog.

Grant heaved his way to his feet, limbs still trembling. He looked at the cardboard box on the ground. All the death, all the memories, forever carried, forever kept. Bury, bury, let lie. He would hurt his family if he buried the bones—they would forget. They would dishonor the past.

“These bones are dead,” he whispered to himself.

Grant picked up the box. Then he paused, turned and looked at the jungle of cabinets clogging his garage. Grant scanned the garage for a dolly. There it was—leaning in the corner next to the shovels.

He smiled, tapped his claws on the cardboard. He would not need a shovel.

Grant grabbed the dolly and wheeled it into one of the aisles. He put the box on the dolly pan.  Then he flung open the cabinets. He opened the flaps on the box, exposing the fragrant bones to the air. There were no pictures within—just bones. Quickly Grant scooped up bones from the cabinets and dumped them into the box with the other bones.

Sasha was yelling at him. He didn’t hear what she said.

When the box was full Grant fetched another from the back of the garage, filled it as well. Then he wheeled the dolly and two boxes out into the driveway.

Sasha was running after him now, tugging on his shirt. Grant kept walking, walked onto the grass past his car with only 10,000 miles on it.

The dolly pan caught in the dirt, fell, spilling the boxes and bones over the grass.

“No!” screamed Sasha.

Grant leaped to the ground, began digging—digging his claws into the soft dirt. There was a hole now—a brown and welcoming doorway into the clayey soil.

Grant heard the sirens. He looked at the bones lying scattered on the ground, paused. So many pictures, so many bones, so many memories.

He bit his lip, surprised at how much spittle dripped from it. Bury, bury, let it lie. Grant nodded, scooped up the bones and dumped them into the hole. Then he buried them—covered them with dirt and the grass.

And Grant laid back on the grass, the lumps of clay digging into his back. He was looking at the sky. He was panting. The past had died, but not he—not yet.

Sasha was crying. The police arrived.

THE END

Going from here

So that’s what I wrote in an hour based on the contest’s theme. What would you write?

If you’re interested in submitting to the Spring Writing Contest and potentially winning $100 to Amazon, you have much more than an hour to write your story.

You have, my friend, till July 1st.

Give it a whirl–what do you have to lose?


What did you think of my story? Give your honest thoughts in the comments below!


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