The Horrorphiles, Part 12
By Stephanie Thompson; 1,641 words
Read the previous parts to catch up:
Chapter 14 (but for some reason I keep writing it), continued
A full moon peeked through the thick clouds blocking out the all the night’s light from the universe (galaxy? Maybe delete the entire description?) For a brief moment she could see the entire yard of prickly shrubs, naked trees, bare woody vines wrapping around crumbling statuary, and dark spots and shadows everywhere. In the quick glimpse she could see nothing that looked like a mausoleum or tombstones. But anything could be hiding in the darkness where the moonlight didn’t reach. She wished she hadn’t thought that. The instant the clouds swallowed the moon again and the darkness surround them once again, her imagination went into overtime inventing terrors she couldn’t see, waiting for her just beyond the beam of flashlight. Big disfigured men in dirty overalls and pockets full of knives and torture implements. Crouched horned creatures with sharp fingers and an appetite for flesh. The devil waiting for her to get just close enough to reach out capture her soul. An entire field of ghosts and poltergeist waiting to get their revenge or posses her body.
Fear and panic mounted in her making it difficult to breathe. She could feel them all around her now. Eyes watching her, slick , slimy tentacles squirming nearly grazing her, the dead, flat moans of the living dead walking once again. Adam walked just ahead of her like he felt, heard, and saw nothing. His face was set with the determination of working their way through tricky landscape. She wanted to say something, make some kind of normal conversation, empty her head of the ridiculous thoughts and fears, but her voice refused to come out of her throat like it was too scared itself to leave her vocal cords.
“Hey, watch ou…” Adam started to say but he fell out of site and all she heard then was pained grunts.
She still couldn’t make a sound but she could run like a shot in the opposite direction from whatever had got Adam. A blast of cold air barreled over the grasses and weeds, pushing them into her, trying to push her back, slowing her forward progress, ripping through the seams of her clothes filling up her hoodie stealing her warmth. It shrieked all around her but she could still hear her unseen pursuer stomping behind her.
She couldn’t see where she was going. She turned her head in every direction. She pointed her flashlight randomly around her. She was desperate to not be caught off guard, not to be caught at all, that she wasn’t looking in front of her. She had no idea if she was running towards the house, or away from it, or going completely into the wild surrounding the manor, which is how she ended up running into a shin high garden wall, stubbing her toes, scraping her knees, ripping her jeans, dropping her flashlight, and banging her ribs on some random stone statuary.
A powerful arm grabbed her by the waist and prevented her from falling further and hitting her head on more stone by pulling her back forcefully. Whatever was chasing her had her now, it’s arms around her waist and across her chest, strapping down her arms. She twisted and turn in it’s cold unrelenting embrace. It was fully dark now, her flashlight must have broken when she dropped it. The wind was still violent, noisy, and cold but she could hear her heart pounding her ragged breath, and the strong steady one of whatever had got her. She closed her eyes, opened her mouth, and the screams she’d been threatening to unleash all night finally released it sell from her throat in a high pitched, blood-curdling blast.
The thing dropped her and she landed with a thump on her butt. She ignored the sharp shocks of pain that were coming from everywhere now and immediately starting kicking at it in the legs and shins if she had to guess by the feel of it through her shoes.
“Fuck, Ronny, what the shit!”
Adam’s flashlight beam cut through the darkness and back lit Jordan’s hunched shoulders. Veronica stopped kicking and leaned back on her elbows trying to catch her breath.
“Seriously, what the hell Ronny?”
“I thought you went to bed,” she said breathlessly.
“I couldn’t go to sleep so I thought I’d come see how grave walk was going. It is dark as shit out here, I couldn't see where you guys were so I was going to go back in the house. Then out of nowhere you were running like a bat out of fucking hell. I kept calling your name and trying to catch up with you. Didn’t you here me call you damn name?”
Adam was still jogging up his light bobbing back and forth behind Jordan. He was wincing in pain rubbing just below his knees.
“I couldn’t hear anything,” she lied. “I was too scared.” She had been scared but she still clearly heard growling and snarling, stomping and breathing. She heard something, something not human chasing her.
“Why were you running anyway?”
Adam was finally caught up with them. “What are you doing here?” he asked Jordan. Then he saw Veronica on the ground. “Are you okay, Veronica?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Both men extended a hand to help her and she took them both because she wasn’t that fine. Everything from the chest down sung out in dull bruised pain. Her ribs practically screamed when she tried to breathe deeply.
“Why’d you take off like that?” Adam asked.
“I don’t know,” she lied again. There was no rational explanation for why’d she’d run, only crazy, deranged ones and she wasn’t going to start repeating those. “It just sort of happened.”
Jordan had this look, a mix of knowingness and I told you so, but he didn’t contradict her.
“What happened to you?” She asked Adam as she watched him knock dirt off his wool coat.
“There was just a sudden ledge, I stumbled on. I think the remains of a retain wall. I knew it was coming up, I was trying to warn you. . . I just didn’t realize I was right on top of it.”
While Adam was talking, Jordan dug around the on ground. He found her flashlight and picked it up. He knocked it a couple of times and the light beam back on.
“Hey why were you guys walking over that way,” He shone the flashlight in the direction Adam had come from, “when the cemetery is over here?” Now he shone the light on the thing Ronny was pretty sure by now she’d actually broken her ribs on.
In light barely there letters carved onto a simple stone block was the name Ruth Greyson, the dates (um whatever), and the words ‘Here Lies a goodwife and loving mother who was done great wrong after her death and was layed to rest at home on’ (some date) (seriously?).
Jordan moved the light to next stone piece, what Ronny almost hit her head on. This one was a column topped with an urn that looked like once upon a time some kind of plant grew in. Now, it was filled with a greenish-brown water that dead plant matter was floating on. Beneath the earn was a plaque: Here rest the remains of Reverend Richard Greyson and his second wife Josephine Goodbody who lived their whole lives in righteousness and were killed and mutilated by ignorant and suspicious townfolke (that’s a wordy plaque).
Suddenly Veronica was very, very cold and didn’t want to be here. The wind still whipped around them, whistling past her ears. She shoved her fists into her hoodie pockets and hugged it closer around her. Her adrenaline had not fallen back to normal levels but were closer to a yellow alert. She glanced at Adam at first and then did a double take. He was practically rocking back on his heels, a smile played around his lips like he was surprising a giggle, a fiery light in his eyes. When they darted to meet her eyes, she quickly looked away again. Her adrenaline soared to red alert levels again. She had the feeling being at the center of this man’s attention was a very bad place to be and she’d been in practically all day. She moved a little closer to Jordan. She no longer cared about being rude to Adam, she wanted to get the fuck out of there.
“But I thought they were buried in some old churchyard, or at least their heads were.”
“One of the crazy forefathers insisted on having what was left moved here and reburied, yet again. He had the notion we all belonged together, forever.”
Jordan moved the flashlight over the other headstones and memorial statuary. It was bigger than she supposed, much bigger, she couldn’t see the end of it with just the flashlight. There was one building like structure, basically the size of a tool shed that she assumed was the mausoleum. The flashlight buzzed and blinked off, Veronica jumped and moved even closer to Jordan. He hit the flashlight a couple more times and it buzzed back on.
There wasn’t light from Adam’s flashlight, not that she could see, and she didn’t want to look back at him again, afraid of what she would see this time.
“It must have been a lot of work to the permissions to exhume the bodies,” Jordan said.
“Didn’t always have permission.”
Jordan turned to the side to look at Adam. Veronica moved closer and grabbed his elbow for security. She knew she was holding him tighter than she should, she shouldn’t have been holding him at all, but Jordan made no notice or comment on it. “Grave-robbing?” He said to Adam.
“Is it grave-robbing? Is it kidnapping? If you’re just bringing a person home?”
Keep Reading: Part 13
Thanks for reading!