Read on to Chapter 12.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
PART 2, THE FIRST EVIL, 1931-1933: Chapter 11 (UNEDITED)
If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section to read the Prologue-PART 2: Chapter 10 before proceeding to reading PART 2: Chapter 11.Otherwise, read from the jump :)
The Plains Cemetery sat near the middle of the town, stretching over a field that led back into the woods. The woods sat in the background, trailing along the town and eventually led up the hill and surrounded the old Fleming Orphanage. There was a small, iron gate that circled the cemetery’s grounds. The groundskeeper lived in a small house just off the grounds near the woods. He would lock the gates at night, but of course that hardly kept the occasional group of high schoolers from sneaking in at night for a laugh and in the hopes of catching site of the ghost of one or all of the Flemings and James Livingston. Some said that as one of the founders of Plains and also coming from a family who had been among those not only founding the country but also had helped draft it’s Consitution and Declaration of Independence, James’s spirit was said to walk the grounds keeping a watch on the town and it’s residents and ensuring their safety. As for the Flemings, the story wasn’t as comforting. There was one story about the vengeful spirits of Cedric and Margaret wandering the grounds in search of Jared as a means of getting revenge for ruining their business and their daughter. Others said that Margaret’s anguished spirit walked the grounds in search for her poor son, Nathaniel. There were stories of how Maxine wandered in search of the illegitimate child she had to give up. Jared’s spirit just wandered out of hopelessness.
The stories seemed neverending, but they made for interesting conversation on a night such as the one Jimmy Kratz’s car had pulled up and parked along the street a little way down from the cemetery. Jimmy put the car in park, shutting off the headlights, and took the key out from the ignition. The six of them sat with the darkness surrounding them as dark clouds passed by the waning October moon. Dark clouds passing in front of the moon as they had done in Romania almost 100 years ago as two Roma boys ran for their lives into the Transylvania woods.
The kids were silent for a while, each waiting for the other to speak or open a car door or do something. Each had their pulse speeding up just slightly. Dorothy leaned in closer to Carl who placed his arm around her and pulled her close to him. Finally, Jimmy spoke up.
“Well, George and Evan snuck in here a couple times over the summer and they showed me where everyone normally sneaks in at,” he said.
“Did they see anything?” Gail asked.
“I don’t think so,” Jimmy said, “though George claimed that he thought he could hear Maxine whispering next to him. Rambling about something and when he turned, there wasn’t anyone there. Evan said he thought he saw a light in one of the windows of the Livingston Mausoleum. But the whispering could have been the trees rustling and the light could have been the moonlight reflecting off of something. Plus, George has a tendency to be full of it. He likes to exaggerate.”
Everyone was silent again before Carl spoke up.
“Well, we’re not going to see anything just sitting in here,” he said, “what do you say we get moving?”
The six emerged from the car and looked for a moment at the cemetery stretched before them. The air was cool and crisp with the fragrance of autumn brush and the caretaker’s house was able to be seen far off in the distance. Jimmy motioned for the rest to follow him. Keeping watch on the caretaker’s house, they quietly rounded the gate that stretched into the woods.
“Right beyond there,” Jimmy whispered, pointing into the brush.
Carl gave him a gleeful nod and Reginald nodded with approval. The girls looked at one another. Linda clutched the paper bag that held her candles. She appeared nervous but there was an air of excitement to her. Gail still appeared hesitant, looking back toward the car before Reginald put an arm around her, squeezing her shoulder.
Dorothy looked toward the woods, staring intently. The trees swayed as the autumn wind rustled them. The trees appeared to whisper to her and move toward her. The whispering began to surround her. Dorothy closed her eyes as as she felt herself starting to fall and it was then she felt someone grab her from behind.
Dorothy looked around, bewildered, turning to see Carl’s concerned face.
“What happened…?” Dorothy asked. She could see her other friends stepping up behind Carl with confused and concerned expressions.
“Babe, that’s what I was going to ask you,” Carl said, “you took off running toward the woods. You tripped and began to fall when I caught you.”
Dorothy turned back toward the woods and noticed that the trees were in fact closer, standing still and silent. Her surroundings began to spin and she could feel herself falling against Carl’s shoulder.
“Dorothy!” she heard Carl say. His voice echoed, sounding distant. She was falling again, leaving her body. The moon was falling toward her…or she was heading toward it. She couldn’t be sure. But she heard Carl call to her again and she had the sensation of falling back down and re-entering her physical body.
She came to, lying with Carl’s arms around her as he sat on the grass cradling her. She brought a hand to her throbbing head, groaning as she attempted sitting up.
“Baby,” Carl said, “are you alright?”
“Yeah…” Dorothy said, “I just felt dizzy, that’s all…” She closed her eyes, trying to still her surroundings.
“We don’t have to do this,” Carl said. Then he looked to the rest of the group and said, “Right?”
The rest of them nodded.
“No. No, I’m fine,” Dorothy said.
“Are you sure?” Jimmy asked. “I can drive you home.”
“Yeah, you took quite a fall,” Reginald added.
“No, please, I’m fine,” Dorothy insisted, “don’t let me spoil your fun. I’ll feel even worse.”
Before anyone could reply, a light went on in the window of the caretaker’s house. The window faced the kids.
“The woods!” Jimmy said in a loud whisper.
They ran toward the trees with Carl carrying Dorothy. They entered the edge of the woods just in time for the caretaker to open his door. A few yards away from them, the caretaker stepped out onto his porch, surveying the grounds. While he was a little too far for the kids to read his expression, they could feel the suspicion he was regarding the grounds with.
They stood at the edge of the gate, trying to catch their breaths as quietly as they could. Dorothy still leaned against Carl, but she was beginning to feel better and more stable. She turned her head to look back into the darkness when she heard Jimmy say, “Coast is clear.”
“Are you going to be alright, Dorothy?” Linda asked.
Dorothy looked back to her see friends’ questioning stares. Her dizziness had eased up and she was able to stand on her own again. She nodded in response to Linda’s question.
“Are you sure?” Carl asked.
“Yes, I’m sure!” Dorothy said, “now let’s go before the caretaker comes back out again!”
With that, Jimmy took hold of one of the bars of the iron gate, twisting it until it came loose and out from the gate. He glanced at the caretaker’s now darkened house across the grounds before sliding through. Jimmy reached in, taking Linda’s hand and helping her through. Then Reginald followed, helping Gail through.
“You don’t have to do this, baby,” Carl said.
“No, I want to,” Dorothy said.
Carl gave Dorothy a small smile and helped her through the gate before he followed. Jimmy then handed the bar to Carl, who placed it back in it’s place, loose enough so that they could easily escape.
“To the Fleming plot,” Jimmy whispered as a mischevious grin spread across his face.
They tried to keep silent as they ran toward the tombstones and monuments, each keeping an eye on the caretaker’s house. They slowed down when they reached the last row of headstones, and began weaving around the stones in search of the Fleming plot. Finally, they arrived. The graves of the Fleming family were underneath a large, stone platform on which a large replica of St. Michael the Archangel stood with his sword and shield in hand as he guared the gravesite.
The kids were silent as they read the inscriptions of the names and dates of the Flemings:
July 1800-October 1867
November 1804-October 1867
May 1830-April 1842
February 1832- October 1881
“Three of them died on this night,” Linda said shivering.
“That’s right,” Reginald said, “it’s in the town’s old periodicals kept in the library and James Livingston goes into a little more detail in his journals.”
“Though I wonder what’s in the journals his family kept,” Gail said.
Dorothy leaned into Carl who put his arm around her. A little ways down closer to the cemetery entrance was the Livingston mausoleum. The large, stone structure in which Samantha DeWitt Livingston had been the first to be interred followed by her husband, James, a few years later. All three of their sons, and their sons’ wives were also in the mausoleum along with a couple of the grandchildren of James and Samantha.
“I’ll set up my candles,” Linda said.
“Hold on, babe,” Jimmy whispered grabbing her wrist. He held up an index finger, motioning for everyone to be silent.
Footsteps. Footsteps could be heard, not too far from them, crunching over the leaves that were on the drying grass. The six looked to one another as they silently questioned what they should do. A beam from a flashlight could be seen floating across the tombstones.
The caretaker! They all knew.
Jimmy looked to Carl and gestured with his head in the direction of the fence. Carl nodded and he and Jimmy began to lead the group, sneaking through the rows of tombstones, careful about stepping on the dry, fallen leaves as the footsteps of the caretaker continued to walk the grounds. They came to the back row, only about fifteen to twenty feet away from the fence. Each of them could feel their hearts pounding as the caretaker seemed to get closer to where they were.
“Let’s make a run for it,” Carl whispered, “once we’re out he can’t do anything.”
Jimmy nodded and each took a stance preparing to run toward the loosened bar in the gate. Jimmy looked to all of them before he mouthed “now” and they all broke into a run. Carl and Dorothy were the first to reach the gate and Carl pried the loose bar out, allowing them all to squeeze through, first the girls and then the boys. Carl quickly secured the bar back into place. They held onto eachother as they snuck back to the edge of the woods and made a run for Jimmy’s car down the road.
Their silence had transformed into peels of thrilled laughter as they approached the car. They all stopped, leaning against the vehicle and catching their breaths.
“That was close!” Reginald exclaimed with a grin on his face.
“What do you think he would have done if he caught us?” Linda said with laughter still in her voice.
“I don’t know,” Jimmy said, “but I say we have a better shot at doing our séance at the old orphanage than in there.”
“Agreed,” Carl said.
Dorothy made eye contact with Gail who gave her a wry smile.
“Come on Gail, you have to admit that was fun,” Dorothy said, grasping Carl’s arm.
“Yeah, perhaps a little,” Gail said.
“More than a little,” Reginald said, grabbing her around the waist.
“Alright, fine. It was fun,” Gail said.
Reginald kissed Gail on the right side of her face.
“Well then,” Carl said, “let the fun continue. To Fleming Orphange we go!”
“I second that notion,” Jimmy said.
The six of them climbed back into the car, resuming their places.
“Onto the second part of our tour,” Jimmy said, imitating a Bela Lugosi accent.
“We continue on to Fleming Orphanage where ‘ze demons wait to drink your blood,” Carl added in the same Lugosi/Count Dracula accent.
Reginald, Linda, Gail, and Dorothy responded with laughter as Jimmy pulled the car back out to the road, heading toward the Fleming property.
The six of them were so engrossed in their laughter and jokes that they did not notice the caretaker standing at the cemetery’s entrance, peering through the bars of the gate and watching the car drive down the road.
“Kids,” he muttered under his breath.
He had seen them sneaking through the gate as they had left the cemetery. He had thought about having the gate fixed, but decided that it wasn’t necessary. He had a way of knowing when meddling kids snuck through to make mischief, neck, or whatever it was kids did these days. The caretaker was a rather gruff, middle-aged man who mainly kept to himself. His occupation allowed for his solitary existence along with a roof over his head, and that was good enough for him.
As Jimmy’s car faded into the darkness, the caretaker turned and walked back into the field of tombstones with only a light jacket to shield him against the cold and the leaves and drying grass crunching beneath his boots. The moon was bright enough to where he didn’t really need his flashlight, but he had brought it to shine as a warning for whoever had snuck in for a Halloween laugh to leave. He stopped at the Fleming plot and stood under the frozen stare of St. Michael. His occupation also allowed him to be close to his family. The family he had only found out about in his adulthood.
The caretaker gave the large headstone a final glance before he headed back, passing by the Livingston plot, to the small house he lived in at the far corner of the cemetery.
Read on to Chapter 12.
Read on to Chapter 12.