Contest entry for "Two Sides to Every Story" Contest Round 2.
|Word Count: 2240
Everyone knew the stories about the cemetery and how the children dared each other to walk through it at midnight. Lisa took that dare herself, but that was many years ago. When she was in town, Lisa would occasionally drive by the cemetery, late at night, just to laugh at her childhood adventures. The ten year high school reunion was just around the corner and Lisa, who just got to town a couple of days prior, had met up with a few of her old friends.
Jack, her on and off boyfriend since middle school until after graduation, had dared her to walk through the cemetery at midnight and find a present he’d left for her. Lisa wasn’t sure why she took that bet, at twenty-eight she was an adult and this sort of behavior should be behind her. But the present gave her an incentive not to mention some free drinks.
“Ok Jack, I’m here. I’ll call you back after I win those rounds at the Pub.” Lisa hung up from leaving a voice mail on Jack’s phone and parked her car next to the gated entrance. She turned off the car and exited her new red Chevy Camaro and headed for the low stone wall near the gate.
After a short hop over the wall, Lisa realized that she wasn’t dressed appropriately for this little adventure. She wore a white button up shirt, black slacks, and black wedges. She pulled out her cell phone and started the voice recorder application. Being a writer, she would habitually chronicle her adventures in hopes that it might inspire her when she needed it.
“Ok, its 12:03 and I’m entering the cemetery. Ghosts beware.” She giggled and slipped her phone back in her pocket.
She had to admit, the cemetery really was still as spooky as it had been in her youth. She looked around at the varying sizes of the head stones. Lisa took off towards the center of the grave yard, in the direction of the hill, where the oldest graves were and the most haunted activities took place.
A short time in, she took her phone back out and started the app again.
“12:13, I am about half way to the hill and nothing frightening is going on.” She said in a spooky tone.
Lisa looked up into the dark sky and took a deep breath, the moon played peek-a-boo through the thick dark clouds that lazily drifted above her. The warm summer air had a sweet smell to it, rain teased to make things a little more interesting for her. She trekked on deeper towards the hill.
Large oak trees, and their shadows, grew larger the more she walked. When she reached the top of the hill, she started reading the names on the head stones.
“12:20, I am now looking for Mr. and Mrs. Remas final resting spot. I’m going to have to make this fast, a storm is coming in and I don’t want to get wet.” She said to her phone. “Jack, you better pay your debt this time.”
Lisa circled the area. She was starting to get frustrated with how long it was taking. In the distance a flash of light caught her eye.
“Great, the storm’s on its way. Where are you Remas,” she said. “Mark Stevens, Mary Gibson, Cipi Headman.”
A chill shot through her body when she spoke the final name. Her fingers tingled and she became unnerved. She felt a couple of taps on her back. She spun around, her heart beating fast, nothing was there. She felt it again on the top of her head than on her face.
“Damn, it’s starting to rain.” She stopped her voice app and put the phone in her pocket, not wanting it to get wet.
A flash of light in the sky illuminated the hill, casting long shadows throughout the grave yard. The thunder followed fifteen or sixteen seconds after the flash, the main storm was still a ways off. The rain only fell sporadically which didn’t cause her to go running for the shelter of her car, besides she wanted some free drinks. She looked at her watch, 12:27.
“Damn it Jack.” She pulled off her wedges and carried them in one hand and retrieved her cellphone; she turned on the flashlight application.
She tried to ignore the brief flashes of light as they grew in frequency. At the very least, they helped her see the writing on the larger head stones. The downside was the shadows they created, sent her nerves tingling.
“12:36,” she paused for a second. “Jack, you bastard. I’m not finding this headstone. Does it even exist?”
A cold felling cascaded down her back and her whole body started to tingle. Lightning flashed behind her, casting a large shadow of a person across her path. She spun on the balls of her feet in the direction the shadow came from. Standing about six feet tall was a statue of a woman praying. Lisa’s heart skipped a beat and she really wanted to be done with this.
“Five more minutes then, free drinks or not, I’m out of here.”
The rain picked up a little and she almost gave up until she read the inscription on an old crypt. “John and Mary Remas.” Relief washed over her and she started looking around for the small box Jack said he left there. She started the voice app again.
“Jack, where did you hide that box?” Lisa notice the door of the crypt stood ajar. “Oh no, you did not put it inside.”
A flash of lightning spread across the black sky, the wind began howling through the trees, and the rain began pouring down. She screeched and threw herself against the heavy metal door. The force sent the door flying open and she stumbled into the tomb. She landed on the hard stone floor with a thump, pain exploded in her hip, shoulder, and head.
Lisa waved the phone around looking at the interior of the room. A couple of statues, in the corners, overlooked the trespasser acting as guardians of the two stone caskets that sat between them. She stood up and brushed the dirt off her slacks with her free hand. She than noticed a small wrapped present sitting on top of the larger casket.
“You are one sick bastard,” she mumbled to herself.
She reached up to grab the present, but a small jolt of electricity shot through her arm and down her legs. She jumped back and nearly fell.
“What the hell was that?”
Lisa’s stomach cramped and the room seemed to get really cold. She looked around at all the shadows that her cellphone created, they seemed to change and sway as she moved it from side to side. The sound of rain and thunder couldn’t seem to silence the sound of her heart, which felt like it was about to explode from her chest.
She pulled up Jack’s number and called. She frantically waited until the voice mail played. Lisa quickly tried again, this time she left a message.
“Jack, where the hell are you? This place is creeping me out. I just got shocked when I tried to take your gift.”
A loud beep indicated that her battery was almost dead. She looked at the screen and seen a red flashing light.
“Great, that’s all I need.” Darkness soon enveloped the room as her cellphone shut off.
Left in the inky blackness of the tomb, her mind started playing tricks on her. Noises seemed to grow louder and leaves danced around her. The only light came from the frequent flashes of the storm. With each brief moment of sight, the room seemed to change as shadows tried to consume her.
“I hate you Jack.” Lisa fought back the tears.
Terrified, she got ready to make a sprint for her car. As she was about to run out into the rain, a crack of thunder erupted outside the door and lightning struck a nearby tree. The branches exploded in a shower of splinters. The only positive result was the tree caught fire, which illuminated the crypt in a faint dance of shadows across the back wall.
A familiar voice boomed from outside. “Get out of the way.”
She wasn’t fast enough, a figure barreled through the doorway, crashing into her. Both of them ended up on the hard stone floor in a pile.
“Sorry about that.” The room lit up as Jack turned on his flashlight.
“You bastard, what the hell is this.” Lisa balled up her fist and struck Jack in his stomach.
“I was going to surprise you,” he started to say.
“Well you sure did.”
“Sorry, the storm came out of nowhere.” He sat up and looked at her. “That rain is really coming down now.”
The pair stood up and Jack pointed the flashlight to the present on the casket.
“You didn’t open it.” A twinge of disappointment sounded in his voice.
“Are you kidding, the damn thing shocked me.”
Lisa notice his eyebrows turn up. He walked over and grabbed the gift and handed it to her.
She hesitantly took the box and opened it. Inside was a silver necklace with a crucifix, inlayed with diamonds and a heart in the middle, hanging at the end. She recognized it as the one he gave her at the beginning of their senior year, the one she threw at him when they broke up at the end of high school.
“You kept it.” She had to choke back a tear.
“I told you that we were forever.”
She couldn’t miss the hoarseness in his voice. He sounded almost like he was on the verge of tears. She looked up into his eyes. They were as blue and hypnotic as they were when she first looked into them.
“I don’t know what to say,” she said.
“You don’t have to say anything darling.”
He reached out and took her by the shoulders. She felt a tingling of happiness at his touch. The exhilaration from the fear and the relief of Jack showing up, mixed together in a jumble of prickling sensations that ran up and down her spine. She closed her eyes when he leaned in. Their lips met in what only could be defined as a love that never died.
His lips felt soft and tender to the touch then his hands tightened on her shoulders. She kissed back. Lisa wrapped her arms around him pulling herself into him tightly. He was very solid, his muscles were thick, and as far as she could tell, he lifted weights regularly.
He pulled away from her and took a deep breath.
“Why don’t we go to the Pub and I’ll buy you those drinks I owe you, and then we could see where the night takes us.” He kissed her again. “But first.” He took the necklace and clasped it around her neck.
She got a few glimpse of him in the dim flash light and the bright moments the lightning flashed. Her suspicions were correct. Through his wet tee-shirt she could see the muscles of a well-toned man. The electricity in the air drew her attention to the feelings that she still felt for him.
A bright flash and thundering boom forced her to look away. She could feel her heart beating faster, weather it was from the emotional shock she just received or from the disturbing feeling she still felt from the cemetery, she couldn’t tell.
“Let’s get out of here,” she finally brought herself to say.
“I’ll race you to the cars.” He replied.
Another flash of lightning and he took off. She giggled and was right on his tale. The ground turned to mud with all the rain which made her slip and slid. At the bottom of the hill she hit a patch of mud mixing with the neatly trimmed lawn and her feet went out from under her.
“Wait,” she yelled to Jack, who was already out of sight.
“Come on slow poke.” His voice was already muffled by the wind and thunder.
Lisa took a deep breath and regained her feet. She was off after him. She reached her car, but it was the only one there.
“Jack,” she yelled.
There was no answer and she jumped in her car. After throwing on her seatbelt, she started her car. She threw the transmission into reverse and she was off, trying to get to the bar and collect her debt. The rear wheeled drive didn’t handle very well on the wet roads, and she almost spun out a couple of times.
She finally pulled into a parking spot and got inside the bar with an hour to spare until it closed for the night. She looked around the bar, only about a handful of people were still there, but Jack was nowhere to be seen.
She spun around to face the bar tender, a woman she recognized after only half a second.
“Tina. Have you seen Jack, I was supposed to meet him here.”
“Jack Stevens?” She hesitated.
“Umm, I don’t know how to tell you. He died in a car accident late last night, he was on his way back from the cemetery.”
Lisa’s heart stopped, confusion overcame her and her hand reached up and took hold of the crucifix she still wore.