It was the blessed smell of pine that pulled my consciousness back to the surface. There's nothing in the world like the smell of fresh cut pine, especially when the cold weather comes rolling down from the mountains with the snow. For a moment, I simply inhaled that wonderful scent, thinking of Christmas. Then I opened my eyes.
Darkness. Pitch black. I could see nothing. Confused, I lifted my hand to touch my eyes. There was a hollow sound as my knuckles struck something very close. Too close. I froze a moment, then my hands moved to either side of me and touched the rough texture of wood. I kicked my feet and the hollow knocking reverberated within the confines of my resting place.
I was inside a coffin. A coffin made of pine boards. Panic swelled inside of me. I finally came back to myself, my throat swollen and sore, my hands battered and slick with what could only be blood. In my hysteria, I had kicked at the sides of my prison, and I had knocked a pine knot out of a board. The light that seeped into my dark place was heavenly, as was the icy, fresh air.
Calmer, I began to think. It was winter, and the ground was too hard for burying. I must be in the shed behind the funeral parlor. I felt a little wiggle as I adjusted my body to the confining space, which meant that the pine box I was in was likely propped on a sawhorse to let the cold air circulate around my body. It would be at least four months before the temperatures allowed the earth to be turned for burials; unless someone else died, nobody would be coming out to this shed for some time.
I couldn't wait. I put both my hands flat out in front of me and pushed. I wiggled. I rocked. I kicked. Finally, the pine box toppled slowly over and I was falling, my stomach lurching just before I hit the ground with a crack as the coffin split at one corner. I pushed and pulled at the splintered wood until the hole was big enough, then I struggled out.
The cold immediately turned my skin blue, but I took a moment to be grateful. Then I picked up the remnants of a pine board and went to the door of the shed.
My sister needed a lesson.