Undertaker 16: The Dinner (an intermezzo)


The family gathered for dinner. At the head of the table perched the grandfather. At the sides all the rest – father, uncle, aunt, older son with his betrothed girl, mother who was serving the soup and younger daughter who was helping.

“Did you hear the news?” uncle inquired.

“Which news?” father asked politely while ladling the hot steaming soup and not really interested in the answer.

“Everybody knows!” uncle spurted out hastily.

“How it is news when everybody knows already?” father dropped, annoyed.

“Because it is new,” the aunt added.

“What new?” The grandfather scratched his ear.

“The screams though!” the uncle stated with importance.

“What screams?” the betrothed asked with a mixture of shyness and curiosity.

“Pretty much everybody knows…,” father noted ironically and burned his tongue in the soup.

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“The whole of Blackwaters Quarter could hear it,” the uncle continued.

“The news?” the grandfather sniffed.

“No, the screams!”

“What screams?” the betrothed repeated with even shyer curiosity.

“The screams that woke the entire quarter before dawn,” the uncle explained patiently.

“It was rats,” the older son announced convincingly.

“Rats don’t scream,” the younger sister spluttered, upset. “Cats and dogs do.”

“Dogs howl,” the betrothed remarked. “And rats screak.”

“They screech,” mother corrected.

“That’s the same as a scream,” the aunt interfered, burning her tongue.

“Bollocks!” the grandfather shouted. “Not rats nor dogs nor cats! It was demons and ghosts ascending directly from hell, feasting on the corpses at the cemetery…”

“Bollocks!” the grandfather shouted. “It was demons and ghosts ascending directly from hell, feasting on the corpses at the cemetery…”

“There are no demons or ghosts…,” the older son grumbled and his soon to be wife clasped his hand under the dinner table.

“But the screams did indeed come from the cemetery,” the uncle emphasized.

“There are rats at the cemetery,” the older son snapped.

“Shut up, kid!” the grandfather blustered. “You have no idea!”

“Father, please…,” the mother tried to calm the elder and gently pushed a glass of liquor towards him, which he graciously accepted.

“Fifty years ago,” the old man spoke, “when I was a young little shit like you, there were screams coming from the graveyard every single night. Summer or winter, rain or snow. The devils had risen as an omen of a disaster or plague. Nobody dared go near the yard at night. Not the city watch, not mercenaries hired by the citizens. Nobody. The only one who picked up the fight was the Undertaker himself. Every night he pulled out his shovel and fought with the hellspawn until dawn. And every night he had to beat them back to their pits. It lasted for nearly two years. Until he finally won the war and the city was saved. The plague was averted…”

The older son burst into laughter.

“I sincerely hope, folks, you don’t believe in this superstitious nonsense. There are no ghosts or devils! We live in enlightened times full of new ideas and progress! This… Undertaker is also a pitiful myth! Has anyone ever seen him? Anyone?”

“This… Undertaker is also a pitiful myth! Has anyone ever seen him? Anyone?”

“Actually I have,” the father answered dispassionately. “When your grandmother died. But the price for burial was too high so we left her to be cremated.”

“Don’t tell me this was the same guy as fifty years ago,” the son mocked.

“I don’t know,” father shrugged his shoulders. “I was not there fifty years ago.”

“See? I knew it was a myth!” the older son roared triumphantly. “All tales for superstitious fools! But don’t despair, this will soon be over.”

“What do you mean by… over?” the mother asked, worried.

“Over! Done! The revolution cannot succeed if we don’t change the minds of the people. Their way of thinking. We’ll have to force them!”

An awkward silence fell. The father rubbed his face with his palms, the grandfather grinned cynically. The younger daughter rolled her eyes.

“Can you be more specific?” the mother tried with patience.

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“Everything will change! The old ways must die! There is only the way forward, only progress! Either you submit to the ideas of the revolution or you’ll perish!”

“I’ll submit to nobody,” the aunt grumbled quietly.

“I don’t understand a word,” the younger daughter stated.

“Where do you get all this horseshit from? From the university we can barely afford to pay for you?” the father growled angrily.

“I’ve had enough!” The older son threw his knife and fork down on the table. With his other hand he grasped his betrothed who in vain tried to cool him down. “We’re leaving!”

As they stood in the open door, the youngster turned to his family once more.

“You should know I’ve joined the skincoats. As many others should. And I…,” the boy thumped his chest with his fist, “will ensure the obedience of this stupid reactionary folk. And even yours.”

“I’ve joined the skincoats. As many others should. And I…,” the boy thumped his chest with his fist, “will ensure the obedience of this stupid reactionary folk. And even yours.”

The slamming of the door was followed by an unpleasant rumbling echo and the manic laughter of the grandfather.


“That was good…,” Kerbera gasped for breath and stretched herself out on the tombstone. “I love these nights.”

“Are you sure our daughter was not awakened?” the Undertaker wondered while tying his pants.

“Absolutely,” the succuba replied. “My sound barrier is impenetrable.”

“But the citizens…”

“To hell with the citizens,” Kerbera yawned.

“They’ll just…”

“They’ll just what? They’ll invent further stories about how you hump demons.” The succuba stood up, lasciviously approaching her lover. Her sweat-sheened skin still radiated heat from the recent passion which transcended into an eerie blurry aura of her perfect naked body boldly bathing in the chilling pale moonlight. She stretched her hand, caressed his unshaved cheek and before seducing him with a cascade of gentle kisses, whispered: “Forget them and enjoy your endless life without pondering over useless details.”

You can still choose what will happen next.

Should Undertaker let the succuba feed the baby with her milk?Your choice will influence the next chapters of the story. Choose wisely.

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