She stood up, stretching muscles that had been cramped into awkward positions for hours. Uncovering century-old skeletons was thrilling, but try explaining that to back muscles forced to hold a spine bent halfway over a dusty pit.
This was the best preserved of the bunch. A young lady, judging by the skull features, about the archaeologist’s own age - early twenties, and already married. The gold band shone dully in the sun, its gleam seen only now after 150 years of dirt to keep it safe on its finger.
Grinning to herself, she crouched down again to get a close look at the ring. Now that the daylight was hitting it directly, she could see an inscription around the band. After a moment’s inspection, she let out a soft gasp. Her own name was etched into the gold: Rose. It seemed fated that she should uncover this particular skeleton, out of the fifteen or so they had found. Glancing at the skull, she fancied that she could even see the flesh over the bone, filling out a face that looked much like hers. A face that was hers. As she stared in horror, pink flesh grew out of the pores of the bone, flooding the skull and forming into cheeks, ears, lips. Eyes. A pale blue, just like her own.
She looked away from the skull - the head now - peering over the edge of her pit to the others working away. Surely they should have heard her exclamation of satisfaction as she had uncovered the last toe bone, just moments before. No one moved, not even at their work. They seemed frozen, a snapshot of the work of an excavation held still by time itself. She felt bare bones tighten around her wrist, and her eyes went to the skeleton of their own accord.
The skeletal hand pulled her close, and she tore her gaze from her own face to glance down the body. All but the hand and feet had been covered over again by flesh. The same pale skin, the same freckles - she knew this body intimately. The new, soft lips defied the dry air, and spoke to her. The voice was not the same at first, but changed as it - she - spoke, to a perfect copy.
“My, looks like you’ve had plenty of time with this one. It’s my turn now.” The archaeologist tried to pull away, panic overwhelming her senses as she felt her body being sucked down into the grave, fresh air melting away. As she lay, staring up at the blue sky, the last thing she saw was the white grin of the skeleton above her. “Looks like I’ve got a good one here.”