A/N: I find it increasingly disturbing that one could charge seven dollars and thirteen cents for a medium mint-chocolate-chip ice-cream cone and call that ethical. But aside from that, I think this world revolves much too much on science and that, my friends, is why I enjoy (quite thoroughly) bending reality. I am hardly alone. This is for anyone who finds "horror" as a matter of interest, and who believes in ghost and EVP just as readily as they believe in atomic structure and the Pythagorean Theorem. Alas, but what we are now is but a path to whom we yearn to be. Oh, yeah.
Her Name Was Sadie
He fell in love when he was eighteen years old.
Her name was Lucy; his name was Marcus (Marc to his friends). She was a beautiful Yale graduate; he was a vertically challenged son of a banker.
It had been one of the last awkward days of fall; when the leaves couldn't seem to decide between living or dying, and the elementary students that passed his house on their way to school carried their winter coats but didn't put them on yet. The grass in front of the ranches was browning, but it wasn't ugly; well, maybe it was, but nobody could it under the auburn anyway. The Beagles and Golden Retrievers were still barking at the geese as they flew south overhead, but no one had seen a robin in months. Mrs. Pritchard had long ago put the pumpkins away, and the Darby boys had no more candy left to trade with her daughters.
For blonde-haired blue-eyed Marcus Parsh "Awkward Autumn" was a time for school, but as he had graduated last spring he had little to do, and nowhere to go. His mother insisted that he help her with "winter's first pies, dear", and his father was dead-set on "making you into the finest banker this side of Fergus" (which really wasn't saying much as nobody really lived on the other side of Fergus).
It really was an unfair choice.
To give both his parents equal satisfaction (which in this case was none), he decided to do neither and pursue his "God-given talent" of riding horses. His family owned four, two Mustangs, a Paint, and a little pony called Mo. College was an affordable option, but not one he wanted to take seeing as he could make as good a living as any in Chelbi, Montana without it.
He was finally hired after little consideration by a Mr. Bill Luman when winter finally to show up (unfashionably early) working as a telephone operator for the local 911 Dispatch center. It was, primarily, a female-job, but Marc found no problem with this: it was an easy enough job that allowed jeans and sweats, and he might just meet a Mary or a Debbie worth a night away from home. And, as Mr. Luman had told him rather drunkenly (he'd applied on a Saturday night) it might "give the victims comfort to hear a strong man tell 'em it's gonna be all okay".
Because Marc Parsh was definitely in it for noble reasons like helping others, and wasn't at all interested in the damsels in distress. Short little Marcky, who's dad was both a ranching man and a white-colored banker? Never.
He started the job on a Tuesday and by a Wednesday six months later he was stone cold dead.
It wasn't, unfortunately, quite that cut and dry. Oh, no, little Marcky Parsh had brought about his own doom, regardless of how the neighbors had chosen to remember his short life. He had chosen the wrong woman to have sex with and the wrong road to take on the way home. Shortcuts, he should have known, always have consequences.
Her name was Lucy and she had graduated from Yale four months prior. He asked her what the bleepin' hell she was doing in Montana, but she hadn't answered him; just flashed a smile and flipped her long chestnut hair.
He had fallen for her hook, line, and sinker and probably would have sunk his own boat had he lived a bit longer.
There is a cemetery in Chelbi, located about three miles from the Parsh Ranch and filled with the bodies of nameless folk who've passed on through years; usually of particularly violent deaths involving stirrups and rifles, but occasionally of Cancer and Liver disease for the lucky.
Truth is, nobody really wants to be buried in Chelbi Cemetery, but when you never got past Fergus nobody can think of anywhere better to lay you to rest. That, many say, is the problem.
But Marc didn't know there was a problem with Chelbi; didn't much of anything seeing as he wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed (he'd been fired for connecting a woman in a burning car to the police in charge of Kidnappings; twice). All Marc knew was that this Lucy in the passenger's seat was a looker for goddamn sure and he couldn't wait to get home (his parents being out for the night)—he was so eager, in fact, that he was more than willing to take the shorter route around the ol' graveyard to "cut time, beautiful".
He was ten minutes into a "something' 'bout bein' on the back of ol' Shadow makes you feel alive" speech when she asked him to pull over.
"Now?" he asked, mouth hanging open stupidly.
"Yes, please," she said, looking down shyly. He grinned widely—he loved it when she talked like that.
"Sure, baby," he said pleasantly, pulling the old Ford to the side of the road. H turned to her expectantly, palms sweating in anticipation.
"Thank you," she said, smiling gratefully. By now it was dark out; one of those foggy nights perfect for moon gazing. Except tonight there was no moon and all it was perfect for was what he couldn't wait to do.
"You got the most pretty eyes…" he informed her, playing his most effective card and leaning back on his seat lazily.
"Thank you," she said again, hand on the door. "Do you mind if I step out for a moment? My mother's buried here…"
He looked up in surprise (and in disappointment). "Uh," he stuttered. Well, that explained why she was in Chelbi, at any rate. "Yeah, guess so," he unlocked the door and watched her swing it open.
Before closing it, she peeked back in, her dark hair blowing back in the wind. "Any chance of company?" she asked, blue eyes wide. He grinned even wider and stepped out of the vehicle.
"Yes, ma'am," he said, suppressing a shudder at the sudden burst of cold.
"Thank you," she said yet again and started off across the slippery grass (having nearly snowed the night before) towards some unknown grave. Marc followed, creeped out by the atmosphere, but unwillingly to lose his chances tonight.
"Your mom, eh?" he asked, trying to strike up a conversation to ease his wary mind and break the tense silence.
"Yes," she sighed sadly. "Car accident. I was fourteen."
"Must've sucked," he stated, and that was as close as he'd ever get to sounding sympathetic.
"It's right over here," she called from ahead of him, stopping suddenly and screaming shrilly. He snapped t attention and sprinted over in shock.
"What is it?!" he shouted panicky. "What is it?!"
"Oh, my God," she whispered, hands covering her mouth, eyes wide, petrified orbs that glittered in the still night.
Marc looked at her, alarmed, than followed her gaze down to where the grave should have been. His heart skipped a long and painful beat and he gasped loudly. A deep hole (cut in a perfect rectangle) stretched before them; the bottom of which lay an opened casket, a broken tombstone shattered at his feet.
"Is she still in there?" Lucy asked, falling to her knees to peer inside. "I can't tell," she straightened up and looked at him tearfully. "Can you go check?" When his only answer was a disbelieving stare she added desperately "please!"
He shook his head numbly. "No!" he found his voice. "No way in hell am I going down there; you're out of your mind, Lady."
She began to sob. "Please!" she begged. "I'll love you forever!"
He froze. Well, he did have some emergency training, didn't he? No, but he had been a 911 telephone operator; close enough, right? No. But he wanted her to love him…Oh, hell yeah he did. It was just a little climb down, right? She'd help him back up…And she was in shock…He owed it to her.
"Fine," he shrugged, and lowered himself in the hole. Grabbing at roots and little stones he managed to reach the casket without too much difficulty. Catching his breath, Marc looked below him, finding nothing in the tomb but black leather. "It's empty!" he shouted up to her.
"No, it's not!" she called down to him. "Not anymore!"
"What?" he asked loudly, looking around himself in confusion.
From his position six feet below he thought he saw her smile, but he couldn't be sure in the dark. Cold, icy fear gripped his thumping heart.
"Her name was Sadie!" she informed him, leaning over the edge of the hole.
"What? Your mother?" he frowned deeply, eyes darting every which way.
"No," her voice was smooth, unfaltering. "She was here last. Know how she died?" Marc suddenly couldn't find his breath and he shook his head roughly. She continued regardless. "She was buried alive…"
He froze, the blood halting in his veins as the world suddenly shook before him. "Where is she now?" he croaked, hands shaking furiously.
"Riding your pony," Lucy laughed and the hairs on Marc's hands stood on end.
"Let me out of here!" he screamed, trying to climb out, but his feet slipped as more dirt fell into the grave.
"Rest in peace, Marcus Parsh," she said solemnly, throwing a handful of earth into the grave. "My sister thanks you…"
The last thing he saw before the darkness was the moonless winter sky disappear in clumps of dry brown clay as the casket closed around his body with a dull, lifeless click.
Above him, the girl smiled and turned to a shadow walking her way across the cemetery grounds.
"Hello, Sadie," she smiled, embracing the other girl.
"You did it!" her sister exclaimed, pulling away, identical blue eyes shining in happiness, and the same mouth smiling in pride. "You found someone else!"
"Of course," Lucy laughed lightly, picking up the fallen tombstone and standing it on the dirt. "No one need be buried for long."
The two sisters walked away into the night, saying farewell to the cemetery for another year, and bidding a hello to a woman identical to themselves, careful to dodge the many holes dug in the moonless night.
Lucy's shovel had chipped a bit on the edge (the ground being so cold, nearly frozen), so they agreed to stop in town to buy a new one; Sadie's old friend had died of brain damage a week before, and already the dirt was beginning to set.
No one need stay buried for long.