Reader beware

Published 11:28 pm Tuesday, October 7, 2008

(If you are expecting a child, on medication, have a history of heart problems or are simply afraid of the dark, it is highly recommended you read no further).

It has been said that in days past, medical science struggled with correctly diagnosing diseases, maladies and various sicknesses. It is also said that on rare occasions, this most revered field of study struggled with identifying that most final condition of the human experience. Death itself.

So it was with one Mrs. Ida Mae Thompson. She entered an area hospital (which we will not name) for a common procedure. A simple tonsillectomy.

The operation seemed to be progressing well when an unexpected storm interrupted power. Tragically, the back-up system failed to start for a brief interval.

When the current was restored, it appeared Mrs. Thompson’s vital signs were nonexistent. Resuscitation was initiated, but to no avail. Evidently Mrs. Thompson was no more, her limp body dangling lifelessly on the cold, metal table.

As was required, her body was checked into the local morgue, a tag fastened on her left big toe with the number 1652.

Family members chose an appropriate casket, lined with white satin cushions. Ida Mae was dressed in her finest and was positioned clutching a single red rose, her favorite flower.

As the funeral started, the casket lid was fastened and screwed shut, the crank casually dropped into the funeral director’s pocket. Mrs. Thompson was now entombed in darkness.

At the final “Amen”, the pall-bearers hoisted the beautiful mahogany box and slid it into a clean, black hearse. As it landed in its position for the final ride to the cemetery, it experienced a slight jolt. And unbeknownst to the driver, the passengers, the director, the 36 cars following in procession and the four uniformed policemen ensuring a trouble free trip, a most disturbing thing took place.

Mrs. Thompson moved her right index finger.

As the casket was unloaded and positioned on the stainless steel framework above the freshly dug grave, it again experienced a slight jolt.

Mrs. Thompson moved her left leg.

The preacher commenced, “…ashes to ashes…”

Her head twisted slightly.

“…dust to dust…”

A low moan emanated from her throat.

The casket was lowered into the grave. As the first shovelful of dirt hit the beautiful wooden casket, its inhabitant opened her eyes.

Tragically, the cascading waterfall of soil muffled the increasing activity from 6 feet below, the sound of fingernails scraping desperately as they shredded the white cushions.

And so on a cold winter night when you’re all alone and you hear a strange high pitch, perhaps it is just a stray animal. Perhaps it is just the wind. But it is more likely the screams of Ida Mae, piercing the night air, as she realizes her predicament.