The Graveyard

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
It has horror in it, but it is more than that.

Submitted: March 13, 2015

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Submitted: March 13, 2015

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“I’ll bet you twenty bucks!” Wyatt said. He grinned at Ben and Dave, with a strong air of confidence. “Easy money! You guys won’t be able to do it for a whole night cuz you’ll wuss out!”

All three boys were thirteen-years-old and good friends. They were bored with the summer and itching for something to rev up the fun.Leave it to Wyatt to come up with such a wild idea, daring his buddies to take on the challenge. They all lived in sight of Pleasant Meadows Cemetery, but unlike its name, it was not a pleasant place for three boys to hangout. Death was an unavoidable, but grim reality—no thanks to its daily reminder in the neighborhood.

Certainly, a graveyard wasn’t a happening spot to be for three young fellows.Wyatt and Dave lived across the street from the cemetery, and Ben’s backyard was fenced off to it, a constant symbol all their lives that the Grim Reaper was right around the corner. Every day, they’d walk or ride their bikes right on by, well aware of its presence of old tombstones and granite statues. This posed no problem from a distance, but camping out there for a night was creepy as hell.It did seem like a perfect dare. 

“No way”, Dave replied, starting to back away. “Not for twenty bucks.”

“Sundown to sun up? Ben asked. “Raise the stakes and I’m in.” He wasn’t going to be accused of being a sissy.They all agreed and shook hands on it. 

So they pooled their money together as each one put in their share, emptying their wallets and breaking open change jars. There was bound to be a good pot.Dave mowed his neighbor’s lawn for cash. Wyatt and Ben had paper routes.

“That’s a hundred and sixteen bucks there”, Dave announced as the three sat cross-legged in a circle on the floor in his bedroom, collecting and counting up their money into one pile. 

“So what now?” Ben asked. “What if we all end up winning the bet? Who gets the money?

Dave rolled his eyes. “Duh! We all win and we all get our money back!” he told him. “And if two of us stay, we divide it in half. But if one of us remains—jackpot!” 

“Hell, yeah! Bring it on!” Wyatt said, eagerly, rubbing his hands together like he was looking at a big, juicy steak.

“Look, Wyatt”, said Ben, with annoyance, “Just because it was your idea doesn’t mean you’re gonna win!” 

So they devised a plan. Wyatt’s parents would be out of town on Friday night. His seventeen-year-old brother, Sawyer, was in charge, but Sawyer was not that attentive to his little brother. There was no need to worry about being found out there. Dave and Ben would tell their parents that they’d be spending Friday night over at Wyatt’s house. Wyatt would tell his brother that he was going to be at Ben’s house, so they had their bases covered. 

They came with their backpacks loaded up with provisions—jackets, blankets, cell phones, snacks and flashlights. With the gate locked, they climbed the wrought iron fence and found an obscure spot to spend their night in. At the older section of the cemetery, there was a big, family tombstone that would shield them well from sight. They each spread down a blanket to sit on and made camp. 

As the sun was setting, they were playing cards and enjoying themselves. They snacked on chips, cookies, candy bars and washed it all down with pop. Ben said, “Hey, Tommy Boik is around her somewhere”. He pointed by a big statue of an angel. “Probably right around there.”

“Let’s try and find him”, Wyatt said. 

Tommy was a fellow classmate of theirs that was hit by a car while riding his bike last year. He was the youngest dead person that Dave and Wyatt had ever seen. All three saw him laid out in the funeral home, dressed in a suit like he was a businessman and not someone's kid. Only Ben had seen someone younger, his infant cousin, Brianna. It was a big shock to many students, for Tommy couldn’t possibly die. He was so young and full of life.

The boys looked around a bit, hoping nobody would see them in the dim light, but they were hesitant to go walking around. There were gravestones that were so old that the names and dates were nearly worn off. 

Wyatt laughed at one tombstone that displayed a lighter side.

Here lies Cowboy John
Who died with his boots on

Most were not amusing. There were older people, but those who seemed to go way before they should have. And there were those who were just infants when they died. 

Baby Williamson
Beloved child of Harold and Rosemary
June 10th, 1939

It had a roses engraved around the sides and chubby cherubs. There was another one that was even sadder. It was apparently a brother and sister who probably died at the same time. 

WalterSteeleHelen Steele
1942-19511943-1951

­ Sleep with the angels

They boys stood there before it, their faces solemn. “I wonder how they died”, Wyatt said.

“Maybe they drowned”, Ben offered with wild speculation. The others looked at him with puzzled glances, wondering how he came up with that peculiar answer.

“Maybe they were murdered”, Dave thought out loud, a chill rising up his back. Suddenly, this expedition to find Tommy wasn’t so intriguing. A cloud of heaviness hung around them as they moved on.

“Hey, there it is!”Ben announced, pointing down to the ground from a few rows ahead. And there it was, indeed, with Tommy’s smiling face engraved in the flat gravestone. Wyatt looked like he could almost cry, but quickly said, pretending to be unemotional. “Ok, we saw it. Big deal.”

They went back to their spot as the daylight was nearly gone. “You know”, Ben said, living closest to the cemetery than the other two, "I see plenty of people come by here--bringing flowers, visiting the graves.”

“So? Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do when someone dies?” Dave asked. 

Wyatt wondered, “What about the gravedigger?”

Ben nodded, “Oh, yeah.—him, too. Creepiest guy around here. He’s perfect for this job. All he needs to do is wear a black robe with a hood and carry a sickle with him. He’d be the ultimate Grim Reaper for Halloween.”

The gravedigger was a caretaker in this cemetery. The boys didn’t know his name, but simply referred to him as “the gravedigger”. He was bald on top, with long, stringy hair, and he was tall and gangly. Never did he crack a smile, nor was one bit friendly. There was just something ghoulish about him as the graveyard was his domain.

“I got to take a pee”, Ben announced. Wyatt and Dave giggled at that.

“You asking for our permission?” Wyatt teased him. Dave burst out in more laughter. 

“No, you boob!” Ben snapped. “But what am I supposed to do?”

Dave asked him, “Did you think you’d never have to take a piss all night?”

Feeling foolish, Ben turned quite red in the face. “Just go find a pine tree, already”, Wyatt told him.

If Ben’s parents knew what he was doing, he’d be in big trouble. The last thing he wanted to do was urinate on a tree, but he had no choice. When he came back, the boys weren’t there. 

Maybe they were looking at graves again, but Ben didn’t like being all alone. It was fully dark now, and he wasn’t comfortable being by himself here. He began to hear footsteps in the gravel and soon there was Dave.

“Where’s Wyatt?” Ben asked.

“Went to take a whiz, too”, Dave replied. “But don’t worry. The Boogeyman didn’t get him…not yet.” He grinned and slapped Ben on the back.

Minutes went by and Ben wondered if Wyatt chickened out. “No way!”Dave insisted. “All his stuff is here. Besides, he wouldn’t back out of all that money. He’s probably—“

“Haaaaaaaaaaaaa!” 

Ben practically jumped out of his skin as a zombie-faced figure leaped up from behind the tombstone, nearly tackled him to the ground, and said in an exaggerated, raspy voice. “Hi, Benny! It’s Tommy Boy, your DEAR—OLD—DEAD—FRIEND! Glad to see you came for a visit!”

Dave rolled on the floor laughing as Ben pulled the rubber mask off of Wyatt’s head and shoved him hard. Dave got up and put the flashlight under his chin and taunted Ben, too, making obnoxious ghost sounds. “Woooo! Benny, my boy! Woooo! Be-eee-eee-ware!”

Wyatt and Dave gave each other a big high five, egging on Ben’s reactive anger. “Awesome!” Wyatt exclaimed at a job well done in creeping out his buddy. 

“Shut up!” Ben yelled at them. “Not funny!” A dog began to bark in the distance, creating a chain reaction of other barking dogs.

“Shhh!” Wyatt tried to quiet him and whispered, “Can’t you take a joke?”

Ben gave him a dirty look. “You’re the joke, man!”

“Okay, okay”, Dave intervened as the patch-up friend. “Everyone chill. Water under the bridge, guys.”

So the night wore on and it grew a bit chilly outside. The crickets were chirping away, and the moon was almost full in-between the clouds. The boys covered themselves in their jackets and blankets.They were hoping to stay up all night but there was little to do now. Wyatt played games on his cell phone while Dave and Ben tried to sleep.

Dave began tossing and turning, quickly standing up and dusting himself off. He tugged at his clothing and scratched himself, like he was crawling with vermin.

“What’s the matter, Dave?” Wyatt asked. “Invasion of the daddy long-legs?”

Dave looked panicked, and now Wyatt realized that he had one up on his friend. The guys never were aware of his spider phobia—until now.

“They’re coming to get you”, Wyatt taunted. “They will crawl into your ear when you sleep and eat your brains out—slowly—surely—little by little! Slurp, slurp, slurp, slurp! Hmm, hmm, good!” 

“Knock it off!” Ben warned. “I’m trying to make through this night without you acting like the supreme douche bag.”

“Thanks, Ben”, Dave said.

“Oh, I’m not defending you”, Ben clarified. “I just want some peace and quiet”. 

Wyatt just wouldn’t quit while he was ahead, saying, “Oh, but Ben, it’s true, that spiders can invade your skull and take over you brain…until you’re left to live like a mindless, motionless vegetable”. 

Now Dave was steaming. “But Ben, get this”, he fought back, “I wouldn’t worry so much about the spiders as I would the dark—the coal black dark. You see, Wyatt, if I recall, is afraid of the DARK!”

Wyatt scoffed, “Not since I was a little kid.”

Dave crawled up next to him and got in his face. “Oh, no Wyatt, I think you are still afraid. Let’s face it. When you die, you are forever sealed up in a dark, gloomy casket—pitch black, six feet under—no sunlight—no lamp—no candle—nothing at all!”

Wyatt laughed nervously. “I’d be dead”, he said. “What would I know then?” 

Dave repeated, “Dark—black—alone—trapped in the bleak, sunless, deep ground.” 

Now Wyatt was getting a taste of his own medicine, but he shot back in Wyatt style. “And you will be right there, too, Dave. Just crawling with bugs! Spiders snacking on your deteriorating face—coming out of your eye sockets—tunneling through your brain—covering your body up! Eating you up! Up! Up!" ”

“Okay, already! Shut the hell up!”

Wyatt and Dave quickly looked over at Ben. Having enough of their antics, Ben was standing up with his arms crossed and threatened, “Next one who says a thing gets a call from me right now to his parents. I’ll blow the whistle on this whole, damned thing. I don’t care if I get grounded, either.” He grabbed his cell phone out of his pocket and held it up to reinforce his threat.

So nobody said a thing. Dave continued to toss and turn, scratching himself, furiously.Wyatt lay on his back, his eyes wide open as he stared into the black. It was only Ben who fell asleep, soundly asleep.

But he soon woke up, sitting straight up like an arrow. Wyatt and David were no longer there, no sign of them at all. Maybe they were off to no good, again. He got up and shone his flashlight around. He thought he heard some movement coming, so it appeared that his friends were still around. He flashed some light in that direction and he saw what appeared to be a figure of someone. But it was quick and shadowy. He began to regret this stupid bet and wished he was in his nice, warm bed.

“Guys, this isn’t funny”, he said out into the air.

Still, Dave and Wyatt didn’t show up. But he heard some talking, some whispering, and some laughing. The guys just had to be there, so he started to walk in the direction of the chatter.

I can’t breathe. I can’t get any air. Let me out!

It’s dark in here, Mommy. Mommy, don’t go. Mommy!

Don’t leave me here, please. I beg you! Help me!

This couldn’t be happening. It sounded like female and male voices, hushed whispers, but clear and sharp. Either the guys were that good, or this place really was haunted. 

He’s watching us!

Who is he?

Is he dead, too?

That was it. Ben had enough. Forget the guys. He was going to head home, and fast, yet his flashlight faded into the darkness. He shook it, hoping to get its power back. He heard laughing now, strange male and female laughing, young and old, alike. He walked more briskly now, but had a hard time finding his way.

Stopped in his tracks, there was now a digging sound, a sound of dirton top of dirt, again and again and again. Ben began to run now until he came upon another figure. A strong hand grabbed the back of his jacket and a harsh voice said, “What are you doing here, boy?” 

Ben could barely move but was horrified to see the gravedigger had him in his grip, his hot, rotten breath in his face. “I’m sor…sorry…so sorry”, he pleaded, breathing heavily.

“Too late! Go join your friends!”

As the gravedigger shoved him into the grave he just dug, Ben grabbed hold of him to catch his fall. Both of them tumbled together into the vast hole.

“Help me! Somebody! Dave! Wyatt! Help!”

Ben flailed his arms wildly, scratching the dirt in a desperate attempt to get out of the grave pit. Climbing up, he was almost out before he felt another strong grip upon his leg, and he kicked wildly to break free. 

Back on solid ground, he ran like he was outrunning the devil. He practically was free, forcing his way through tree branches before he felt a tug on his hood and fell flat on his back. The gravedigger now had him again, dragging him back to the grave. 

“No! Stop! No!”

Ben grabbed out tufts of grass—anything at all—as he tried to prevent himself from going backward. But he just couldn’t stop the gravedigger from pulling him further.

“No! Stop it! Leave me alone!”

“Hey!”

“I said ‘leave me alone!’”

“Hey! I said, ‘Hey!’”

Ben opened his eyes. His eyelids fluttered a few times before he realized the sun was upon him. It must have been some sight, as his fingertips were dug deep into the dirt. He was quite dazed for a few moments while a tall figure stood before him. The morning sun was shining around this person, giving off an illusion of a silhouetted being. The man took his shovel and jabbed the tip of it into the ground.

Ben’s heart was beating out of his chest. “What are you doing here?” the man asked.

Ben realized it was the gravedigger.He could only lay thereas he somehow looked about at his surroundings . Still in the same spot where he and the guys camped out, he had never made his way through the dark maze of the graveyard. Now, only Ben remained. The others were long gone. He had not only survived, he lasted through the night! And he was okay!”

Embarrassed, Ben started to stammer, “I…uh…I…wa-as…I”

The gravedigger, contempt on his stony face, chastised him. “This ain’t no playground. This here’s a sacred place. You better show some respect!”

Ben stood up and brushed himself off as the gravedigger shoved his backpack at him in a huff. He then studied Ben’s face quizzically, his eyes, leery, seeming to pierce right through Ben. “Don’t you live around here?” he asked, one eyebrow cocked.

Ben thought up what to say. “Well…I…” And before the gravedigger could say “Jack Rabbit”, Ben was off like a marathon runner, speeding out of the front gate like a bat out of Hell. 

Too scared to look behind him, Ben took off way farther than he needed to go, but kept on going, hoping not to be followed home. 

Well, he could have kissed the ground. He wasn’t going to die after all! That nightmare was just too vivid, too surreal, though, and he learned his lesson. But at least he had won the bet.


© Copyright 2019 Dee Anders. All rights reserved.

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