The Horrorphiles, Part 13
By Stephanie Thompson; 1,530 words
Need to catch up? Read the previous parts:
Chapter 14 (but I keep writing it for some reason), continued
“That’s a really fucking weird thing to say, man.”
Adam stepped suddenly into the beam of the flashlight, right beside Jordan. Veronica jumped again and moved so have her body was pressed into Jordan’s. Anyone seeing them would think they were couple again but she didn’t care about that, she just wanted to feel safe. She wanted to feel real (I like it but does that make sense?)
Adam still had an inappropriate smile or at least it looked that way to Ronny. He was definitely smiling but it didn’t was jovial or good-natured, it was devilish. Jordan showed no signs of discomfort or fear or of having his hackles up. She was close enough to him now to hear his heart, to feel his lungs expand with air, both in slow steady rhythmic waves.
“I mean, you heard the history, right? Oh, that’s right.. You guys left in the middle.” He looked past Jordan now, to her, his devilish smile turned malicious. “For your lovers’ spat.”
He watched her over Jordan’s shoulder because she was basically completely behind him now. Everything she’d found handsome about his face, everything she thought charming, looked vile now, hateful. Vicious. All of it directed at her.
Veronica wished she was any place in the whole world. She wished she’d never come here. She wished she’d never thought of this stupid retreat. She wished for her simple little blog and her simple little life where everything scary only happened in the movies and Jordan or Becky or Kurt or Aunt Wanda or her dad, or anyone else was there to protect her or tell her it’s not real. Because right now everything felt too real, too scary, and too much to handle.
Adam crossed in front of Jordan, who followed him with flashlight, and Veronica went the other way so they’d essentially switched places. She clutched Jordan’s entire arm this time, with both hands. She could only see the back of Adam now. When he spoke again, Veronica jumped so hard the flashlight beam shook
“There has been so much insanity in the Greyson line, it’s really hard to say what was reasonable, what was bat shit insane, or how or why they did anything.”
Again she jumped when he turned towards them. He looked normal again. Perfectly calm and pleasant. Handsome. She was crouched against Jordan hiding her face in his shoulder.
“Veronica, are you okay?” Adam asked.
Jordan looked at her like he noticed her clinging to him for the first time.
“I-I’m fine. I-I’m just cold, is all,” she said in a small thoroughly unconvincing voice. She shivered, cleared her throat, and finally let go of Jordan. “I’m just cold.” She tried to say it better but she was’t really successful.
“D’you want to go back inside? I’m sure we’ve seen enough.” He looked at her with sympathetic eyes like he knew the real reasons and was just being polite.
Adam looked at her too, like he knew the real reason too but he was laughing.
How much longer was she going to do this? Pretend she was somebody else? Pretend like she wasn’t terrified down to her tiny sore foot bones in her shoes? And where was the shame in it anyways? Isn’t that the point of all the horror stuff, to scare people? So why didn’t she say it? Why didn’t she say she was scared and she wanted to go inside and further that she wanted to go home and give up The Horrorphiles forever?
She opened her mouth and tried to say something but she didn’t know what the something was and nothing came out.
“Come on, I can show some of the stuff you missed earlier,” Adam said stepping out of the flashlight beam, going further into the graveyard.
Jordan moved closer to her, rubbed her arm with one hand. “Do you want to go back in the house?” he asked softly.
Veronica nodded. She just wasn’t cut out for the cahones grabbing lifestyle.
Jordan looked to where Adam had gone on a head. There was complete darkness.
“Well, I think we’ll have to go get him first though, I don’t know why he doesn’t have a flashlight but we can’t leave him alone without one.”
She wanted to say he did have one but she hadn’t seen him use one since they’d been by the graves. Maybe he dropped his when he fell. Veronica would have to admit she didn’t care much. She didn’t want to go look for him, she didn’t want to find him.
Jordan started walking in Adam’s direction. Then Veronica found her voice. “Jordan!” His name came out like a strangled scream.
He startled and looked back at her. “Wait,” she said her voice shaking. She took his warm hand in hers, tightly. He squeezed hers back. He smiled briefly, then kissed her lightly on the cheek. For the first time since he walked into Greyson Manor, Ronny was actually glad Jordan was here.
They stepped over the low wall she’d ran into earlier and in between tombstones. Ronny winced with each step, between her stubbed toes, the rough denim rubbing her scraped knees, and the throbbing in her ribs, she was barely keeping it together.
They found Adam several rows in. He made no indication he noticed there approach but as soon as they stopped, he began talking.
“Ruth and Josephine, and Richard Grayson were some of the first people murdered in American witch trials. Harriet and Gerald Richards were some of the last to be tried as witches in the States. Hung in [some year].”
“Hey, Adam, I think we’re ready to head inside. It’s pretty late and cold.”
He continued. “They didn’t spare the children this time, at least the older ones. The newborn, Nicholas, he was saved to be raised by relatives. For a time.”
Adam started walking again
“Dude, what the . . .” Jordan made an exasperated gesture with his flashlight hand. Then followed Adam, bringing her with him.
“Maybe we should just go,” she said.
“I don’t want to leave him out here without a light.”
“I know my way back,” Adam said. He stopped and turned back to look at them just when the flashlight beam reached him. “Do you?”
Ronny turned back to where she thought the house was but there were no lights. She looked in another directions and there were still no lights. Either everyone had finally gone to bed of Greyson manor had fallen off the face of the Earth.
“Shit,” she said.
Adam went back to walking. Jordan sighed/growled and followed him dart the flashlight beam back and forth to get them the most vision so they wouldn’t walk into the memorial stones.
A few minutes more of silence and Adam paused by another set of memorials. “There are so many buried here. Even when they tried to have bigger families, most of them died tragically young. The ones who lived the longest stayed at Greyson Manor. But we all come back eventually.”
Something about the way he said it made the hair stand up on the back of her neck. She paid attention to the gravestone he was standing beside. Adam Newbridge (some year to another year) “Lived life in the fast lane, then crashed and burned.” She had several thoughts at once. Ridiculous thoughts like, “Hey that’s Adam’s name” or “That’s a strange thing to put on a tombstone.” And then the insistent and repetitive ones like “I need to be out of here now, right now, no delay no politeness. We get the fuck out now” and “Oh my god he’s dead, oh my god he’s dead, oh my god he’s fucking dead.” She started hyperventilating.
Adam moved forward yet again and Jordan followed yet again. Ronny didn’t think her feet would move but they betrayed her and propelled her after them. They walked on longer this time. Past the mausoleum, to the very back of the cemetery.
“We always have room for family,” Adam said.
Jordan was saying something but Veronica couldn’t hear any of it. That loud humming buzz that kept coming into her ears and blocking out all sounds came back. Her eyes were glued to the stones near Adam’s feet. Quite plainly carved in clear, fresh letters the four tombs said four names she never thought she’d see here. Marilyn and David Granger and Wanda Grace Pepperidge. Her vision tunneled down just to those names, the rest of the world didn’t exist. Nothing existed, not her body, not her thoughts, there was nothing. Her mother, father, and great aunt hadn’t been buried anywhere near here, not even in the same state. But there they were. Their names, their birthdates, their death dates. And then there was the fourth tombstone. . .
Veronica couldn’t take it anymore. None of the strangeness. None of the absurdity. None of the insanity. Imagination or not. She couldn’t catch her breath, her vision was just a pinpoint on nothing but the final tombstone. The world fell out from under her feet and Ronny Granger fainted inches from the tombstone with her name on it.
Keep Reading: Part 14
Keep Reading: Part 14
Thanks for Reading!