The blog zoomed past 1,000 views overnight, and as promised here is the first chapter of my new novel “Bones on the Surface”, which introduces the Death Room.
Bones woke up in his coffin, and decided that it was time to get up. With one bony foot he kicked open the hatchet that had been cut into the bottom of his coffin, and slid through it, and fell into a room.
When he landed, a few other skeletons were already awake and gestured to him with their hands, or rather the bones of their hands.
“Morning Bones.” Said one of the skeletons, who if he had been able to, would have smiled, but the way that his skull was arranged, he was constantly grinning anyway.
“Morning Rattles.” Bone replied to Rattles. Rattles was nick-named Rattles because his skeleton often, well, rattled.
The room that Bones had landed in was a rectangular room, that had three large leather red couches evenly spaced out in a line through the middle. The floor was a carpet that was blood red in colour. They were small lanterns dotted around the walls that gave the Death Room quite a cosy feel, which was quite surprising for a room full of skeletons, but just because you’re dead doesn’t mean that you don’t like your comfort.
You don’t need to be scared that this room is called the Death Room. It’s only the same as human beings who are alive calling their front room the Living Room.
But the most interesting thing about the Death Room was the walls. Dotted all around the walls were small squares of wood. As Bones and Rattles talked, a small square of wood that was level with their heads swung open, revealing a skeletons feet, and then as the skeleton slid forward the rest of his body was revealing, until he finally landed on the floor.
“Oops. Sorry you two. Bit close their.” Said the skeleton.
“No worries Sockets.”
Sockets eye socket were very deep and very dark, so that was where he got his nick-name from.
The small squares of wood were ends of coffins. So when a skeleton was bored, he could quite easily kick open the end of his coffin and slide into the Death Room and have a chat, or just a bit of small social life.
It wasn’t much, but some cemeteries didn’t have this at all, and they knew this.
Another skeleton had decided that he had enough for one day, as underground they are no light or dark, or day and night, you just get up when you got up, and went back to your coffin when you wanted to go back to your coffin to sleep. A library style ladder was on a pair of tracks on the floor, and he grabbed it and pulled it halfway along the wall, and started climbing up the ladder until be reached a coffin three levels up from the floor. He pushed himself through with the ladder, head first, and then slowly closed the door with his bony feet.
“All he does is sleep.” Said Rattles to Bones.
“Who? Old Crumble Bones?” Asked Bones.
“Yeah. mind you, he is a few centuries old, I would do the same if I was him I think.” Rattles said slowly, obviously thinking things over in his mind.
“Well there you go then.” Bones said, sighing.
“Yeah. ‘Pose so.” Rattles said, sighing to match Bones.
After a few moments of silent pondering, they both walked over to s red leather couch that had just become free.
“Don’t you ever get bored down here?” Asked Bones, in a dreamy tone of voice.
Rattles looked back at him in a confused shocked face, or what would have been a confused shocked face if only skeletons could actually pull facial expressions, really Rattles just kept on grinning, like Sockets had earlier, and Old Crumble, and every other skeleton in the Death Room.
“I just mean that I’ve been here for about three years, and I’m bored already.” Bones said, clicking his bare knuckles together.
“Not really. And even if I was bored, not much I could do about is there? When it all comes down to the bone, I’m dead, and dead people aren’t meant to have much fun.” Rattles said, whilst peering over Bones shoulder, watching Ribs, who had just been tripped over by Kneecaps, and they had gotten into a fight.
“Why aren’t dead people meant to have fun? Where does it say?” Bones asked Rattles. Rattles was too busy watching Skull breaking apart Ribs and Kneecaps. “Rattles!”
“What?!” Yelled Rattles, pulled out of his trail of stare rather suddenly.
“I said where does it say that dead people, us skeletons I’m talking about, can’t have fun?”
Rattles just looked at him blankly, well, he was grinning but you know how it works.
“Exactly.” Bones said in a matter of fact tone of voice.
Rattles ran his fingers along his bare ribs, before putting two bony fingers from each of his hands around one left rib and his other right rib.
“But what are you trying to say Bones? What is it that you exactly want to do? I mean, what are you getting at?”
Bones grinned, which didn’t make much of a change to his normal facial expression.
“What’s stopping us from going to the surface?” He said, in a strange voice, as though he was going mad.
“The surface?!” Rattles said, almost choking on the words in disbelief.
“Yeah. Why not?”
“Because skeletons don’t go to surface! Dead people stay underground in their coffins! Or that’s what humans believe anyway! No skeleton from any Death Room in any cemetery in history has ever stepped a bony foot on the surface- it’s just not what we do.” As he finished he saw Bones expression, apart from the grinning, and added, “It’s just not what happens! I don’t know why before you ask! It just doesn’t!”
Bones pondered for a moment.
“But we could be the first!” Bones said, excitedly.
“We?” Asked Rattles.
“Me and you. Bones and Rattles. The first skeletons in history to step up upon the surface!”
Rattles just shook his head in silent shock upon his bony neck, and pushed himself up from the red couch, and rattled off towards Hollow.
Bones felt disheartened, if only he still had a heart. But he still felt disappointed.
He too pushed himself off the red couch, and turned on his exposed bone of his heel and started walking back to the library style ladder near his coffin.
Bones quickly span around and looked towards where commotion was taking place in the far corner, where a small crowd of other skeletons had gathered around two other skeletons.
Skin and Bone.
Skin and Bone were the mischievous two of out the Death Room inhabitants, and often found themselves annoying the others.
Right now they had disconnected one of their ribs from their body and had start running them down each others ribs like a xylophone. It had been a pretty harmless game until they started jabbing each other with the ribs that they were clinging onto with their yellow bony hands, and then started fighting quite violently, and they had knocked open a glass case in the wall.
On the floor lay an arm of a skeleton.
It belonged to One Arm.
One Arm was currently asleep in his coffin, but he was the eldest inhabitant of the Death Room as he had been the first person to be buried in the cemetery. He had heard of Death Rooms before he had died, and built this underground one straight away, losing his arm along the way.
He had put his arm into a glass case that was hung on the wall, and nobody was allowed to touch it, or even anywhere closer than three foot in proximity to it when he was awake, which wasn’t very often these days.
One Arm had been dead for four hundred and eleven years, and decided that one of the best things about being dead was snoozing in your cushioned coffin, and leaving the rest of the clan to get on with it back in the Death Room.
He had so far been asleep for about three weeks, and hasn’t moved a muscle. Well, he didn’t have any muscle to move, but if you’re going to look into the figure of speech too closely, he didn’t move a bony limb.
Skin and Bones started to panic, and thought that they had woken One Arm up, as they started clambering over one another as they started squabbling over whose fault it was, whilst trying to jab their ribs back into their ribcages and pick up the arm that was laid on the floor.
Bones rolled his eyes, or rather looked up to the ceiling with his sockets where his eyes had once been, and pushed the ladder with his bony feet along it’s track left. As it started moving he climbed up a few steps, before reaching the third layer of the wooden ends of coffins.
A few seconds later, and he pushed his bony hands on the wall and stopped the ladder. He had reached his coffin. It had a small label about it that said in curly black writing that had a spiders cobweb symbol either side of it “Bones.”
He climbed head first into it, and with one bony foot pulled the hatchet on the end of his coffin shut, plunging himself into darkness.