by MD Maurice
teenage troublemakers get more than they bargained in the town graveyard.
|Twin beams of yellow light danced over the tops of the tombstones as the boys raced in tandem through the cemetery. They dodged and darted between the larger stones and mausoleums and hurtled over the toppled gravestones and smaller markers.
As the adrenaline coursed through him, Kyle felt it firing his limbs and he resisted the primal urge to howl. The empty cans of spray paint in his pockets rattled and bounced and he struggled not to lose them as he ran. His cousin Paul matched his pace, falling behind only to surge past him again and again. Kyle saw him now, coming up fast on his right side, his face a mask of tension. A few hundred yards off the cemetery gates loomed up in the darkness. He could not see their bikes beyond it but he knew they were there, waiting.
Admittedly this had been a bad idea. If they had been caught in the act of vandalizing a cemetery, it was big trouble for both of them. Kyle was still processing that thought when his foot caught on something and he went down hard. He landed on his chest, knocking the wind from his lungs. His flashlight hit the ground, the light and lens shattered with the impact. Kyle rolled onto his back, waiting for his breath and for the pain to subside. When it had, he sat up and looked around.
He had tripped over a fallen tombstone. It was lying almost parallel to the ground, the aged stone pockmarked and covered with black moss. Kyle crawled the short distance to it. It was out of place, set apart from the others. It should not have been there.
Paul was suddenly at his side, helping him to his feet.
“Dude, you took a serious digger!” the younger boy said, not bothering to harness the laughter that leaked out with the words.
“Yeah, I tripped over that, “ Kyle said, grabbing his cousin’s flashlight and directing the beam onto the gravestone.
The light illuminated a grave marker that was narrower and older looking than any other they’d seen that night. It was half sunken into earth,the writing so degenerated that it was illegible but for one word, “Purdy”.
Paul and Kyle exchanged a look. The name meant something to them as it would have to anyone from Brewster familiar with the town’s dark history.
“She wasn’t buried this close to the gates was she?” Paul asked.
Kyle looked over Paul’s shoulder and saw to his dismay that the gates where not as close as he thought they’d been. Indeed, their impressive outlines where no longer visible. How had they gotten turned around? Confusion and an ever increasing pain in his ankle infused Kyle with a new fear. They hadn’t been turned around, they had been running for those gates. He had seen them. Even in the darkness, Kyle had registered their outlines on the horizon.
Paul snatched his flashlight back from his cousin and slowly turned in a wide circle, casting the beam in a wide arch to survey their surroundings. Nothing looked familiar. The boys stood shoulder to shoulder, stunned and silent in the deepening night.
The toppled gravestone at their feet began to vibrate – they felt it through the soles of their sneakers. They backed up and away from it. The air was suddenly thick with the smell of rot, it pressed in past their teeth and filled their throats. Assaulted by the stretch, both boys began retching and spitting.
Kyle felt Paul’s hand suddenly gripe his arm. He followed his cousin’s frightened gaze and saw the figure advancing on them, a darker space in the blackness. Paul raised the flashlight beam and illuminated the night and the moving figure.
It was a woman in a white cotton shift. Long black hair trailed down her shoulders and her feet and legs were bare. As the beam moved up over body, the boys saw that she was naked under the shift, her dark mounds and full breasts clearly discernable through the thin material. She was older, perhaps Kyle’s mother’s age, with strong womanly features and large eyes. She drew within four of five feet of the boys and smiled, cutting her eyes from one boy to the other before stepping in close to Kyle. She paused and tugged the dress over her head and off with one practiced hand. She leaned forward, her long lashes brushing his cheek and she sniffed him. The woman placed both hands on his chest, gripped his sweatshirt in talon-like fists and dragged Kyle forward against her body.
She smelled bad, really bad. Kyle registered that fact as strongly as he did her lush, hard body. He felt his arousal mounting despite the smell of rot emanating from her and his own growing sense of terror. He felt Paul back away slowly, felt his cousin make the decision to bolt just before he did exactly that. Kyle tried to call out after him but the woman was looming close and her eyes were dark, oscillating pools that paralyzed him. Kyle stood on quaking legs while her fingers trailed down to his belt and below it, pressing against the obvious bulge in the front of his jeans.
The woman began keening, a horrendous sound that made Kyle mad with fear. She began caressing his arousal through the denim. When Kyle tried to pull away, she hissed wetly at him, sending thin ribbons of black spittle over his cheeks and chin. Her fingers gripped the buckle of his belt and tugged it free in a practiced motion. Kyle struggled backwards, tried to pry her hands away but she had already wrapped a hand around his erection and pulled him free. He was hard and pulsing in her cold grip.
The touch made him cry out in pain and in terror. The wrongness of his situation rushed over him like a tide and he began to twist violently away, sobbing and cursing at the abomination that had him in her demonic clutch. He felt her nails ripping ribbons of flesh from his buttocks, felt her teeth at his neck and saw her swollen, lolling tongue. He got his arms up between them, pressed his palms against her breasts and shoved as hard as he could. The woman stumbled back, her hand fell away and Kyle was suddenly free. He turned and ran blindly into the night.
He ran and ran, stumbling and falling, his pants slipping down over his hips. He dragged himself back to his feet, tugging them back up and breaking into another wild sprint. His heart was pounding and he was screaming, too loud to hear anything that chased him. He did not look back. He felt the spray cans drop from his pockets and fall away. He didn’t stop to retrieve them. His eyes darted across the cemetery as he ran, looking for anything familiar, desperately looking for the gates. Then, he saw them.
Kyle tapped into his last reserves and took off. The momentum sent him careening into the wrought iron frames, rattling them. Kyle tugged them open and slipped through. Paul and his bike were gone. He snatched his up from the ground. He hurriedly stuffed himself, limp and shriveled now back into his jeans. Kyle threw his leg over the bike and launched himself away as quickly as he could manage. He rode at a breakneck, hazard pace all the way home. He never looked back, just pedaled and rubbed the tears from his eyes.
The house was dark and quiet, as he had left it hours before. Kyle slipped out of his clothes and stepped into the hottest shower his tender skin could stand. He washed himself roughly, turning his skin red in the steam. He could still smell her decay on his body, still felt the horror of her assault and the tender places on his body that she had scratched, torn and bruised. He still saw the obscenity of her naked breasts and her exposed sex in his mind. Exhausted, Kyle fell into bed. In the relative safety of his room, he felt unhinged.
Josephine Purdy had been the town postmistress decades ago. She had been a dark beauty, a widow with very un-puritan appetites. She had seduced the pious town magistrate and his wife had accused her of being a witch. Josephine had been tried and hung. She had been buried in the outskirts of the cemetery to be forgotten. The creature that attacked and violated him tonight had most certainly been her. Tomorrow the police would find the vandalized graves, spray cans and subsequently their fingerprints. Kyle didn’t care. He wasn’t going back to get them, what waited there for him was far worse than punishment he could imagine.