My Short Stories
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My Short Stories

1.  Robo-Trainer
2.  Accidental Identity
3.  Hating Valentine's Day
4.  Winter Olympics
5.  Way Down In My Shoes
6.  Gullible People
7.  The English Channel
8.  The Coffin
9.  Mars Canals
10. The Shoe Tree 
11. Ten Mile Time Trial

The Coffin

by Roger Nelson

"Hey," Sandy said, "it looks like a boat ride through the locks is part of our tour."
"Fantastic," Sheryl said, "I love boat rides."
They rode up to the dock, parked their bikes against the building, and waited while the crew moored the tour boat and the passengers got off. Then the three of them got on the boat with a lot of other cyclists, found seats and waited.
"Aaaah," Linc said as he sat on the hard wood bench seat, "after siting on a bike seat all day, this is heavenly."
Sandy and Sheryl laughed, as well as some of the other bikers sitting nearby.
Soon the boat left the dock and they traveled up the canal and into a lock behind another little boat. The giant doors closed behind them and they were surrounded by 30 foot walls. "I feel like I'm in the bottom of a coffin," Sandy said. "I sure hope they don't put a lid on the top. It would really be dark in here."
"I don't think there is a lid," Sheryl said. "Besides, the water is pouring in and soon we'll be to the top and we won't feel like we're in a deep pit anymore."
"It reminds me of the time I was buried alive," Linc said.
"You were buried alive? How'd that happen?" Sheryl asked.
"It was just a few years ago in college. I was taking an archeology class and it involved a field trip to Egypt see the pyramids. It's a little disorienting to be in a foreign country, halfway around the world in a different climate, where customs, and of course, the language is different. The professor hired a guide who spoke English very well, and he helped a lot. We spent most our time outside of Cairo visiting the pyramids of Giza, including the great pyramid."
"So did you see King Tut's tomb?" Sandy asked.
"No, that is an eight hour drive further south, and the Aswan Dam is further south yet. Egypt is a big country, and we only saw a little bit of it."
"Weren't you worried about terrorists?" Sheryl asked.pyramid
"Well, a little maybe. But being an engineering student with an interest in astronomy, I just had to see the great pyramid. It was fascinating how it aligned with the stars, Earth, and the Sun. There are so many interesting facts about the pyramids, I couldn't begin to tell them all to you. The size alone would amaze you, there are over half a million blocks making up the great pyramid, some of them as big as 70 tons. And the cement they used to put them together is stronger than the rock itself. It makes you feel pretty small."
"So is this where you got buried?"
"Actually, yes. We purchased tickets to go inside the Great Pyramid, which was the tallest building in the world until the French built the Eiffel tower in 1889. The place is huge. In spite of its size, you have to walk stooped over in a narrow passage to get to the burial chamber. I was following the group, bringing up the rear, when I thought I saw a black cat. I know, I probably just imagined I saw it in the shadows, but it made me stop for just a second and I leaned against the wall. I heard a noise like bricks scraping, and suddenly I fell into a hidden room. And then I heard the noise again, and the wall closed up on me and I was trapped. I was scared. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. I mean, not even after my eyes adjusted to the dark. I'd accidentally discovered a secret room, and I couldn't get out. I tried pushing against the stone block that had opened and nothing happened. I didn't have any survival gear, not a flash light or blanket or even a coat. I had no food. I wondered how long I had before the oxygen ran out. The only thing I had was a watch that had a little button that turned on a back light. Timex makes the watches. It's called, uh, . . .”
“Indiglo,” Sandy said.
“Yeah, that's it. It wasn't much, but when you're in a place that dark, it seemed like a lot. It was enough to see that I was in a little room. It was enough to find a little black stone on the floor; an agate that looked like a cat eye. I picked it up and held it in my hand. I didn't see a passage anywhere, so if there was one, it was hidden. I tried not to panic. Would the rest of the group be able to find me? I doubted it. No one knew the room was there. The temperature inside the pyramid is 68 degrees, and that doesn't seem cold, but if you're just sitting there in the dark, doing nothing, it gets chilly after a while. I could die a slow death, by asphyxiation, starvation, or hypothermia. I had do something."
Sandy said, "All you had do do was hammer on the wall, on the block that let you in. Someone would hear you."
"I tried that, but I didn't have anything harder to hit it with than my shoe, and that didn't make a lot of noise. Also, I was with a pretty talkative group, they could've walked right by and never heard me. I figured I had one chance. Meditation. I lay down on the stone floor, which believe me, was not that comfortable, and went into a trance. I was going to try to communicate with someone in the group. Going into a trance could be dangerous. There was always a risk I wouldn't be able to come out of it, or something could happen to my body while I was 'away'. Well, I was locked in a room by myself, so probably nothing would happen to my body, at least not right away. Anyway, once I started meditating, I felt myself lifting out of my body, and somehow, I could see, even though it was dark. It was working. Some people call this astral projection. I didn't think of it so much as a projection as a separation. With a little experimentation, I found that by thinking the right thoughts, I could direct my movements, not just float above my body. I tried going through the stone block, and it worked, and my group was still there. But I had to do more than that, I needed help. I needed to communicate with someone. I tried to enter my professor's body, but it didn't work. I was too inexperienced at this or perhaps we just weren't compatible. I tried some of the other people in the group with the same results. I didn't know how I could write a message or talk on a phone without a body. What could I do? I looked for that cat I thought I saw, but I couldn't find it. Actually, I don't know what I would've done if I had found it.  Without having a better plan, I followed my group back to our hotel.  I could never have found my way back alone.  I went to my room and lay down on my bed to try and think of something. By this time, I was pretty tired, and I didn't have any other thoughts on what to do, so I just lay there until I fell asleep."
"So who rescued you?" Sheryl asked.black cat
"Actually, I'm not sure how I got rescued. The next thing I remember was my roommate shaking me and saying 'Wake up, sleepyhead. It's time for breakfast.' When I came to, I saw that I was fully dressed like I was in the pyramid, and I had the little black agate in my hand that looked like a cat eye. I put it in my pocket and didn't say anything about it to anyone. I asked my roommate if he knew when I came back to the room. He said I wasn't back when he went to sleep. He wondered where I'd been. I told him I got lost and didn't get back until late. Since I didn't know the city very well, I really couldn't tell him where I had been. That was the truth, and he believed me, and let it go at that."
"So you're saying that someone opened the secret room and brought your body back to the hotel while you were sleeping?"
"No, I don't think that at all. I don't think anyone knows about the secret room. I don't think even I could find it again. What I think happened is that my spirit, while it was sleeping in the room, somehow managed to transport my body back to my room."
"That's impossible," Sandy said. "You couldn't get out of the room. Someone would have seen you. You can't just transport places like on Star Trek."
"I know it doesn't seem believable, and that's why I don't usually tell people about it. But it really happened to me. What I think probably happened is that my spirit converted my body to energy and brought it back to the room and reassembled it. I couldn't do that on my own, I'm not smart enough. But sometimes the unconscious mind is amazing. And if you think about it, what is a solid? It's just a clump of energy. Didn't Einstein teach that in his famous equation? OK, so, it's a lot of energy, but it's still energy.
Sandy said, “You couldn't transfer energy through the walls.”
“Why not? My soul went through them. And besides, solids aren't really so solid after all. In physics class I learned that atoms have a lot more empty space in them than just the space the electrons, protons, and neutrons take up. Maybe my unconscious brought my body out of phase with our universe, changing my spatial orientation just enough so I could pass through solid matter. So maybe I was in a seventh dimension or something. Whatever happened, I don't know how to do it again, it happened while I was sleeping. No one in my group even knew anything happened."
Sheryl said, “Maybe the little black stone had something to do with it. Do you still have it?”
“Yes, but don't tell anyone. If the authorities find out about it, I could be in a lot of trouble. You're not supposed to take stuff from the pyramids. That's why I hid it. I mean, how could I put it back? Besides, who would believe me about that room, anyway? It was better to let it slide.”
"Linc, you got to stop telling these wild stories," Sandy said.
"It's not a wild story. It really happened. You never believe anything I say."
By now the water had stopped rising and the front gates were opening to let the boats into the second lock. The boats moved in, and the big gates closed behind them, once again making them feel like they were in the bottom of a coffin, waiting for the lid to close.