Dorothy needs one last photograph
|The light was fading, but the air still warm on this summer’s evening, as Dorothy entered the impressive gates. She halted for a moment, taking in the fine detail of the wrought iron. Lifting the camera which hung around her slim neck she stepped back, taking a photograph of the spiked, ornate gates and wondered for a moment how many people had entered here but never left.
In the changing light her hair caught last of the sun’s rays turning it into a halo of copper.
Her mission was to capture, in pictures, a cemetery at the end of a day, when all visitors left leaving the residents in peace.
The pungent smell of overblown roses filled the air as she walked silently through the graves. Seeing a mausoleum Dorothy stopped to read the names of the family interred there, then noticed the grave of a young woman with the same family name buried alongside, causing her to wonder about the circumstances which had led to this woman not joining her family members.
Dorothy loved cemeteries, the inscriptions, the stone monuments, angels and lions protecting their dead.
The moon was rising in the east; the sun having sunk behind the trees leaving a golden light reflecting on the hundreds of gravestones. Dorothy was there to capture that moment, shadows elongating, and trees in the background turning black against the remaining colour of the sky. She raised her camera once more, eager to seize and secure the photograph before night fell.
Satisfied with her night’s work she walked away, suddenly feeling alone and vulnerable. The temperature dropped and wishing she had brought a jacket Dorothy began to walk faster. Ahead she could barely discern the iron entrance gates, the light faded and her heart gave a lurch realising that no one knew she was here; she felt alone and inexplicably frightened.
Almost in reach of the gates, the path, which she’d been sure led to the exit, gave a sharp turn to the left. Having no choice but to follow it she began to run. Again it ended in a sharp left turn, in front of her were graves, winged angels and massive marble headstones barring her way. Soon she realised she’d completely lost her bearings until she recognised the family vault she’d seen earlier.
Calming herself she stopped running and tried to think. Remembering her mobile phone had a torch she took it from the pocket of her jeans.The light captured the rows of headstones and statues in its beam but gave her little comfort. Sweeping the torch around, she saw the grave of the young woman whose family were in the vault. There were signs someone had disturbed the plot; soil and gravel scattered across the concrete path.
Feeling a presence, Dorothy swung around to see a girl her age dressed in a filthy, ragged white gown, her arms outstretched.
Dorothy gave a scream of horror and fled, her torch barely lighting the way. Turning her head to see if she was being followed she tripped, falling heavily. Her phone smashed, leaving her in complete darkness. Scrambling to her feet she ran, screaming when she felt a hand upon her shoulder.
Spinning around to face her pursuer, filthy, dirt-encrusted hands reached out, grasping Dorothy’s head firmly, the pungent odour of something long dead assailed her as the girl’s fangs sank into her white neck.
Escaping the vampire’s clutches she reached the gates, discovering them locked with a heavy chain and padlock. Screaming and rattling to no avail, she began to climb until she reached the top. Balancing precariously she looked down at her assailant who stood silently, her head raised, eyes wide, watching as if it made her sad seeing her new friend trying to leave her.
As Dorothy attempted to climb over the gate she slipped, the rusty iron spikes impaling her chest.
For a moment she hung there, head down, observed from below, blood seeping slowly from her body, until she slowly began to move. Pulling herself from the sharp spikes she climbed back down, taking the outstretched hand of her new friend. Without a word they slowly walked together through the graves into the darkness.
Word count 700