Chapter no 78

The Teacher


IF YOU’VE NEVER BEEN BURIED alive, I don’t recommend it.

Taphephobia is the fear of being buried alive. In biblical times, people were wrapped in shrouds and their bodies were placed in caves so somebody could check on them days later to be certain they were actually dead. Even George Washington requested that he not be buried until two days after his death. In the past, during epidemics, safety coffins were developed, which included a device (such as a cord attached to a bell) for the allegedly deceased to signal to the outside world that they were still among the living.

Such a device would not have been useful to me, since the people who attempted to murder me were the ones who buried me and left me in the middle of nowhere in hopes that I would never be found. Finding myself buried under the dirt was one of the worst experiences I have ever had in my entire life.

But it’s not worse than what’s about to happen to my husband.



Everything is dark. The last thing I remember is Nate’s fingers wrapped around my neck, squeezing. First he was choking me, and then I blacked out.

I can hardly move. My body feels like it’s wrapped in something—a sheet or blanket—which is keeping me still. And then there’s a layer of something else on top of that. Something cold and heavy.

And then I hear the sound of a shovel digging into the earth.

My head is throbbing, and it feels like there are knives in my throat when I try to swallow. I am lying on something cold, irregular, and very uncomfortable. It makes it hard to focus on what is happening around me. The shovel scrapes against the ground again, and this time it is accompanied by something hitting me in the leg. I close my eyes against the blackness, trying to get my thoughts in order.

I think…

Oh God, they’re trying to bury me.

If that’s true, then I don’t know what to do next. I could scream or try to break free from this sheet I’m wrapped in, but considering my husband has already tried to strangle me to death once and Addie clocked me with a frying pan, I don’t want to give them a third shot at me. I doubt I will survive a third time.

But I can’t let them bury me alive.

While I am weighing out my options, a young female voice above me calls out, “Nathaniel?”

There’s a long silence in which there is no digging or dirt falling on me.

She calls out his name once again, but I don’t hear my husband’s voice.

There’s a rustling sound and a shadow of something darker above me. It feels like it’s about to land on me, and I brace myself for a heavy impact. But instead, it feels light. Leaves?

What little moonlight I could see becomes obscured as more leaves are shuffled on top of me. But I remain still. I don’t move. I don’t scream.

“Nathaniel!” she calls out one last time. Her voice sounds farther away.

So do her footsteps.

I take a shallow breath, just to reassure myself that I still can. Although I have been buried in the dirt, I am not in a coffin six feet under. I am wrapped in some sort of sheet, and it feels like there’s only a thin layer of dirt on top of me, and then perhaps some leaves. The sheet is preventing me from inhaling any dirt. I’m not going to suffocate down here.

The only thing that will kill me is if they find out I am still alive.

So as painful as it is, I wait. Shivering in the dirt, with a bunch of soggy leaves as my blanket. I wait until the sound of footsteps has completely disappeared, and then I wait another hour after that. I think it’s an hour anyway. It’s hard to know what time it is when you’re buried in your own grave.

Once enough time has passed, I decide to attempt to get out of here.

That is not incredibly easy. Despite the fact that I am not buried under six feet of dirt, the shallow layer of dirt and the leaves do have some amount of weight, and on top of that, I’m wrapped in the sheet like a mummy—all of which means I’m completely pinned down. On top of that, my head is throbbing. It would be accurate to say that every part of my body hurts.

My first attempts don’t get me very far. I struggle to sit up, to get the sheet loose, but it just gets me frustrated. And then I start to panic. What if I

can’t get out?

I’m hyperventilating now. There isn’t much fresh air down here, and I can’t take the deep breaths I want. My fingertips start to tingle. I’m trapped. I’m never going to get out of here. What if I really die down here?

No. No. That’s impossible. My hands aren’t tied down. I can get free. I

will get free.

After all, it’s the only way to make sure my husband pays for what he tried to do to me.

The second time, I do better. I find a corner of the sheet, and I start working my way free. When my hands first feel the dirt, I know I have gotten loose. But I need to be careful. I don’t want to inhale a lungful of dirt and suffocate.

It takes me the better part of another hour, but I finally claw my way free from my own grave.

The second my head breaks through the surface, I take a big gasp of fresh air. I thought I was going to die down there. It’s freezing, but I don’t even care. I don’t care about anything except the fact that I’m no longer buried alive. That was the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced.

As I struggle to get to my feet, I look at my surroundings. What is this place? It looks like some sort of graveyard, except for pumpkins instead of humans. How the hell am I going to get back to civilization?

And then I see something lying in the sheet that I just escaped from. Oh my God, it’s my purse.

They buried it here with me. I snatch it off the ground and dig around inside. I gasp with joy when I find my phone inside. It’s powered down, but when I press the button on the side, the screen lights up. Unfortunately, there’s no service. But if I keep walking, I’m sure to reach a place where I can get a bar or two.

I’m going to get home. And then I’m going to make Nate pay for this.

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