The Little Ol’ Coffin-Maker
A/N: I had a dream and decided to go with it. Not your classic vampire story, but I’m proud of how it turned out. Thoughts and reviews are welcome. Thanks!
There was no one more proud of their work than Herr Wagner. He had been in the United States for over twenty years. carrying on a proud tradition as his father and grandfather had before him, but still had that air and aura about him that reminded everyone of Central Europe. He hummed an old traditional German folk song as he proudly polished the wooden lid of his latest creation.
“Ah yes, making coffins by hand is surely a lost art”, Wagner spoke to himself as he polished the lid once more. “Hardly anyone wants ol’ Johann’s caskets any more. Everyone is using those cheaper, factory made models. But thank heavens that there are still some that know and appreciate true craftmanship when they see it and will pay well for it.”
Glancing at the clock, Wagner continued to talk to himself.
“It’s almost time. Soon he’ll be here. My customer. I’m certain that he’ll like this coffin. It’s my finest piece of work ever.”
Meanwhile, as Herr Wagner reflected on his masterpiece, outside of his small shop, a different scene was taking place.
Running down the street, hair plastered to his face and a look of fear mixed with anxiety covering his face, a tall blonde haired man fired two shots from his revolver into the night.
“The cops almost had me that time”, he swore to himself. “That old man had to hit the silent alarm. All I wanted was some money. Well, he won’t be calling no cops no more!”
The man felt a small smile forming despite himself. An unsuccessful robbery attempt led to the murder of an old man at his hands.
“But what the hell! Just like those others I did! That old bastard deserved to die! Now I just gotta get away and find a place to hide for a few hours.”
In the shop, Herr Wagner heard the sounds of the gunfire and glanced out the window, peeking through the shades covering his store-front window.
“Is that the sound of a car backfiring?”, he wondered. “No… it sounds more like gun shots!”
Backing away from the window, Herr Wagner walked back towards the center of the shop, thinking, “Well, that’s no concern of mine. All that matters is getting this coffin into perfect shape. I don’t want to disappoint this customer. Oh, my no!”
Suddenly, the door of the shop flew open and the tall blonde haired killer came bounding into the store.
“Who are you?”, Herr Wagner proclaimed. “What do you want?”
“I don’t have time to answer questions, old man”, the man snapped, clicking the lock on the door and pointing his gun in Wagner’s direction.
“That gun? Is this a holdup? You’re wasting your time”, Wagner said. “I’m just a poor old man!”
Then, looking more closely at the face of the gun-welding thug, Wagner suddenly realized who the man was.
“Wait! Now I remember where I’ve seen your face before. On the television. You’re John Jacobs! The one they call the Dirtside Maniac!”
“Brilliant deduction”, Jacobs scowled. “Since you’re so damn smart, you know I’m not afraid to use this. I’ve killed before and I won’t have any problem doing it again unless you do as I say!”
“And what is that, Mein Herr?”, Wagner asked.
“The cops are after me”, Jacobs grunted. They’re checking out all the shops around here. They’ll be here soon so you gotta hide me!”
“Hide you?”, Wagner remarked. “Have you looked where you are?”
Jacobs, for the first time, looked around the room and saw the many coffins spread around the room.
“What? A coffin-maker’s shop?”, he asked.
“Yes”, Wagner said proudly. “One of the only ones left these days!”
Thinking quickly, Jacobs commented, “Looks like I got no choice then. I gotta hide in a coffin.”
He walked over to the gleaming new coffin in the center of the room.
“This one looks better than the rest of ’em”, he said. “So I guess this one will be it!”
“N-no!”, Wagner said, a look of stress forming on his face. “Please take any coffin but that one. It is special. If anything happens to it, the buyer will….”
“Be quiet”, Jacobs said as he climbed into the coffin. “If you say anything, I’ll shoot you!”
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.
“Open up in there! This is the police!”
“They’re here!”, Jacobs said as he closed the lid. “Don’t say a thing and you’ll stay alive!”
Herr Wagner opened the door to see two policemen.
“We’re sorry to disturb you”, one of the officers said. “But we’re looking for someone… a fugitive.”
Giving a quick glance towards the coffin, Wagner spoke quietly, but firmly. “No one has been here. Look around for yourselves. All you’ll find are my creations.”
“Creations?”, asked the second cop.
“My caskets… they’re hand made… like a piece of sculpture”, Wagner explained.
Pointing at the large coffin that held Jacobs, Wagner smiled.
“Look at this one, Officer”, he said. “Have you ever seen anything as beautiful?”
“Well…”, said the first officer, not sure how to reply.
“And look”, Wagner continued. “My customer even wanted a lock on the outside. It keeps out the Boogey Man! Heh! Heh!”
Wagner reached over and turned a small key, locking the lid to the casket.
“Man, that’s crazy”, the second Officer said, shaking his head.
In the casket, Jacobs began to panic.
“That old fool locked me in here and I can’t do anything about it without tipping off the cops!”
“We’re on our way Sir”, the first Officer said to Herr Wagner as the two men walked towards the door to exit the shop. “Keep your doors locked and if you see or hear anything, please give us a call.”
“I will”, Wagner smiled. “Thank you!”
As the door closed behind the departing officers, Wagner clicked the lock and then turned towards the coffin.
“And now Mr. Jacobs, I’ll teach you what it is like to have your life threatened. I’ll show you how much I like having a gun waved in my face”, he said.
“Let me out, old man!”, Jacobs pleaded from inside the coffin. “You have my word that I won’t threaten you again! But please… open this coffin before I sufffocate!”
“Don’t worry”, Wagner laughed. “There is enough air inside that box to keep you alive until… until… hee hee hee!”
The sounds of Wagner laughing were interrupted by the chiming of the clock.
“It it time”, Wagner thought to himself. “My customer should be here any moment now!”
“Let me out! In the name of sanity, let me out!”, Jacobs pleaded from inside the casket.
As the final toll of the clock sounded through the walls of the coffin shop, a strong, dark presence filled the room.
Wagner turned and with a small bow of respect, spoke to the figure who now stood behind him.
“Ah, your Excellency. You are right on time”, he said.
“The very existence of one such as myself depends upon being on time. Greetings Herr Wagner”, the tall, magestic figure replied.
In the coffin, Jacobs heard the voices and thought to himself, “Now there is someone else out there. I can hear a different voice but can’t make out what he’s saying.Could be another cop. I’d better clam up!”
The dark figure moved over nd rubbed his hands over the outside of the coffin.
“This coffin is indeed a fine piece of work”, he said with a sinister smile.
“You flatter me, Excellency”, Wagner replied, his face beaming with pride at the compliment towards his craftmanship. “In the old country that we both once called home, as my father and grandfather did before me, I made coffins for kings. And now it pleases me to once again create for one of royal blood.”
“And I am glad to have found you”, the figure replied. “My old coffin was, after all, centuries old and I could use a new one in which to sleep during the daylight hours.”
“Shall I have this delivered for you?”, Herr Wagner asked.
“You forget, Herr Wagner, that I have the strength of twenty men”, the figure replied with a smile. “I’ll take it with me!”
With ease, the figure picked up the coffin and hoisted it on it’s shoulder, carrying it out the door and into the dark night air.
“What’s going on?”, Jacobs wondered from inside the casket. “I’m moving and being carried. But where? Where?”
As the figure carrying the casket vanished into the night, Herr Wagner smiled and closed the door to his shop once more.
“Soon his Excellency will open his coffin… and both he and Jacobs will be surprised! In fact, John Jacobs might die from fright when he looks into the face of Count Dracula! Hee! Hee!”