Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or associated characters. They remain in part the property of Mirage Studios and Nickelodeon (Viacom). I make no financial gain from this fiction.

A/N This is written as part of the Fic Challenge by Connie Nervegas, over at Stealthy Stories. I apologise for the short chapter length, this is something I hope to address in the subsequent chapters. As ever, please review and let me know what you think and above all, enjoy!

Minutes to Midnight

"Have the courage to live. Anyone can die." ~ Robert Cody

Darkness. It started with darkness and silence. Silence punctuated only by the sound of shuddering breath. Movement was painfully stiff, muscle screamed as he tried to sit up but something solid prevented him. Fumbling blindly he tried to paint a picture of his surroundings with his hands, his fingertips brushed against the rough wood imprisoning him. A box? No a wooden casket!

How long had he been unconscious? How much air did he have left? Minutes? Seconds? His brow furrowed as he tried to cut through the thick fog enveloping his mind. The past played back to him in fits and starts, flashes of fleeting moments. The moment of his capture flickered before him before the image faded and died, only to be replaced by the next. Visions of torture, of tight bindings and endless questions flooded his mind until he was stood once again in the cold misty acres of a New York cemetery.

Headstones scratched warped shadows into the moonlit sky, reaching relentlessly towards the heavens. A chilling breeze swept across the ground swirling and churning the mist about his feet as he stared into the yawning hole before him. He didn't remember shivering against the cold, in fact he didn't remember feeling anything, just raw emptiness.

"Take a good look around you." the voice came hot and thick against the bare skin of his neck. "You won't be seeing anything again anytime soon."

He didn't hear much more after that. A brilliant white pain exploded through his head before his world was swallowed into the boiling swells of darkness.

Buried? Alive? Placing the palms of his hands against the lid he tested for weakness. The wood complained bitterly but could not coaxed to move more then a few centimetres. There had to be at least six feet of compacted earth against the casket lid. Even if he did break through the lid, he would be sure to drown in the cloying dirt before being able to claw himself to freedom. His hand knocked against a small object laid upon his chest. Grasping it tightly he rain his fingers over the smooth hardness before finding a small crack that ran along most of it's length, separating it into two interlocking sections. A cell phone? Scraping his fingernails against the top section he attempted to pry it open. An unnatural light flooded the casket, bathing him in an eerie glow it banished the darkness to the furthest corners where it bubbled furiously. He stole a glace at the time in the right hand corner of the display. Minutes to midnight.