I woke up to the “swish swish” sound of his arm moving against his windbreaker in the eerie green glow of the living room. His face was covered with blood, as was his chest that was exposed by the open jacket. He wore cut-off jean shorts and tennis shoes. I thought it was a dream, this stranger illuminated by the green glass lamp base. I was stretched out asleep on my stomach on the living room floor in the house next to the cemetery when I heard him. He came through the dining room and sat in my dad’s recliner a little after midnight.
He stared at me, the smeared blood making him look surreal. I put my head back down thinking I must be dreaming.
He rocked in the recliner.
Raising my head again, I could see the same image.
“Who are you,” I asked.
“I’m dead. I just crawled out of my grave.” He rocked.
“Oh, come on. Do you know my brother John?” I asked. He looked about John’s age, a few years younger than me.
“I might of, when I was alive, but I just crawled out of my grave.” He rocked again in the recliner and continued to stare.
Frozen in place on the floor in front of him, I was unsure what to do. He wasn’t a dream. I hadn’t ever seen him before. Fear caught in my throat.
His rocking stopped. He raised a hand to his face, drew it back and stared at his palm with a quizzical look on his face as if he’d never seen blood before.
Lowering his hand to his lap, he rocked and looked at me. “I’m bleeding to death.”
“You said you’re already dead. How can you be bleeding to death?” It was an obvious question, or so I thought.
“I’m bleeding to death,” he repeated in a raised voice.
That scared me. Why had I questioned this dead man, this apparition covered in blood?
I started to get up, moving backward slowly and watching him closely.
“I just crawled out of my grave,” he yelled.
I got to my feet, ran around the corner, down the hall to my parents bedroom. I heard him following. By the time my dad sat up in bed and put on his glasses, the apparition was standing in the hall. He reached into the bathroom, flipped the switch, and the light fell over this teenage boy covered in blood.
“Who the hell are you?” Dad asked.
“I just crawled out of my grave. I’m dead.”
He stared back at Dad, who repeated his question.
“I just crawled out of my grave, and I need to use your bathroom.” He stepped into the bathroom. I heard the water start in the tub.
I didn’t see him again until the police officer gently coaxed him out of the tub and escorted the boy from our home.
My dead man had apparently done a few too many drugs, entertained himself by jumping from headstone to headstone in the dark cemetery and broke his nose.