Short Story
By Lawrence Kadzitche
The scraping of my shovel as I opened the grave was the only sound in the silent, pitch-black night. Although I could hardly see the walls of the grave as the pit I was digging grew deeper and deeper, I worked with the ease of someone familiar with the job.
And of course, I was conversant with the task. You see I was a grave robber. My bread and butter came from unearthing expensive coffins and reselling them to funeral parlours.
Raising a coffin is not an easy job for one person only so normally grave robbers work in groups of at least two people. However, I was alone because my intention was not to steal the coffin.
The tomb I was reopening was where they’d buried a wealthy man that afternoon. I had chanced to overhear the man’s widow say her husband had demanded that when he died he should be buried together with his valuables. Very few people disregard a dead person’s wishes, and the treasure was put into the coffin. So, it was this swag that I was after.
Experience told me I should’ve reached the coffin, but I was surprised I had not yet. The normal grave depth for a grown-up person is 2.5 to 3 metres. I was sure I had dug more than 3 metres. Where was the casket?
Had I excavated the wrong place? Or had someone beaten me to the loot? No. I reasoned. The mound of soil had been undisturbed. Of that, I was sure. So where was the damn box?
A sudden premonition that something was amiss gripped me with the tightness of a vice. I was convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that I had dug in the right place and deep enough not to find the coffin.
Something warned me to abandon the mission and hightail it out of the grave. But a small voice said I could have miscalculated the depth and that’s why I thought I had dug very deep. I thought of all the beer and women the money could buy and decided to go on with the job.
I had just resumed digging when suddenly the ground beneath me gave way. I found myself hurtling through a coal black hole, screaming, limbs flailing. I crashed to the ground in a heap.
Shocked, I remained on the ground gasping for breath. The ground was moist, the air filled with a sickening damp smell of rotting fresh. I did not know what had happened. Then it hit me with a stab of a knife. The grave had caved in.
Now you may think I was filled with superstitious dread. Far from it. You can’t be a grave thief if you believe in ghosts, spirits and all that bullshit. When a person dies that’s it. He can’t do any harm to a living person.
I looked about me. There was nothing but darkness. How was I going to get out? I was sure I had fallen too deep to be able to climb out.
My torch had fallen out of the back pocket of my overall. I felt about the ground and found it. By the light of the torch, realized that I was at the entrance of some sort of cave. But surprisingly there was no hole above me. Then how had I fallen in? Although I couldn’t remember, maybe I had rolled after hitting the ground.
I slowly got to my feet. I hadn’t sustained any injury. Cautiously, I stepped into the cave. The cavern was rock walled. Engraved on the rocks were strange creatures. I could distinguish some as dogs, cats, hyenas, and owls. But what was common was that they were all grotesque.
My heart brightened. Had I stumbled upon buried treasure? The drawings looked so old. I could be at the doorsill of a very important historical find.
Then I saw a light at the end of the passage. That must be the way out of the hole, I thought and quickened my step.
But it wasn’t an exit. I found myself in a big-lit cave. Where the light came from, I couldn’t tell. There was no lamp, nothing. Yet the room was lit. I stood dazed staring about me open-mouthed.
The cave was circular like a hut. Standing erect like guards against the wall were skeletons complete from skull to toe. Bats flew about.
“Welcome Nimon Kamundi!” a voice boomed.
Suddenly ahead of me appeared a human being arrayed in a glittering cloak. The first thing that struck me was how handsome the man was! I was astonished. How did he know my name? Take it easy, I told myself. This could be another grave robber I had met before.
“Have we met before?” I asked.
“I’m the devil,” came the stranger’s response.
The answer would have made me laugh. But I didn’t laugh. Not in that cave. The devil is always portrayed as a goatlike creature with horns and a tail. But I knew that was influenced by ancient mythology. I remembered that the bible says that Satan keeps disguising himself as an angel of light. His voice was sweet, alluring. “Patience, Nimon, important things first. I’ve been monitoring your work on earth, and I’ve found it satisfactory.”
What did he mean? I remained silent.
“You’ve always wanted riches, but I’ll give you more than that. Come let me show you something,” he invited me with the wave of his hand which was heavy with golden bangles.
I followed the devil into another cave. In the middle was a big glass ball.
“Nimon, witness firsthand my power,” he purred, his arms raised.
In the glass, I saw the vision of a robber breaking into a house. The owner of the house was pleading with the burglar to take whatever he wanted but spare him and his wife. But the raider stabbed him, raped his wife, and fled. In it I saw Satan exhorting the thief not to feel any pity for the victims.
Next came the vision of a fat rich man drinking beer in a bar. In it, I saw the devil tell a prostitute to seduce the man. I noted that all the sweet nothings the girl was whispering to the man came from the figure in glittering vestments. The picture faded with the man in bed with the prostitute.
The visions were endless. Robberies, rape, prostitution, drugs, corruption, violence. Every kind of crime. But one thing was clear. Whatever crime was committed it was through manipulation of the devil. It made people look like puppets.
He showed me another glass ball. In the visions the devil was trying to coerce people commit crimes, but they all rejected him. There was also a kind looking man dressed in white who was advising the people not to follow the evil ways of the fiend.
“That man in white is my enemy number one,” Satan said his voice suddenly cold. “And all those that follow him are my enemies and they must be destroyed. You, Nimon is going to play an important part in destroying them.”
The coldness in his voice made me shiver. “Why me?”
“Young man, you stand on the threshold of untold power. All you wanted was money. But I’m offering you more than that. I’ll turn you into a god. Let me introduce myself, Nimon.”
The cave suddenly went dark. Explosions lightning thunder. The man exploded only to leave behind a skeleton. This too exploded and a hideous figure with horns and a tail appeared.
“I think you are more familiar with this version of me, a stupid creation from medieval artists based on folklore. Welcome to hell, Nimon!”
Suddenly the atmosphere was filled with weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. There was a big furnace and the devil’s minions were throwing people into it while laughing gleefully.
“Why do you do this to your followers?”
The devil laughed harshly. “I know I’ll be thrown into that furnace at the end. If one knows that such a terrible fate awaits him, how can he afford to be merciful?”
I didn’t have a ready answer.
“So Nimon, I’ll give you some of my power to deceive people on earth,” the devil said “You shall be a god. What do you say to my offer?”
“No!” I screamed.
“You dare to refuse my magnanimous offer?’ If kill you now tomb raider where do you think you will go? Heaven? No, it’s into the oven to burn forever.”
I don’t know what made me say it, but I said, “You don’t have power over me. Jesus will not let you kill me.”
“Don’t mention that name here,” roared Lucifer a note of fear in the voice.
I wasn’t going to let the deceiver and betrayer win; I had seen the good that Jesus does to those who follow him. I was a sinner and deserved to go to hell but having seen how Satan exploited people, I was going to stand for Jesus even if it cost my life.
“Look here Diablos you’re nothing but a bad loser. God threw you out of heaven because of your rebellion. Instead of going back to God to ask for forgiveness you went on to deceive His children on earth. That’s why God will never forgive you!”
“Shut up, Nimon!”
“You know the difference between your power and Jesus’ power? You don’t give your followers a choice. Jesus gives His followers a choice. So, between the two of you, who’s powerful?”
“Get out of here!” roared Beelzebub.
“Yes, I’m going, and I’ll tell the world that you’re nothing but a deceiver. I’ll spend the rest of my life fighting against you!”
“No!” snarled the devil lunging at me.
I don’t know how I got out of the grave, but they told me they found me in the graveyard with bruises all over my body.
I spent three months in hospital.
When I got out, I dedicated my life to spreading the word of God. So, my friends, whatever evil you do, Satan is behind it. The devil will make you sin and laugh at you as you get destroyed. Repent now and make Jesus your Lord and Saviour and you will be saved.

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Lawrence Kadzitche

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