045-The Waterlogged Coffin (or, The Unmarked Grave)

There is a strange tradition that was passed on in the pubs on Paisley Road West, specifically in the Cardonald area. This tradition was only ever discussed in those wee hours of the morning, when the shadows outside the hazy, rain-lashed windows seemed too dense and too dark to ever allow safe travel back home, when half-lidded, drunken conversation began to drift towards the strange and the supernatural. Supposedly, the tradition began in Buchanan’s bar earlier in the century, then passed on to Howden’s Bar, then Parkway. It seems as though the tradition has died out – but the acolyte may be able to resurrect it.

On the first rainy night after the new moon, in any of the aforementioned bars when the bar staff call for last orders, the acolyte could order a “Waterlogged Coffin” (although in Howden’s Bar, it was referred to as an “Unmarked Grave”). The bartender would then serve the acolyte a cocktail – a dirty-brown mixture with a number of white lumps floating in it – and underneath the glass would be a scrap of paper. The acolyte would drink the cocktail and leave, headed for the Craigton Cemetery just across the street. The scrap of paper would indicate a grave, and this grave would have a particular significance on that night.

Unfortunately, the bars on Paisley Road West have since closed down or discontinued serving “Waterlogged Coffins”, so nowadays the acolyte must perform their own due diligence. On rainy nights, one grave in the cemetery will be marked with a small glass bottle, sitting atop the headstone and collecting rainwater: the grave will always be dedicated to a soldier who was killed in the First World War – but their headstone will be completely blank – and it is not necessarily a different grave every rainy night, though it is unheard of for the same grave to be indicated within the same three-hundred and thirty-three days. The bottle of rainwater will be important later – do not empty it out.

Dig up the grave where the bottle is situated, and do your absolute utmost to ignore the objects that may appear in the grave as you dig. Your paranoia is likely to increase as you dig, from hearing phantom voices inamongst the torrent of rain and the froth of splashing water to the odd vibrations deep under your feet, so even when you unearth a lost childhood toy with broken bones sticking out of it, even when you dig up a familiar photograph of your younger self seemingly suffering from harlequin ichthyosis, you must cast these aside. Only when your shovel hits the wood of the coffin six feet down can you focus your attention.

Smash open the coffin’s lid – it is easier than trying to move enough dirt to open it – and stick your arm into the hole. Your fingers will clasp around a cold, hard object, which, when you pull it out, will reveal itself to be a small rusted metal box that rattles as you move it.

Inside the box is a selection of teeth, of various sizes and stages of decay, containing exactly eight incisors, eight premolars, four canines, and twelve molars. If you wash these teeth using the water from inside the bottle atop the grave, the teeth can be used as a method of divination to gain answers to any question when they are thrown on the ground of the city of Glasgow. It is pivotal, however, to replace a tooth as soon as it breaks – otherwise, the teeth will no longer read the future – they will only read you.

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