I haven’t updated the blog with a new short story since May 2nd. I know I have fans that follow this blog and look forward to the weekly updates. I’m sure you are accustomed to two or three new writings per week. It will eventually resume. It’s just that life is pulling me in a few different directions which make it difficult to find free time to write. But don’t worry! Author Tom Raimbault, his blog, and published books are still here. I haven’t gone anywhere. For a brief while there might be a week or so between updates. It’s only temporary
We are now into story four of the Death Warmed Over Series. If you’ve been following these short stories, then you know they detail Samantha’s horror of coming back to life in the funeral home, just before being embalmed.
When this rare phenomenon does take place, the mortician or funeral director is sure to call an ambulance, and then notify the grieving family of what happened. But what if the sole funeral home owner and mortician is evil and demented? What happens then?
If you’ve never read these stories, then at this point I’m sure you have plenty of questions. Do read the first three stories in this series if you haven’t done so already.
Death Warmed Over: Story One
Death Warmed Over—story four
Henry (Hank) Wolmarsh; husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather; a successful business owner, and a much-decorated World War Two veteran. Hank recently passed away, just over the weekend to be precise. His wake was now at the Grossenbury Funeral Home in downtown Mapleview, a Monday. Just like all wakes, a crowd of family and loved ones congregated in funeral home's parlor, lobby and hallways. It's not a favorable scenario for most people. Losing a loved one never is. As for children, it can be considered downright boring to stand or sit around the funeral home with adults who aren't in the greatest mood. Oh but don't worry about Hank's great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and the likes. You see, Mr. Grossenbury had an exciting form of entertainment for them. Along with the recent improvements to the funeral home, Mr. Grossenbury had an in-ground pool installed in the backyard. Children could now swim, splash and play in the pool while adults peacefully mourn the loss of their beloved inside the parlor. Children love swimming pools because they are so much fun. And who can forget that the first three letters of funeral spell fun?
Most of the children on that Monday afternoon had a blast diving off the board, or swimming to the bottom of the pool with snorkels and masks. But then there was nine-year-old Timmy who suddenly exited the pool and sat at the edge with towel wrapped around him. Some moments later his little brother, Johnny, came over to encourage him to come back in the pool.
"You know what's wrong with this pool?" began little Timmy.
"What?" asked Johnny.
"You see that thing that looks like drain at the bottom?"
"Well, when they drain the blood out of the dead people, the color is filtered out and it's pumped into the pool. And that's what everyone is swimming in. We're swimming in dead people's blood."
"Really???" asked Johnny.
"Yup. And sometimes when they drain the blood out, pieces of the dead people's organs comes out with it. It's no problem for the workers at the funeral home. They just run the chunks of organs into a machine that chops it up into liquid while removing the color. Then it's pumped into the pool through that drain-looking thing at the bottom. So we're all swimming through the blood and guts of dead people."
Just then, Timmy and Johnny's cousin, Mark, swam over. "Hey guys, what are you doing? Are you done?"
"You're swimming in dead people's blood and guts." informed Johnny.
"No we're not!" argued Mark.
"Uh-huh!" insisted Johnny who had just learned this horrible news from his older brother.
"You see that drain-looking thing at the bottom of the pool." pointed Timmy.
"Yeah..." acknowledged Mark.
Mark was soon educated of the horrible machines that drain blood from the old people and pump it into the pool along with the other machines that liquefy chunks of organs that just so happen to come out with the blood. But rather than become disturbed with this information, Mark turned it into a fun game. The first three letters of funeral, after all, spell fun. "I'm going to see how long I can swim under water through all the blood and guts." announced Mark. With that, he took a deep breath and went under the water.
It didn't take long for this fun game to catch on with the other kids in the pool.
"I'm going dive into Grandpa Hank's blood and guts!"
"Don't drink any of Grandpa Hank's nasty blood when swimming under water!"
Soon another family's children, three girls, entered the pool area in the bathing suits. They had just lost their grandmother. Mr. Grossenbury was planning the funeral arrangements, inside, with Mother and Father.
"Hey, I wouldn't come in here!" warned one of the boys. "They pump the blood and guts from the dead people in here."
"Oh yeah, well how come the water isn't red?" cited the older sister.
"Because they have filters to remove the color. Duh! Don't you know anything?" snapped Timmy.
"They're not going to come in." called out Mark. "They're girls, and they don't like blood and guts."
"Yeah we do!" retorted the older sister.
Soon the pool was joined with the newcomers. All the kids were under this strange belief that the blood and guts of their great grandpa, or grandpa had been pumped into the pool. Although such a disturbing thing to consider, it was an afternoon of fun for all those children.
Fun was not to be had by Samantha who, the following Tuesday morning, sat on the mattress on the floor in the storage closet—her prison cell while being held captive at the Grossenbury funeral home. This was nearly 48 hours after her initial weekend of sexual assaults along with extensive brainwashing into her new existence. No longer was Samantha a loving wife, loving mother or receptionist at her day job. She was dead as far as family and friends believed. And since Samantha was dead, she was now Mr. Grossenbury's slave. He kept speaking about a "partnership". But those details had yet to be revealed to Samantha.
Suddenly, Samantha could hear the elevator door open. Mr. Grossenbury was apparently returning for another visit. What would it be this time? Would it be more hours of sexual humiliation and assault, followed by a meager amount of food as a meal so that she remains weak?
The keys from the outside could be heard as Mr. Grossenbury fumbled for the right one to open the door. How Samantha wished she could hide and avoid seeing his demented smile.
"Well good morning!" greeted Mr. Grossenbury with—of course—a wide smile. "You are glad to see me, right?"
"Yes, it's very nice to see you." agreed Samantha. The weekend's unbearable hours of physical abuse, torture, and brainwashing motivated her to appear happy to see Mr. Grossenbury. You see, during those hours she was made to understand that being happy to be with Mr. Grossenbury was expected of her.
"Very good!" congratulated Mr. Grossenbury. "And how are you feeling, today?"
"I'm feeling pretty good." answered Samantha with a smile.
"Excellent!" exclaimed Mr. Grossenbury. "We are right on schedule. But I'm not so convinced just yet that it's 100% in your heart to be this way. Right now you are simply playing along to avoid any punishment. Deep down inside you still resent me. But that will change. Am I right?"
Samantha nodded with a half-hearted smile on her face.
"That's okay." reassured Mr. Grossenbury. "I think we can still reward you with a little time outside during your breakfast. What do you say?"
"Sure..." answered Samantha.
"Well get up and come over here." ordered Mr. Grossenbury.
Very weak, Samantha struggled and pushed herself up off the mattress on the floor. She slightly staggered on her feet while gaining balance. When finally stable, she walked over to Mr. Grossenbury.
"Are you sure you are okay?" asked Mr. Grossenbury. "Why so much work to stand up and come over here?"
"The blood probably needed a chance to get to my head." offered Samantha with an eager smile. She wouldn't dare use the excuse that she was starving and very weak. That could bring her back to square one as the captor and slave.
"The blood needed to rush to your head?" questioned Mr. Grossenbury in somewhat un-accepting tone of voice. "I don't see why that would be necessary. You are alive. I have dead people upstairs who have no blood flow. Maybe you are just in really bad shape."
"That could be." agreed Samantha.
"Well take my hand." ordered Mr. Grossenbury. "Let's bring you upstairs and outside to the pool area for breakfast."
Mr. Grossenbury guided his weak business partner down the hallway to the elevator. During the elevator ride, Samantha did everything in her power to fight the dizziness. If she could just get outside to get some fresh air, maybe that would make her feel better. It had been nearly a week since seeing the light of day.
Then again, maybe she shouldn't have wished for the outside so badly. Upon being escorted to the pool deck—a large paved area surrounding the in-ground pool, complete with chairs and tables with umbrellas— it was necessary to close her eyelids. The sunlight was quite a shock to Samantha's eyes, being that she had spent some days in partial darkness.
"What's wrong?" asked Mr. Grossenbury with a demented smile on his face.
"It's the sunlight." explained Samantha. "I'm not used to the light."
"Not used to the light?" mocked Mr. Grossenbury.
"Do you have sunglasses?" asked Samantha.
"No, you don't need sunglasses." declared Mr. Grossenbury. "Your eyes are fine. Sunlight is good for you. Come here and sit down at the table."
With Mr. Grossenbury's guidance, Samantha sat down at her breakfast table. Through partially opened eyelids, she could see a small bowl of what looked to be like Cornflakes with a half-cup of milk at the side. Samantha was famished. Immediately she poured the milk into the small bowl and dug the spoon in.
"My my!" exclaimed Mr. Grossenbury upon sitting down across from her. "It looks like you are hungry."
Samantha said nothing in return, only chewed the cereal while continuing to struggle with the overwhelming amount of sunlight to her eyes.
"Open your eyes." ordered Mr. Grossenbury. "You can't leave them partially closed like that. Not when you are with me and discussing business."
Samantha did as ordered, but received an unbearable amount of pain to her eyes in doing so. Instinctively she closed them for relief.
"I said open your eyes!" ordered Mr. Grossenbury a second time.
"I'm sorry." apologized Samantha. "The light is hurting me."
"The light is not hurting your eyes." corrected Mr. Grossenbury. "And didn't we talk about this? When I make a rule or a truth, you are to obey. Isn't that right?"
"Yes..." answered Samantha.
"And right now I have given you a new truth to follow. The sunlight is not hurting your eyes. You can open your eyelids. Now do that."
Carefully, Samantha opened her eyelids. Of course the light hurt. But she discovered that rapid blinking helped ease some of the pain. She did this while continuing to wolf down the small bowl of cereal.
"Why are you blinking your eyes so much?" probed Mr. Grossenbury.
"It's probably my allergies." offered Samantha.
"Allergies?" mocked Mr. Grossenbury. "Funny, this isn't the allergy time of year." There were a few seconds of pause before Mr. Grossenbury stated, "You're pathetic... a real mess... weak, and can't walk. Now you have trouble opening your eyes because of allergies?"
Samantha continued to nervously eat her small bowl of Corn Flakes. She worried if there would be any punishment for what Mr. Grossenbury cited as being her pathetic state.
But instead of continuing to scold and humiliate Samantha, Mr. Grossenbury introduced Samantha's role in her new purpose of being a business partner. "My father started this business before I was born, and I took over for him many decades later. The Grossenbury Funeral Home was the only funeral home in town, until 5 years ago when the Zimmerman Funeral Home moved in. Mr. Zimmerman has been taking customers from me long enough. I'm close to going out of business. You need to kill Mr. Zimmerman for me. And then you need to start killing more people for me so I can do more funerals and make money. No one expects a dead person to kill people, so you would be perfect for the job."
Samantha raised the nearly empty bowl of Cornflakes to her lips and slurped up the remaining milk. "I see..." she answered with the last gulp. Samantha wasn't much in favor of what was expected of her in this new role as business partner. But, surely, killing people for Mr. Grossenbury would mean leaving the premises of the Grossenbury Funeral Home which would certainly increase the chance of eventually escaping.
"Could I have a little more cereal... maybe a bagel?" asked Samantha. "I'm still hungry."
Mr. Grossenbury sighed. "No, I don't think so. You're still not fully converted. You're still an escape risk."
To be continued...