Thick billows of fog roll in, crashing against the stones, as the hoots of a horned sentry, perched in an oak, echo far across the valley. Beads of sweat race off my brow, falling into the freshly dug earth, only to be soaked up instantly.
Just a few more inches and I'll have it. I frighten myself at how instinctive this whole morbid process has become. The rusted shovel slams into an obstacle seated firmly at the bottom of the shallow pit. Not worth the risk of using the lantern- my hands become my eyes as I claw and scratch my way beneath the remaining covering of soil. My search reveals a loose slat, tacked to a wooden box.
Tearing the slat away, I feverishly run my fingers among the remains, searching for an heirloom that was too precious to part with- even in death. Methodically checking each hand, then the boney neck and along the edges and bottom of the box- nothing...completely empty of anything that would compensate my effort. Kicking the contents in frustration, I turn to extract myself from the hole. Something's wrong. I can't move! My foot's caught. Reaching down to release it, I feel something cold and clammy wrap around both of my wrists. The sensation has a recent and hideous familiarity to it. My heart is in my throat, as I instantly realize why it feels so familiar. I flash back to just a moment ago, as I was running my hands over it, preparing to steal its belongings. I scream out in anguish, but only the horned sentry is aware of my presence. He stares onward, through the fog, as I am swiftly pulled below the surface.