A Coffin

Everything around him was black. It was as if there was a complete absence of light, which was something Jack Orbinson had never experienced before. His own heavy breathing coupled with silence filled his ears, and his body felt as if it'd been put through a meat grinder on one side, and then injected with painkillers on the other. With a grunt he tried to stretch out his legs, but instead he hit something hard and solid. At the same instant, he felt the uncomfortable sensation of laying on something very cold and uncomfortable below him.

What the hell? He forced his arms out to his sides and was rewarded with a dull thud. He smoothed his hands over whatever was to his sides and felt something strong, yet rough. He moved his head backwards, and hit his head, hard. Growling at the pain he stretched his hands upwards, which were stopped by not only by more cold but durable matter, but also by a dozen small and sharp objects, which pricked his hands. Jack immediately felt his blood waste through his hands.

Fuck! Where am I? He thought about moving around more, but considered what had happened to his hands a moment ago and decided to stay put. Have I lost my eyes or something? Jack tightened his fingers at the ends of his bloody hands and with ever-increasing fear, but with a steady hand, began to move them in the direction of his eyes. When he'd finally jabbed his eyes, which happened quite suddenly and inflicted enough pain to ensure to himself that they were functional, he put his arms down and began to think.

Okay, you're a successful lawyer who's been working on an important case for the last few months, that puts you in the danger zone for someone on the opposing team, perhaps even family members of the victims of whatnot. You got into your car after what you think was last night, after you'd discussed your clients' position with the judge and the opposition. So somebody has put you here. Now, you don't know what this somebody intends to do with you, but it's not likely to be pretty, so it'd be a good idea to get yourself the hell out of here.

He jammed his hands into his pockets, searching for anything to aid him, and had never been so relieved to pull out his Blackberry cell phone. Jack flipped open the cover, and the light from the phone immediately illuminated his surroundings. He gasped when he took it all in.

I'm in a coffin! The wood could've been called light oak but now only resembled dark red, and it didn't appear to have been painted. All along its sides and top were small messages carved into the wood with what he imagined was fingernails: Help me! Let me out! Lucifer Sam, and Deus Ex Infernis were the most peculiar; several others have carved their names into the wood. The most frightening of all was the message in the direct center of the coffin that appeared to have been carved in with a sturdy knife: Don't get out.

The objects that had scratched him from above were nails, and looking at where his head would've been if his body had risen he was glad he'd only been snagged by a couple. To his left he saw small holes on the side of the coffin, and realized how he'd been able to breathe. If they wanted me dead, they could've killed me, so this means they want me alive. Jack moved his cell-phone close to one of the holes, and looking closely he saw something reddish-white with a green circle that surrounded a dark black orb. His breath caught in his chest and he drew his cell phone away as he realized he was looking at a human eye.

It disappeared when he put his phone to the hole again. It must've just been a hallucination. You're fine, he thought to himself. With the aid of his light he looked outside again, but could decipher nothing but darkness.

Doubting it would function but trying anyway he began to call every name in his address book. When it didn't work he began dialing service-numbers and the operator, and after that random numbers and area codes, though all to no gain. Every time he tried to dial the same message appeared: "Out of service. Please try again later."

He grunted and gritted his teeth. This isn't fair; I've done my work well, looked after my wife, paid my god damn taxes on time, and now am here in this fucking coffin with no signal on my phone!

He laid back and turned off his cell phone. No need to waste and batteries, and it'll get a signal eventually. A funny though came to him: Martin Luveske is going to be scared shitless when he finds out I've gone missing. Martin, 34, had been accused of killing his wife, which Jack had no doubt that he actually did. The defense had presented a strong opposition, but after a few talks, negotiating, and careful evidence tampering it had been looking quite well for the both of them. Luveske was wealthy, an entrepreneur-millionaire in-fact, so Jack's payoff was looking equally bright as well. What was really puzzling him was who exactly had put him here: The opposition lawyers had been willing to offer a lesser sentence and punishment; the judge wouldn't even think about getting rid of him, and everyone in town knew him well enough not to mess with him. Who would do this? The family?

Yes, it had to be the family. The father of the wife hadn't been happy with the way the case was being handled, and during negotiations with the other lawyer in his office he'd barged in. He couldn't remember much of the initial conversation except his screaming about backstabbing and the death penalty. Though he remembered well enough when the man had opened up on him:

He'd spat: "You bastard. Can't you see he's guilty? He doesn't feel remorse. He doesn't feel pity. He's only sorry because he got caught, and you want to give him a lesser punishment?"

Jack had replied with the good old bull: "Sir, the law believes all clients are innocent until proven guilty, which will be decided in the context of this trial. Now..."

The father had interrupted him ferociously. "He did it. He knows that, I know that, and I'm sure that you know that." He paused for a moment before continuing. "It doesn't really matter to me at this point how the law works because it's failed me. I'm asking you to cut the bargaining, put up a show for the judge and jury, make your fucking cuts, and then give the man what he properly deserves: death." The father leaned closer in the next instant and stared directly into Jack's eyes "You know it's the right thing, never mind all the laws and bullshit. Do the right thing."

Thinking back and considering his current situation, Jack wouldn't have said what he had to the old man. "I'm sorry about your daughters' unfortunate accident (they'd been calling it an accident in court), but I cannot and will not in any way tamper my defense of Mr.Luveske at any time in any way. The claim that he is a murderer and that "the right thing to do" is to kill him is completely barbaric and psychotic. Jack had then lowered his voice and prepared to finish his speech with a boom. "What me and Mr. Martin are doing is none of your business, and I can assure you it's not in relation with this case. Now, I'm going to ask you to leave promptly, find a good psychiatrist, and to take care of your wife to ensure no further accidents arise. Hmm?"

The father had stomped off towards the doors, but before heading out he looked back and stared directly into Jack's eyes, and Jack wouldn't forget what he'd said: "You'll burn in hell for this." Then, he'd slammed the doors, sending rings like gunshots in the room, and he and Mr. Martin had finished negotiations. The last thing he remembered was walking to his car in the parking garage.

He turned his phone back on, shot a second look at the messages carved into the coffin, and stopped at the 666 carved into the center. He looked at the number, and then at his phone. In a few seconds he was dialing the number into his cell phone.

Nothing happened at first, and he was just about ready to close the phone when it began ringing. Jack's fists and feet clenched as it rung, until a click notified him that someone had picked up the phone. Momentarily, Jack could only hear a strange mechanical grinding and the distant sound of screaming.

"Uh, hello?" he whispered.

The voice that replied on the other end was deep and raspy, yet profound and intimidating at the same time. It seemed to echo itself into Jack's mind as it spoke, which nearly caused Jack to drop the phone. "Hello Jack, I've been expecting you."

Jack shivered and gritted his teeth. The voice and sounds on the phone were becoming clearer, and even more frighteningly, closer. "Who the hell are you! What do you want?"

For a moment there was only the ever-increasing sound of screaming and mechanized grinding, but finally when the laughing reply came, Jack wished it hadn't. "You."

Jack slammed the on the coffin, smashing the screen and cutting the connection. He immediately began to smash his body against the top of the coffin, bruising and cutting himself in the process. On the fourth hit he heard a nail dislodge, then another, and with another painful slam one more. When the top began to loosen he gave his last burst of energy to hit the coffin, and the top broke off and fell to the side in a terrible wrenching sound. Picking up his phone, Jack illuminated his surroundings.

Above him was a never-ending series of rocky chasms filled with molten magma, barbed wire, and sharpened skulls protruding from the ground. Below lay an abyss of fire covering dozens of mutilated beings moving in circles with mechanical devices. The screams of the dead and the mechanical grinding gears caught his ears, and he fell onto his knees and covered his ears. He saw the millions of lifeless eyes that looked not at him, but into him, and shuddered when an undead arm grasped his foot. Everything became apparent as Jack looked down at the wife of Mr.Luveske, gazing into him intently with cold dead eyes.

The withered and discolored mouth opened, and her words slithered through Jacks' ears: "Time to go, Jack." Then, being pulled down into the hellfire, he began to scream.