Winston was working his usual shift at the graveyard and was digging his last grave for the night.
His boss was Richard Crelborn, a man he did not especially like. Richard had no sympathy for anyone and paid Winston less than he deserved. Winston didn't know Richard well, for he had only been working at the graveyard since last summer. Winston was hoping for a raise, so he stayed after his shift was over every night just to make all the graves were perfectly square.
When Winston applied to the graveyard , his sister, Harper, insisted on coming. The minute she laid her eyes on Richard, she fell completely in love with him. They started dating and had been seeing a lot of each other ever since. Winston didn't agree with his sister's judgment, but he wasn't about to say anything. He didn't think Richard was really in love with her.
The weeks went by, and his job was going fine until one week when there were a number of deaths in the area. Business was slow, so this was good in a way. It was just very puzzling to Winston.
It was on a Friday night that things began to come into perspective.
Winston was putting his shovel and pitchfork in the tool shed. He was just about to lock up when he heard the door to the office slam. The office and the tool shed were connected by a door so it was no problem for Winston to listen in, and he saw no harm in eavesdropping on a little gossip. So he opened the door a tiny crack and peered in.
It was his boss and a tall, dark-haired man with a black overcoat on. The man had a pale, lifeless expression on his face.
"Now, I want it done by next Tuesday, OK? Nothing messy--something like a strangling would be good. Try to do it on Sunday, so I can have the grave dug by Tuesday."
Richard said in a mad sort of voice: "OK, lemme get this straight. Harper McAuly \o7 bam \f7 dead by Tuesday and I get $1,500 by Friday. That right?"
The man said in a deep voice, "Yeah, that's right. Hey, remember, if they catch you, I had nothing to do with this and you don't know me."
Richard slammed the door behind the man and sat down at his desk with a bottle of vodka.
"Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God," Winston thought to himself. "What am I gonna do? Richard has been murdering them all: Mrs. Withers, Mr. Riley, Red Bunters--the drug store owner. All of them! I see they're all from rich families that can afford big funerals. Now I see his fiendish plan. He's gonna kill my sister! I have to warn Harper before it's too late!!!"
Winston sat sweating in the shed until he was sure Richard was gone. Then he dashed to the nearest gas station and ran into the phone booth.
"Uh, hi, operator, gimme Harper McAuly in Wilshire County please, thanks."
Winston's throat was going dry and he had to pause to catch his breath. Finally, he was connected.
"Hi, Harper. It's Winston, Yeah, uh, can you pick me up like now? Yeah, I know it's late, but this is an emergency. I'm at a gas station on Terrace Boulevard. OK, hurry, bye."
Winston paced furiously around the gas pumps. Finally in what seemed like hours, Harper pulled up and Winston got in.
"Listen Harper," Winston began. "I don't want to say anything until you promise me that whatever I say you'll believe."
"OK," Harper said innocently.
"Well, it's about Richard."
"What about him?" Harper said, getting frustrated.
"Well, I don't think that he's quite what you think he is. You see, he doesn't really love you. He just wants to kill you for business at the graveyard. You gotta believe me, Harper."
Suddenly Harper veered off the side of the road into a wheat field and turned off the engine.
"Wait, Winston. Is this some kind of sick joke?"
"No, Harper," Winston explained. "I heard him telling a hit man about it in the office."
"Winston, why are you doing this? You know that's not true. I love Richard and Richard loves me. I'm sorry, but I just can't talk to you about this. I'm going with Richard tonight to his beach house for the weekend. He's at the office packing right now. There's nothing you can say to change my mind. Now get out of my car and don't talk to me until you apologize!"
Harper opened the door and pushed Winston out and drove away. Winston knew he had no other alternative than to try to talk Richard out of it. So Winston ran back to the graveyard as fast as he could and burst into the office. Richard was packing his last belongings and was about to leave.
"Richard, I have to talk to you. It's about Harper. Please listen. I know what you've been doing to get all this business. I know about your plot to kill my sister. I'm telling you either forget all about it and leave my sister alone or I'm calling the authorities."
Richard calmly moved toward Winston and said, "We can't have that, now can we?" and hit him over the head with a tape dispenser. Those words echoed through Winston's mind until he was unconscious.
Richard dragged Winston out to the graveyard. He was digging a grave for him when he noticed that all the other graves of his other victims were empty.
"Someone took the bodies," Richard whispered nervously to himself. "Who would do that and why?"
Just then, he heard a noise. He jerked around frightened, and he heard footsteps on the left, then right, then all around him. As they came into view, he saw that there were people walking and limping toward him.
They were all around him. As they came closer, he turned white with horror. It was Mrs. Withers, and Red the drug store owner, and all the people he had killed. There was no escape. They were coming closer, surrounding him. They were saying, "We're hungry, Richard, for you and only you. Remember us, Richard? There's no way out."
Richard shrieked and yelled in terror. The last thing he saw was the decayed, drooling open mouths of the people he had killed.
\o7 Three months later . . .
\f7 Winston became the owner of the cemetery, Harper found a new man and is now married with one son, and as for Richard, he's resting in pieces.