Spectre in the Cemetary

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
I return a stolen relic to a graveyard.

Submitted: August 10, 2012

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Submitted: August 10, 2012

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The orange and brown leaves cracked and crumbled into dust as I walked silently between the stones. Midnight had approached quickly, and the silence was nearly deafening. Moonlight filtered between the leaf-barren branches of the trees, casting strange shadows around the ground. The grass was all but dead; the little that hadn't died off during the last frost now lay in abandoned clumps of tattered brown.

An owl hooted somewhere close, making me twist to look behind me. I knew I wouldn't be able to see anything but black with silver highlights, but I still peered through the blackness until I caught sight of the owl. It tilted its head, as if to ask me what I was doing out so late. A viable question, but one I wasn't prepared to answer.

There was another moment of silence before the owl twisted it head painfully fast, hearing something. Or, at least, I think it heard something, because it nearly immediately dove off the branch, and flew into the night. Once again, I found myself alone among the gravestones. The various shapes of the stones were putting me on edge. Quite a few of them were large, gregarious structures, often with the statue of something grotesque atop. I would almost swear they were watching me as I walked between them. I nearly jumped a foot when I heard the creak of stone right atop a large tomb next to me. I'm absolutely positive the gargoyle's head was in a different position when I looked at it, but that was probably just my imagination. The sound was probably just caused by a mouse. It must have climbed up to the top, found the stone slippery in the early morning dew, and fallen off, right?

My heartbeat felt loud enough for everyone within miles to hear. Even though the night was cold enough to raise the hair on my arms, I was still warm. Apparently I hadn'tneeded that jacket. That was just as well, as I'd already left it back at the entrance of the graveyard, hanging on a cold metal nail in the wooden fence.

I thought I'd heard somebody behind me, so I spun - only to see darkness. Still, I peered into the blackness, assuming that the noise hadn't been my imagination. It wasn't as dark as it had been before, as the moonlight was now reflecting off a thin, winding mist. The environment before me was virtually straight out of a movie. The gnarled trees, the full moon in the sky, the mismatched and broken tombstones, and now the mist, twisting its way between the trees and stones, and tapering off… right in front of me.

Suddenly alarmed, I spun around, and found myself in a sickly green light. A ghost shimmered in the air in front of me, transparent and skeletal. Its feet were well off the ground, or so I figured, as the figure was harder to see, the further from the face. I didn't dare look too far from the face, though. It looked like a mask – a pale, cracked skull. Patches of flesh were still on the bones, but no smell emanated. Nor did any sound. The two of us stood there, silent as the statues around us.

I realized I wasn't breathing, and tried to take a small, unobtrusive breath. The air rushed into my lungs with icy clarity, making me cough. The apparition in front of me flickered a few times, coming in and out of focus for a moment. When I'd finally composed myself, I realized it had its hand outstretched, palm up.

"GIVE... ME…" the figure rasped, as if through dry veins. It took me a terrifying moment to realize what it was asking for. I unclasped the stolen pendant I was wearing. Suddenly, I felt much lighter, as if the pendant had added several dozen pounds. I gently placed the amulet in the specter's outstretched hand, shivering as my skin touched bone.

The ghost hovered there a moment longer, as I stood, terrified. Then, with painful precision, it lifted the amulet over its head, and lay it down. For a second, I saw the spirit as it had been before death. Colorful robes in red and gold, adorned with gold and pouched spices, a hood over the face. Then the specter raised its head, and the visage vanished, leaving the rotted flesh and bone. It regarded me a moment longer, then raised its head, transforming back into the man it had once been.

There was a quiet humming in the air around me, I realized. The air felt electric, enticing. Half of me wanted to go and join it, now enveloped in green light, while the rest of me wanted to run in terror. So I did neither, standing as watching, as the mist rolled back, and the hum became near a roar. I literally felt the sound waves, just as the ground started to pitch.

I grabbed at a tree for balance; sure I was going to fall over. A piercing wail rose, over the roar, and I found myself running – running away from the cacophony surrounding me. I didn't stop until I was out of the cemetery, out on the nearby road. The countryside was barren, giving me a clear view to the supernatural performance before me. Even here, I heard the screams loud and clear as spirits of men and women, long dead, were torn from their everlasting slumber. Dozens of ghostly figures erupted from the ground, hovering the air, all facing the one with the amulet. For a moment, they all hung there, the chaos still raging. Then, suddenly, it all stopped. The ghost with the amulet seemed to erupt, exploding outward in a rush of mist. It took me a moment to realize that this shockwave would strike me, even this far away. I turned to find cover, but not fast enough, as a wave of sound and mist knocked me off my feet.

I found myself on the cold, rough concrete, flat on my chest. I'd hit my head on a rock, hard enough to draw blood. Still, I felt alive as I'd never felt before, my adrenaline still pounding my heartbeat though my head. I rose, brushed the debris off, and turned. The graveyard looked exactly as it had before; silent and dark. The mist had returned, and I now felt the chill, strong and clear, so I walked back to the graveyard fence to fetch my jacket.

I found my jacket hanging where I had left it, but glowing slightly green. This seemed a bit of a warning, but I ignored any foreboding feeling, and grabbed the jacked anyways. Underneath, hanging on the same nail, was the amulet I had given to the apparition.

By itself, it lifted into the air, until it was at chest height. The specter shimmered into existence, holding the amulet out in cupped skeletal hands.

"GIVE… YOU…" it rasped, holding the amulet towards me. It was now glowing, blood red and gold, but I took it into my hands, and clasped it around my neck. It was surprisingly warm.

"THANK… YOU…" it spoke again. Then it bowed gracefully, flickering between what was and what used to be, and vanished.

I'll never forget that day. Ever since, I've been able to see spirits trapped between worlds. I have helped quite a few get release and move on. The strangeness of this ability is ominous, yet calming. I think I handled myself quite well, given the circumstances. In the same place, I'm sure many others would have run. And I think that's part of the reason the specter thanked me. Truth be told, I sometimes wish I could go back. Part of me wishes I had run, leaving the amulet behind. I guess that all of this just proved that old saying correct. Truth really is much stranger than fiction. Much stranger. And I am proud to say that I have experienced that first-hand.


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