The moon rose above the gnarled trees of the cemetery, revealing the flat, grassy land in a ghostly pale light. Tombstones and crypts dotted the landscape, casting shadows upon the dead. In the midst of all the quiet, four figures stumbled across the still scene, laughter growing to fill the silence before they stopped at a crypt. One of the men, still a boy really, took a seat on the steps leading to one of the larger crypts on the property, setting his bottle of beer down beside him.
One of the others, a drunken companion pulled a pack of cigarettes from his back pocket, and offered a stick.
"Want one?" he asked, inserting one of the cigarettes into his mouth so that it hung loosely from the corner of his mouth.
"Yeah, I'll take one," he agreed, taking a cigarette from the pack. Their other companions, a thick German boy and his pixy like girlfriend had taken to kissing and groping each other on the other side of the crypt. Tony didn't bother to offer the pair a cigarette and instead stood in front of his friend, loosely gripping a beer bottle in one hand while he put away his pack of cigarettes.
"You got a light for this Tony?" Henry asked from his seat on the stairs. Tony nodded, pulling a book of matches from the pocket of his leather jacket. He lit his own cigarette before he gave the book of matches to Henry.
Taking a long drag of the cigarette, and holding it with gusto that impressed Henry, Tony flicked the used match at the tombstone behind Henry. His attention flicked with little interest over the words engraved into the dark stone.
Tobias N. Horton
Tony smirked in good humor at the tomb, his lips curled around the cigarette in his mouth. Releasing a cloud of smoke at the same time Henry lit a match against the concrete of the steps, Tony reached to take the cigarette from his mouth. Poor bastard couldn't even make it to 30 years, Tony mused to himself after doing the math in his head. He took a swig of his beer and felt the burn of the alcohol mix with the boundless energy he felt.
Henry tossed the book of matches back to Tony after taking a short drag of his cigarette. He contemplated the rolled stick of tobacco in his hands, watching the steady burn at the tip until he tapped off the little ash that had started to build.
"Angela keeps telling me to quit smoking. She hates it," Henry told Tony, reaching for his beer. Tony scoffed, shaking his head in disbelief. Henry could practically read Tony's mind from the annoying little smirk on his lips, but when he didn't say anything, Henry continued.
"She says she'll break up with me if I don't quit. She's worried that I'll get lung cancer," Henry told Tony, putting the cigarette back in his mouth to take another drag. With the taste of tobacco, he wondered if the habit was worth losing Angela.
"Shit man, why don't you grow a pair? Don't let her tell you what to do," Tony said, the cigarette in his mouth bouncing with the movement of his lips. Some ash fell from the tip, and Tony shook his head again. Henry once again contemplated the cigarette in his hand, but couldn't bring himself to take another drag, not when he could see Angela in his mind, shaking her head in much the same way Tony had.
Instead, Henry flicked the cigarette at Tony's feet, taking another swig of beer to wash down the taste of tobacco. Tony cursed under his breath and ground out the cigarette with a glare directed at Henry. Henry shrugged, and finished off his beer. Next thing Angela would want him to quit drinking as well. He may as well enjoy the beer while he could.
"What the fuck man? If you had told me you were only going to have one drag, I wouldn't have offered you a stick," Tony told Henry, glaring. Henry looked beyond Tony into the distant grounds of the cemetery and shivered. The cemetery provided an ominous setting in the faint moonlight, the night before Halloween.
There was a slight breeze that rustled the cemetery's ancient trees and made Henry pull his thick jacket closer to his body. Tony mumbled under his breath and took another drag of his cigarette. A low moan came from behind the crypt Henry had taken a seat beside, and Henry rolled his eyes.
"Enjoying yourself Rachelle?" Tony asked, smirking at Henry. Henry looked away to throw his beer bottle off in the distance. The crash of glass shattering a moment later told him that he'd hit a gravestone. Though he wouldn't admit it to Tony, or the others, he silently asked for forgiveness of the person whose grave he'd hit.
"Fuck you Tony," came a muffled reply, followed by another moan. Tony laughed, and Henry began to wonder at how much of an asshole he really was. He didn't linger too long on the matter because the sound coming from the crypt behind him took much of his attention away. And when he turned, he certainly wasn't expecting the horror that had emerged from behind him, and he screamed.
The creature that stood in the arch of the entrance to the tomb of Tobias N. Horton was not in fact Tobias himself. Tony, facing the horror, dropped his beer bottle and stared with a slack jaw. The creature, standing in the shadows, appeared to be a tall, and thin figure. Tony couldn't quite make out any details of the thing, and his brain was having trouble functioning at that moment.
Henry tripped over himself rushing away from the creature behind him, and fell at Tony's feet. He sprawled into a trembling heap, before he looked over his shoulder. The creature hissed and stepped forward, out of the shadows and into the pale moonlight.
Both Henry and Tony blanched at what they saw, but Tony stood rooted to the spot, swaying slightly with a sudden twist of nausea in his stomach. The creature looked like nothing he had ever seen in his short lifetime.
The frame of it was much like a man, except taller and distorted so its legs and arms appeared too long and much too skinny. Gray skin stretched tight across the creatures body revealed sharp bones underneath. Scars marred its torso, and nails, sharpened like a predators protruded from its hands. The creature's eyes appeared as large orbs of black oblivion that didn't move, and a short muzzle boasted thin lips and slits for nostrils. Fangs curled past its jaw, and when it opened its mouth, every single one of its yellowed teeth appeared as daggers rising from it's thick jaw line.
Henry struggled to stand, trying to run, and the creature emitted a sound caught somewhere between a growl and a bark. It's laughing, Tony thought with horror, remaining still and watching with growing fear. The creature moved again, shifting down another step. Suddenly from behind it, wings shot out, as black as it's eyes, spanning a great distance of at least six feet. The wings were scaled and thin, similar to bat's wings.
Finally, once the creature had reached the last step from the crypt, Tony began to move. He stumbled and began running toward the trees, hoping to escape and hide there. Behind him, he heard another scream, this time coming from Rachelle, and then there was silence. Tony didn't know where Henry had gone, but he ran into the woods, and tried not to look back. A shout came from near the crypt, before all that Tony could hear was the sound of his own rough pants. He stopped once he reached the edge of the trees, stopping beside a large oak. Tony threw up behind a bush, adrenaline making him shake as he heaved and wheezed. With shaky footing, Tony began to regret drinking all that he had that night. He tried to think of what to do next, waiting for something, anything to help him decide.
An inhuman screech came from a place out in the cemetery, and Tony, hoping the creature was headed away from him, began climbing a tree. Hoisting himself up higher and higher, his muscles began to ache, but he continued until he was high in the tree, sitting so he straddled a sturdy branch. Breathing hard, Tony looked out from his new vantage point within the tree. He looked for movement, any sign of life, and he tried not to look too closely at the crypt he'd run from. In the back of his mind, he already knew that Rachelle and Victor were already dead. There would've been no warning for the two, no time to run away.
Tony shook his head and wiped sweat from his brow, watching for movement with the hope that Henry had at least escaped.
There, just behind an angel statue, Tony saw movement, before a figure wearing a read shirt darted behind a tomb. Henry's still alive Tony thought, recognizing the shirt and releasing a sigh of relief. Tony watched Henry settle behind a gravestone before he began to search the rest of the cemetery, looking for the creature, hoping desperately that he wouldn't find it there among the many tombstones and statues. He hoped it had left the cemetery and gone on to terrorize other people.
Then, the screech came again, this time much closer and Tony began to tremble again with fear. He couldn't find the creature, but he knew it was there, somewhere close to his hiding spot amongst the tree branches. His eyes welled with tears as he tried not to cry out or whimper in fear. Slowly, ever so slowly, Tony reached for his cell phone in his coat pocket. Flipping it open, he started typing out a message.
H-E-L-P he entered with shaking hands as he tried to maintain his balance in the tree. Sending the message to 911, Tony clicked send and waited. A moment later his phone vibrated, louder than it had ever sounded before.
Opening his phone to view the message, he swore under his breath. Error Invalid Number. Please re-send using a valid 10-digit mobile number or valid short code. A single tear of frustration rolled down Tony's cheek before the screech sounded again, this time right beside him. And when he looked up from his phone, torn between surprise and horror, he dropped the phone to the grass below the tree. The creature, flying straight toward him, opened it's jaws wide, and snarled, shoving Tony from his perch so he fell from the branch to the ground. He cried out and then groaned on the grass, feeling pain flare from his skull and leg.
Tony closed his eyes. He could hear the creature approaching, he could hear its heavy breathing, and he bit his tongue, trying to remain quiet. When the creature grabbed him, he fell into a dead faint. His last thought before he was no longer conscious was how stupid he'd been to text 911.
Henry was hiding behind the very same tombstone he'd hit with his beer bottle. He knew because a piece of glass was digging into his knee. He could feel the blood beginning to flow from the cut, and although he winced in pain, he maintained his kneeling position behind the smooth stone, carefully peeking over the stone to keep an eye out for the creature. He was breathing fast, ragged breaths, trying to think of what to do next.
Then Henry saw the creature emerge from the woods, dragging a body behind it. He watched with watering eyes, recognizing Tony's leather jacket in the moonlight, and he tried not to imagine what the creature would do to his friend. Instead, he ducked down lower behind the tombstone, biting his lip hard enough to make it bleed when the glass bit deeper into his skin.
He vaguely wondered if the creature could smell his blood, and he watched as it flowed around the piece of green glass imbedded in his skin, coloring the glass dark red. The blood made his stomach turn, but there was nothing to be done for his position lest he reveal himself to the creature, which would certainly lead to his death.
This is like a sick, nightmarish version of hide and seek, Henry thought bitterly, trying to think of the best way not to be found. At that point, all Henry wanted in the world was a gun, so when the creature found him, and he knew the thing would eventually find him, he could shoot the bastard through it's god damn brain.
As Henry waited, still breathing raggedly, he tried to think about Angela to bide the time, and he wondered if she'd ever know what had happened to him in the end. He felt like a criminal awaiting the death penalty. He shuddered at the thought and returned his thoughts to Angela who was at home with her sister, watching scary movies. Henry imagined he in his mind, a picture of her pale face, with her shy smile, her long, wavy brown hair and large brown doe eyes. He closed his eyes, and let his mind play memories against his eyelids like a movie theater to pass the time.
He remembered the first time he met her, at the park. She'd been so cute, running after her little dog in a flowing sundress and a pair of high heels. He'd easily picked up her dog, and when she looked at him with such gratefulness, such surprise and joy written across her face, he asked her out.
Their first date had been the following week, at a romantic Italian restaurant close to the ocean. She'd said he reminded her of Frank Sinatra when he was younger. Her grandma had been in love with the man, she'd told him before she admitted she'd always found him to be attractive in his younger pictures. He'd kissed her goodnight later on, and couldn't seem to get her off of his mind for a long time following.
Henry remembered the weekend they'd spent at the lake with her family, celebrating Labor Day on the water. The last night, they'd gone skinny-dipping in the warm water under a full moon, something he'd vowed he'd never forget. He loved the way she looked naked, shivering as she came out of the water that night, waiting for him to follow her.
A rough screech broke through his thoughts, and he opened his eyes with newfound fear. What would Angela do without him? The image of her crying beside his grave in his mind's eye made him shiver. He needed to escape, to survive, but it was impossible. Looking over the top of the tombstone, Henry caught sight of the creature as it stalked forward, pausing to sniff the air. It had caught scent of his blood, he was sure. His death was inevitable.
Karma, he thought bitterly, sitting back on the grass now, simply waiting for the creature to get him. For all the things I've ever done wrong, he thought. He closed his eyes, and tried to recapture Angela there, smiling warmly, holding him tightly, and protecting him. When the creature grabbed him finally, Angela disappeared like a ghost on the wind, and he cried out.
Then, the night swallowed him whole, taking him into the oblivion of a shadowed death.
The light of dawn broke over a bloody scene in the cemetery the next day. Despite the cheerful chirp of birds in the trees, the atmosphere was anything but joyful. The cemetery's owner looked upon the sight in horror, his stomach beginning to roil until he threw up in the grass, coughing up all of his breakfast. The smell of death was strong in the air, but worse yet was the scene that the crypt of Tobias N. Horton presented.
At the very top of the steps, the neatly severed head of a young man looked out with terror, his eyes peering down below him. Blood spattered all around him and pooled directly beneath his neck where it had been cut. Deep scratches marred his face, and one of his ears was torn so that it hung only by a thread. Green glass embedded into the boys face almost looked like sprinkles, tainted by the blood that had flowed from all the cuts.
On the step below him, two heads sat side beside. The one on the right, a young lady, had no eyes. Her empty sockets were left bare to the world, and her lips had been torn off, exposing her bright white teeth to the world in a permanent and forced smile. Her short hair was red and covered in blood that had yet to dry. Blood smeared across her forehead in the faintest resemblance of a hand mark, almost as though the monster that had killed her asked for forgiveness or showed a final sign of affection.
Beside her head, that of a rounded boys face looked down with a sad, almost guilty expression. His lips, set in an eternal grimace, were painted red with blood, and his nose was missing, leaving only a bloody triangle above his lips and two holes that used to provide air. A gouge in his cheek exposed bone and muscle, a gap that stretched to expose his molar teeth as well.
And on the very last step, the last and worst head sat with its eyes closed, almost as though the situation was too much for it to bear as well. Smeared blood covered the boy's eyelids, and trailed down into bloody tears. His skull was partially exposed above his forehead, revealing bone that was scratched at by what appeared to be an animal. And in the center of the exposed bone, there was a hole just large enough for a few fingers to slip into. Around the outer edge of the hole, gray matter that could only be brain tissue sat in tiny bits like decorations. The final horrid touch was the human entrails spilling from the boy's lips, bloody and tangled, falling into a heap in the grass.
Flies began to flock to the heads, attracted by the smell of death. There was blood, so much blood splattered across the walls of the crypt, and yet, there were no bodies to be found. A beer bottle lay forgotten in front of the steps, and a cigarette, crushed beside it were the only clues that remained of the four teenagers.
The cemetery owner, some twenty feet away from the scene finished emptying out his stomach, and then collapsed in the grass, shivering and crying for the kids.
Oh, the horrors of Devil's Night, when the demons come out to play.
A/N: Happy Halloween everyone!