Buried Alive in the Blues
“It is your mission to bring people here. To hell. Or whatever this is.” The Old Man’s bones knocked together. The end of his finger fell into a sort of Grand Canyon underground, gobbled up by darkness. It pinged along rock ledges until I couldn’t hear it falling anymore.
“I hope you didn’t need that.” I tried to be sympathetic.
“People will pay to see whether or not I can reclaim that piece of finger. Among other things.”
“But, that means I have to get out of here. Alive.”
The Old Man raked his bony fingers across dead space. “Enough. If I show you the way, will you bring people to this place? Will you show them the wonders of my grave?”
Is a version of hell eeny-meeny-miney-mo, where I play tour guide to the damned?
I smiled. “What does that mean, exactly? “The wonders of your grave” might not attract a large audience as a tag line. Rather morbid, if you know what I mean.”
He knocked his fingers against his chin. Nodded his empty head. “I see that. Yessssssss.” It hissed through his gumless teeth. “So, you’re alive. You tell me. How would you attract the living to a crypt?”
I took in the glittering rock walls. The gaping drop-off next to my feet. The labyrinth with underground rooms that soared to heaven and depths licked by the flames of hell. Level ground for a still, concealed from prying eyes.
“If I charged admission to this place, I’d have to have moonshine available for sale. And, maybe firearms for target shooting. The reverberation of sound would drive people mad for the experience.”
His spine creaked when he nodded. “Go on.”
“They’d want to crawl along the ledges of these canyons like I did. With you. The possibility of death lingering at every humid turn. With complete darkness for just long enough to make them a little crazy.”
“If I show you the way out, will you return? Create this underground empire in my honor? Will you do it?”
Could I make a living leading people through the dark?