I guess you could say we desecrated one grave too many. I don’t know for sure.
We was at old man Dooley’s puttin in a drain so the road don’t get flooded again this year.
All of us heard the crack like roots bein snapped and we waited for Phil and the bucket to show us what he tore out.
But what it was made us all sick, real gut pukin sick. It looked like a cloud, a yellow white cloud that slowly rose up out of the ground.
At first we thought it was a gas line but there weren’t no gas lines over where we was. And the smell was much worse, like skunk stink, only rotten.
Gas or ghost, it swallowed Mikey and Dave right up, left nothin but two red and black skeletons and four half melted workboots.
It formed the shape of a man, then another, the phantoms blowin toward the rest of us.
Reese tripped and fell forward screamin, his hands wavin right through the cloud as it passed over him. The scream stopped as soon as it started.
His whole top half was stripped, just bones left. No more lungs, no more mouth to scream.
Again leavin the boots, the cloud formed a third shape.
Phil jumped down from the excavator and sprinted for the truck.
I went the other way, up the hill, vomitin all over myself as I ran.
When I looked back two of the things was goin after Phil and one was comin after me.
My heart poundin I ran up the wooded trail toward Dooley’s place.
No plan came to me except run. Run faster than those things.
But the wind was blowin pretty hard and the ghost was gainin.
A break in the trees showed me the duck pond. I darted to my right and made a beeline for the water, stoppin at the edge to turn around. To see if it was almost on me.
After takin a few wheezin breaths I saw it come through the woods like a mist before it became a phantom man again.
Backin up into the muck I saw it hesitate for a moment, maybe sensin the presence of water. Then it just walked on the surface toward me.
I turned and started swimmin for my life, my worksuit gettin heavier and heavier.
Afraid the thing was gonna get me I kept thrashin even as I started sinkin, my body twistin toward the sky, toward air.
One last gulp and I sank to the bottom. Through the water I could see it, a yellowy figure scratchin at the surface like it was tryin to come through a window.
Then I realized it can’t go though water.
Wrigglin out of my suit, my body was cryin for breath but as I fought to free myself I watched the phantom walk back toward the shore.
Once I got out of my waterlogged worksuit, I slowly floated up and broke the surface just enough to gulp some air and take a peek.
Nowhere. No sign of it.
I shivered and made my way toward the trail, thinkin I can always run back to the water if I have to.
When I reached the hill I could see Phil almost made it to the truck. His workboots was right outside the passenger door.
Two of the things was up the road and one was by the powerlines.
That left one, maybe the one that came after me.
I decided to make a break for the truck.
Runnin barefoot on a dirt trail is no fun but the stingin pain in my feet only made me run faster.
Steppin over my friend’s half-melted boots I hopped in and slammed the door. I slipped into the driver’s seat and started the truck barrelin down the road.
Then I was gaggin again. That horrible decomposin roadkill smell.
As the truck flew down the fireroad I saw in the rearview the shape behind me, it’s ghostly arms passin through the seat tryin to touch me. To eat me.
I opened the door and jumped out, lettin the truck go and hittin the ground hard but rememberin to roll. The pond was in sight. I might never walk again but I’m gonna get to the water before it does.
Rain started drizzlin, coolin my head a bit, makin the ground slippery so I had to slow down some. I turned to see if there was more comin.
There was.
All four of them now.
Nearin the water, the sky opened up and it started comin down pretty good. I was almost afraid of gettin struck by lightnin.
My feet entered the water and I turned to see the phantoms steadily makin their way toward me.
They seemed to be hesitatin again. Slowin down, the things jerked and came to a stop.
Through pourin rain I watched them start to smoke like they was robots, cloud machines.
Seems water and them don’t mix so good.
Lookin up at the rain I shouted, “Yeah baby bring it on! C’mon!”
Buckets of rain was eatin away at the shapes, dissolvin them.
Their legs drew up as they reverted back to clouds but there was too much rain, makin it hard for me to see.
Sizzlin and poppin, they kinda disappeared in brown puffs of smoke, like the gas got burned up by the water.
Like it was holy water on the undead.
Anyway that’s how I lost my feet.