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Risen

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Heather Chandler dies at 7:23 in the morning on September 24th, 1989.

The last thing she sees is her frightened, pale reflection staring back at her from the shiny surface of her glass coffee table.

Her last words are "corn nuts" and the last thing she thinks is God damn it. God fucking damn it, I can't breathe, fuck-

 

And then, there is darkness.

 

Heather Chandler is buried at noon on September 26th, 1989.

Her funeral service is well attended by nearly the entire population of Sherwood, Ohio, and rain waters the miniature mountain of flowers left on her grave.

 

At 11:11 p.m., Heather Chandler wakes up.

 

She jolts awake and at first, she wonders if it was all a hangover dream. 

 

It is not a dream, Heather decides, as her head makes sickening contact with the lid of the casket. Three things surprise her in that moment: one, that she immediately knows she is in a box and not in a bed, two, that she feels absolutely no pain, and three, that she is dead, but somehow not.

 

The wood begins to crack. Dirt seeps in through the tiny crevice, and Heather immediately throws a fist at the roof of her prison. There is no time for thoughts as the moonlight tantalizes her with a glimpse of its cold, loving light. Heather begins to swim upstream against the sudden sea of dirt pushing down on her. She claws upward, frantic and urgent, reaching for the moon as if she could grasp it in the palm of her hand. 

 

Her hand pierces the surface.The autumn air is cool, but the aftershocks of the afternoon rain are somewhat evident in the slight humidity. The Sherwood Cemetery is silent; as dead as its tenants and as somber as the beatific faces of the statues who stand guard over the graves. Heather Chandler hoists herself out of her tomb. She crawls out of the earth, reborn, and she falls to her knees and begins to retch: formaldehyde, embalming fluid, and doubtlessly, at least an ounce of drain cleaner forcing their way out of her system as she vomits on someone else's headstone. 

 

Heather Chandler stands alone in the cemetery. So what now, she thinks to herself, wiping some dribble off her chin. Jesus, I feel...

 

She realizes then that honestly, she doesn't feel much of anything. She tries to feel confusion, rage, shock, anything, but the only thing Heather feels is dead. Dead and covered in dirt. 

 

A shower, that's what I need. 

 

After dusting herself off, she weaves through the seemingly endless maze of graves and mausoleums before arriving at the cemetery gates. They're locked, but Heather pries them open with ease, and she begins walking towards the only place she could possibly imagine being welcome. She knows her way by heart; she's walked the route too many times to name. 

 

If someone were to look out their window on the night of September 26th, 1989, they would've probably been somewhat suspicious of the teenager roaming the streets leaving a trail of dust in her wake. Perhaps someone would have called the police and that would have been the end of that.

At around 11:52 p.m., Heather Duke hears a knock on her door.