“Three Days”

The Murderer


“What’s up?”

“The dead, apparently. Why are you digging them up?”

“I have three days to save the world. Three days until the crisis. Three days! Then they rise, and we fall. I’m saving everybody out there, by burning every body in here. It all starts here, on this cursed land—Ascension Lawn Cemetery. I mean, Jesus, it’s even in the name!”

“Should I even bother asking how you know the dead will rise in three days? Or should I just assume your mind is a basket of cracked eggs? I hope you aren’t one of the inmates that escaped—”

“I’ve been there. The box was finally able to send me back here a few hours ago. Though I hoped it would’ve sent me back sooner. But, hey, at least it kept me in the same universe.”

“Okay. So, what else happens in the future? You’re stroking my erect curiosity here.”

“I saw… a change in people. Regardless of their intentions, people finally start working together, replacing their egos with a collective will to survive. Strangers become family. That part of the future is actually… nice.”

“Not everyone is good, though. People flay what they see as good, and wear that skin to fool others. But the blood always shows.”

“Good is dead in the future. It tries to crawl out of its grave, tries to return to the new world, only to receive a bullet right to the head. In the future, you’re not a hero or a villain, you’re just dead or alive. The road to survival becomes a one-way street we all share.”

“That’s the future, but what about today? Today, are you supposed to be the hero, the one to save us all?”

“I’m here to save tomorrow.”

“Yesterday, today, tomorrow—they’re all headstones in time’s graveyard. You’re saving yourself one, I see. A head start for a headstone.”

“I’m saving us all.”

“But… what type of hero robs a bank?”

“I… don’t understand.”

“Like I told the caretaker, this cemetery is my own personal bank. And here you are stealing my savings.”

“Your savings?”

“Yes. My victims. I was saving them to be my neighbors once I finally croak and end up buried here with them. But now I’m short a dozen neighbors, and it’s all thanks to you! Tell me, how do you think the caretaker will react when he comes to this part of his backyard later?”

“Are you the caretaker?”

“No. I’m just one of his hands. You see, he has two dirty hands—one with dirt, one with blood. Which do you think I am?”

“Are you going to kill me? Do that and you’ll be the reason for the end of the world! Do that and the dead will walk in three days! You can’t—”

“Relax! I’m going to help you. Here, give me that shovel. Go take a break.”

“Really? Jesus, thank you! You don’t know how much this means to me, to the world. Thank you so—wait. What are you—no! Please, d—”

***

“Hello?

“Are you still there?

“Make a sound, any sound, and I’ll let you out. I’ll dig you up, I promise.

“No? Nothing?

“Come on, you were screaming and thrashing around nonstop earlier. You had no respect for the dead, only for you to become one of them in the end.

“Fine. Safe travels, then!

“Instead of the past, the box you’re in is a dirt-wrapped present that’s going to send you to the future you say you came from. If you were telling the truth about that future, then I guess I’ll see you in three days!”