|Matter of Time
Author: SilverLockhearst PM
"He's still in there, untouched and abandoned. Forgotten. I often return. Of all the tragedies I have seen and all blood I have spilled this spot is the most memorable. It is the only death I have actually witnessed. It would also become my last." A unique narrator tells the story of Hyde Church, and the young man last seen entering it.Rated: Fiction K - English - Mystery/Supernatural - Words: 2,061 - Published: 08-10-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3049379
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I stared up at the church before me, my hands resting on the gravestone of its victims and my legs battling with the overgrown grass. It was derelict and unloved now. The big oak doors were bolted shut, with grass battling to climb up the walls. The graveyard had not had a living soul in it for a number of years and the graves which had won the battle with the grass were illegible. The stain glass windows were smashed and no one had been buried in its grounds in over half a century. It was as if after that night no one ever returned. He's still in there, untouched and abandoned. Forgotten. I often return. Of all the tragedies I have seen and all blood I have spilled this spot is the most memorable. It is the only death I have actually witnessed. It would also become my last.
The cobweb ridden gravestones were dominated by the sharp white light coming from above. I crouched so as not to be seen. The full moon cowered behind the rusty clouds as the sound of footsteps rustled from a distance. The unnerving atmosphere was rife as if the decomposing copses below had been disturbed by some unseen force. As the bell from the approaching church rang out the eerie silence was interrupted by the shrill high sound of squawking ravens and the lingering smell of damp became instantly noticeable. I looked up and was greeted by a rather unpleasant sight. Among the grim setting of the graveyard was the silhouette of a young man. The young man I was watching had a long, black overcoat on, with a formal hat to match. He held his gloves in his hands for several minutes before putting them on. The shock of reality had suddenly hit the young man standing before me. He stopped and removed his formal hat, placing it upon one if the crumbling gravestones. Placing his hand on the gravestone behind him he leaned back, bowing his head in thought as he did so. The sight of him in this bone-chilling place was a dismal one and one which I would carry with me forever. Albeit one I would much rather forget.
As I studied his face, the young man's eyes screwed up in anxiety, as if straining to hear the sound which startled him again. He stood; confused about if he had in fact heard it at all. His eyes swept the graveyard several times before at last falling upon the dismantled gate in the far right corner, barely visible in the dim light. The shadows around it seemed to move the more he tried to focus. He hastily grabbed his hat from the fallen stone, disrupting the spider laying home there. He rested his foot in front of him, uneasily as if unsure of his next move. Apparently doubting himself already. His head snapped up once again to the gate, as if something had reached his eardrums which had not reached mine. This time, sure of his actions, he put on his hat which he had been holding onto tightly and proceeded to the source of the noise. Stepping lightly, so as not to make even the slightest of noise, I followed. I kept low so as not to be discovered, although there was very little point. He was walking as if in a trance, in awe of what he had heard. Paying attention to nothing other than discovering what was behind what he heard.
Within seconds he stumbled, snapping out of his trance, becoming dazed and unsure of himself, his confidence plummeting with every breath. His formal hat left his head for the second time, falling gracefully to the ground, landing on what he had stumbled on moments earlier. It landed with a small thud, as if marking the place, as a memoriam to the spot. As if a headstone on the grave upon which it lay. He followed this movement with his eyes. He crouched down, hands shivering and knees buckling. I steadied myself by gripping the gate by which I crouched and focused my full attention upon the man which was within touching distance. I could see him more clearly now for the first time. His face was pale and drained of colour, his hair tangled and clutching onto raindrops which fell just moments earlier. His clothes were thrown together, a button undone, tie askew shoelace hastily done, the signs of a man with many troubles. It was not any of these which gave away the secrets though. He could hide behind fancy clothes well groomed hair and shined shoes but it was his eyes which betrayed him. The warm brown eyes were gone. They were replaced by cold, troubled, aged ones, the eyes which had suffered the perils of a person much older than himself. His eyes were the one thing he could not conceal. And as his eyes flashed up and down what lay before him he seemed to stop breathing, As if waiting for something, as if preparing for when he stood up. He reminded me of the men in the first war, bracing themselves for a battle they knew they would lose, but would do so with courage and honour.
The young man stood up away from his wife's grave and placed his head in his hands, soft, clear tears rolling from the cracks between his fingers. I now realised he was not preparing for something, simply just trying not to show any regret. Even alone he did not want to be seen crying, crying over something out of his control, and as a whimper escaped from his lips, falling to the ground the same time as his knees, it reached my eardrums for the first time. The young gentleman's face drained completely of colour. It was no longer a slightly pinkish colour, but a colour worthy of the faces six feet under, the colour of a man who had heard this sound many times before. Not only heard it, but was haunted by it. The tears stopped. To be replaced by the fear in his eyes, the shaking of his hands and the frantic scuttling of trying standing up, balance himself on weak legs and shaking knees. He was leaving behind the grave, trying to leave this place completely. I followed his eyes as they fell upon the derelict church. It was a church used scarcely now, visited by the few who found comfort in the stained glass windows and the sound of hymns echoing off the tall walls. It was at this point that I asked myself why I was here. Why I was re-tracing the footsteps I had taken many times. Most of all I look back and ask, why didn't I warn him?
He placed a quivering foot ahead and, with much caution, took the path the others took. The path towards the church. A path which he would never take again. As he wiped his eyes he continued glancing over his shoulder towards me. It was like he was sensing his fate. As if sensing the atmosphere I seem to carry around me. He shook his head as if telling himself not be silly and warily walked towards the church. The creaking of the rustic gate as it opened echoed throughout the graveyard sending shivers throughout his body. This slight hesitation of movement gave away his true feelings. The way he held himself and the frantic searching of eyes was one I had stared into many times and one which I rips me to pieces every time. He was almost there now and as he glanced at the door standing before him the sound ripped apart the atmosphere once again. The ear splitting cry echoed of the walls in which it was held, escaping through the gaps in the door and stopping only once the warning it held was given. His hand faltered before gripping the handle and taking a deep breath, opened the door. Opening the door he wishes he left closed.
The vast room was surprisingly claustrophobic. You could taste the fear and terror in the air. Not something you typically associate with a church. The stained glass windows towered over the room, giving off a gentle glow. A hymn book lay on the floor as if it had been dropped in a hurry. The young man stepped towards the leather bound book and as he reached to collect it the echo of the door slamming shut bounced off the walls. He turned, expecting to see a figure at the door. There was none. He had closed the door behind him, meaning someone had entered the room after him. He searched the room once again with his eyes, failing to see anything significantly different. The fear was building up in him and he became uncomfortable with the situation. Leaving the hymn book forgotten on the floor he moved quickly towards the large wooden doors, eager to explore and leave. Placing his shaking hands around the handle he pulled but to no avail. As the anxiety grew inside him he pulled more franticly becoming agitated and nervous. His whole body was shaking now and as the sound reached his ears once more he slid down the door, clutching at his earlobes. Screwing up his eyes, he joined in the gut wrenching scream. As the screams of pain and the screams of terror joined in unison and echoed off the wall the girl's figure appeared in the doorway.
It was minutes after the cries stopped that the young man opened his eyes again. He looked first towards the door he was leaning against before seeing the figure in the doorway. He stood, sure his eyes were betraying him and walked towards the figure. He fixed his eyes upon the spectre and determined it was a figure of a young girl. A young girl with long flowing hair and big blue eyes. Just when he was sure of his safety with this girl her knees gave way and she was on the floor. Bowing over something he had overlooked before, when he was entranced by her beauty. The young girl's mouth opened and out of it escaped the terrible sound once more. As her cries reached his ears he rushed up to her, willing to comfort her at the first chance. His human nature to help oozing from every pore. It was as he approached her that he realised there was more to this girl then met the eye. He shook his head and an inaudible sound escaped his lips. He stepped back as the scream of the girl continued and repeated what he had tried to say.
''You can't... I mean, they don't exist... This... A ghost?'' The last word left his terrified lips as a trembling mess as he placed his back against the door, the sentence falling apart the same time he did himself. The girl left the corpse of which she was mourning on the floor and walked wildly towards him. A strong look of anger held in her eyes. As the man cowered in the corner, his hands up covering his eyes a last regret escapes his lips.
'I didn't mean to kill her. She was my wife, I loved her. A mistake. Please, don't do this!'
The spectre grinned menacingly, reached out and grabbed his throat. She had no intention of letting go. Her grasp as solid as her form was not.
His last words hung in the air before being replaced by the muffled screams which followed.
I walked up to the slumped body in the corner and crouched over it. I had met many people's lives this way. Many people's souls had been disposed of by the ghost of Hyde Church. This was to be its last. I had collected five in the past year alone. No one knew of the ghost who resided here , avenging those who had gone unpunished, and as I carried the soul of this young man out I realised how much I resented being the one person no one really knows. Everyone will meet me, few escapes me but all will be carried by me. Everyone stares me in the face. Everyone stares into the eyes of death himself.
See You Soon.