Respect for the Dead

"Are you pissing on that gravestone!?"

Her voice took on that screeching quality that it only gained when she was severely stressed out, the sentence gradually growing in volume and pitch until 'gravestone' was at a glass-shattering level. The boy she was addressing turned his head towards her, grinned mischeviously, and didn't even pause. A lock of dark hair fell into his face, which he was far too busy to push away.

"Yeah," he responded, completely shameless.

"Well, w-well..." Blushing furiously and growing more and more flustered, she fluttered her hands at him in a shooing motion and then moved them to cover her own eyes. "Stop it! And cover yourself up!"

"'Kay," he said, continuing to act utterly nonchalant. "I'm almost done, anyway."

Before she could come up with any retort, a pair of arms encircled her waist from behind, and she found herself lifted off the ground. She struggled stubbornly, letting out a little squeak of protest.

"Lighten up, Amanda," a voice breathed in her ear, "Jesus, you're acting like you're our mom or something."

"I am not!" she argued, still squirming around without any apparent result. "Shut up, and put me down!"

The boy let out an amused chuckle, but obeyed. With her feet firmly on the ground again, Amanda wiped off her shirt and then folded her arms over her chest stubbornly. The friend who had just picked her up, Devon, looked like the type to mess around in graveyards. He was pale, arms covered with tattoos and kept obnoxiously visible even in the current autumn chill. His face, which currently had a way-too-cheerful grin, was covered in piercings. She didn't even want to think about what else he had pierced, if his boasts were to be believed.

She, on the other hand, was definitely not the cemetary-defiling type. And, quite frankly, she was getting sick of her friends' antics.

"Addison, we could get in big trouble for this, you know? It's not funny!" She kept her eyes carefully averted from him, although it was dark enough that she could only see his lanky silhouette. "It's called public nudity. And vandalism."

"Don't forget trespassing!" Addison called over his shoulder.

Amanda breathed out a sigh of frustration. That was right -- she had almost forgotten. No doubt in anticipation of things just like this, the graveyard was closed from any and all visitors for Halloween night. Devoid of any lights or people because of that, the cemetary was even creepier than usual. She could remember passing by it on the way home from school every afternoon as a child -- she had always held her breath and ran, superstitious and nervous little girl that she was.

"And who's going to get us in trouble, exactly? The ghosts?" Devon asked, raising his hands and wiggling his fingers in what was apparently intended to be an imitation of a graveyard phantom. Amanda rolled her eyes, but nonetheless felt a shiver run up her spine at the thought.

"No! Don't be stupid. But I'm sure they'll have a police patrol go through here at least once," she said, glancing around nervously.

"As if. The police are going to be way too busy busting up parties. As long as we stay quiet and don't attract any attention, they have no reason to check here," he reasoned. It was true enough; several police cars had always passed by while they were there, sirens wailing into the night. Each time she had been scared out of her wits, but each time they went right on by, heading towards the mess of bright lights and pounding music that the rest of the city had become.

"I know, but..." She bit her lip, nervous. "You know if I do get caught--"

"Yeah, yeah, grounded for life, dad's a cop, blah blah blah, bullshit. I've heard it all before, Amanda, you'll be fine."

"I guess so," she mumbled, unconvinced. The crunch of shoes across dirt and dry leaves behind her let her know that Addison had finally finished his 'business' and was walking over to join them. She glared at him, although the fact that she had to tilt her head upwards to do so detracted from the effect. "Addi, why do you have to be so tall?" Standing at a full height of six feet and four inches tall, he absolutely towered over her. But then again, with her measuring in at barely over five feet, that was hardly a feat to boast of.

"Why? Are you trying to stare at my face? Because you know, 'Manda, that's no problem. Just say the word and I'll give you front-row viewing pleasures any day." The lanky boy leaned down and cupped her face in one smooth motion, bringing his face close to hers. She squealed and slapped his hand away, taking a step back so quickly that she nearly fell over. Despite her automatic recoiling, she had to admit that his face really wasn't all that bad. He had that perfectly tousled dark hair, dark eyes, and glasses that made him look sharp and stylish rather than nerdy; he didn't look like the deviant that he was, but that crooked grin gave it all away...

But of course, she couldn't say any of that.

"As if!" was what she actually said, though she couldn't help but let a small giggle bubble up. "God, you're so stupid."

"So, pissing on a gravestone?" Devon butted in. "Nice move, man. Wish I had thought of that."

"Imitation is the highest form of flattery, so go ahead, my friend. Pick a grave, any grave," Addison encouraged, turning and sweeping his arms out towards the vast expanse of gravestones in front of them.

"No! Come on guys, please don't," Amanda said hurriedly. "I mean, don't you guys realize that there's a dead person buried under there? That's so messed up. Your piss is probably leaking onto your great grandma's face right now, ugh."

"Dude, how cool would that be?" Devon asked, far from the reaction Amanda had been hoping to get. "I would laugh my ass off." He stepped towards the recently-pissed-upon grave, peering through the darkness and trying to read the words on the headstone. When he was close enough to make them out, he straighted up and grinned, reading the lines aloud in a mock-sorrowful voice. "Marie Von Grimmel -- what the hell kind of last name is that? Uhh, Marie Von Grimmel, 1919-1936, dearly beloved and greatly missed. Well, that's cheesy. And I didn't know they even had graves that old here."

"The newer part of the graveyard is over by the entrance," Amanda mumbled, mostly to herself, since she knew they wouldn't care. "The deeper you get, the older the graves." They had walked pretty far in, wanting to avoid being caught as much as possible. She shivered a little, realizing something about the dates. "She was around our age."

"Sucks for her," Devon commented. He was even closer at that point, running his fingers over the gravestone. "It's all crumbly."

"Of course, Dev, it's like a hundred years old," she said irritably. "Get away from it, please?"

Not listening to her at all, Devon took a step back and then raised his foot, resting it on the headstone.

"Rest in pieces, dearest Marie," he proclaimed.

"What are you--"

Before she could even attempt to stop him, Devon removed his foot and then kicked forward as hard as he could, hitting the gravestone dead-on. The impact made a loud crack and it exploded in chunks that thudded dully to the ground. Amanda stared, open-mouthed and speechless.

Beside her, Addison erupted in laughter and started to clap enthusiastically.

"Nicely done, Dev, nicely done!" He congratulated his friend. Devon turned around with a mock-elegant bow.

"You -- you idiot!" Amanda squeaked, her voice rising again. "What the hell did you do that for?"

"Relax. Who cares?"

"I'm sure that dead girl cares!"

"Well, too bad for the dead girl. Ain't a damn thing she can do about it."

"Damn straight," Addison said, and the two of them high-fived. Almost instantly afterward, a sudden noise reverbated through the graveyard, a high-pitched howl. It almost resembled the sound of fast wind rushing through tree branches, and yet was far too horrible to be that -- to Amanda the noise seemed to pierce her very skull, shaking her to the core. Both boys froze where they stood, and Amanda turned in circles frantically, trying to locate the source. Just as quickly as it had come, the sound faded away.

"The hell was that?" Devon murmured, looking slowly from side to side.

"Um... wind?" Addison guessed, though even he sounded unsure and half-hearted about the answer. "Yeah, had to be wind..."

"O-Okay guys, I'm getting creeped out here," Amanda said, keeping her voice low, although she couldn't be sure who she was trying to prevent from overhearing. "Can we go?"

"Sure thing, Manda," Addison said -- she thankfully noted that neither of her friends were eager to make fun of her for her fear. She squeezed herself between them, linking arms with each boy; it gave her a sense of much-desired security. Quiet and rather subdued, the three started to make their way toward the gate of the graveyard -- and then froze.

"Do you guys see that?" Amanda asked, her voice a low hiss of surprise and fear.

"What is it?" Addison asked in response, and Devon shook his head slowly. He put a foot behind him as if to back away, but thought better of it and held his ground.

Just ahead of them, barely visible in the gloom, was a... something. It almost looked like a wisp of smoke lit up by the moonlight, but Amanda knew better than to think that. She squinted, trying to get a better look, and as she stared it began to creep towards them. She tried to move away, but the two boys seemed frozen in place and she couldn't get either of them to budge.

As it approached, it changed, or at least became slightly more clear. The area towards the ground looked almost like a pair of pointed shoes, and then just above, that could have been a tattered skirt sweeping around a pair of pale ankles. And above that -- was that a face moving through the darkness? Of course it was, a small, pale, vaguely pretty face with a pair of black eyes that glittered menacingly, with long, dark hair that was flowing through and yet a part of the wind moving by. That was undoubtedly the figure of a girl moving towards them, a girl about her age and height, growing closer and closer.

The quick, panicked breath that Amanda drew in seem laced with pricks of cold, hurting her throat and her lungs, and the girl was almost upon them but she was too frightened to move at all. One moment the girl was directly in front of her, her face closer and closer until the tips of their noses almost brushed, and then --

A gust of wind, bitter cold, and the image was gone.

Amanda blinked, shivered, and shook her head as if to clear it.

There was a brief moment of silence.

"I don't know what the fuck just happened, but I am getting out of here," Devon announced, breaking the quiet. He took off full speed, plowing ahead and nearly tumbling over numerous graves in the process. Addison paused only to grab Amanda's arm and then took off after their friend, dragging her along behind him.

The trio didn't slow down until the front gate was in sight. It was as old as the cemetary itself and designed in true gothic fashion, made of metal that was starting to rust. The fence was decorated with spikes protruding from the top, presumably to stop intruders from climbing over, although the walls on the sides -- as they had learned that night -- were easy to surpass. In front of the main gate was another, smaller fence that came up to about Amanda's waist, similarly spiked. She had always thought that they looked dangerous.

Addison abruptly ground to a stop, watching Devon sprint on ahead.

"What is it?" Amanda asked, turning her face upwards to get a better look at him.

"Hold on just a sec."

"Don't you want to get out of here? I mean, you saw..." She gestured back towards the area they had come from.

"I know. I mean, no, I don't know. That had to be some Halloween prank, or -- just, you know, the light playing tricks on us or something, since we were all freaked out. Stuff like that doesn't just happen."

"Yeah... you're right." Amanda forced a laugh. "Ghosts -- they don't exist, duh."

"Right. So, anyway..." Addison trailed off, looking around somewhat anxiously. "I just wanted to say... Sorry about that."

"About what?"

"About, you know, acting all obnoxious back there. I know you don't approve of that kind of stuff."

Amanda laughed, surprised.

"Since when do you apologize for being obnoxious? I mean, you and Devon are the kings of being vulgar morons."

"Okay, fair enough," he said, half-smiling. "But I mean, I just wanted to let you know that I... I like you, Manda. I like you more than a friend, and I hope that acting like that tonight didn't... you know, ruin my chances. I don't know what came over me, and you are worth so much more than impressing Devon with my stupidity."

He blurted out the entire thing in a rapid expulsion of words without pause, and then stopped, catching his breath. Amanda looked dumbfounded for a moment, and then a smile slowly unfurled across her face.

"That's really sweet, Addi," she said, a hint of shyness seeping into her tone. "And I guess I like you too."

"You guess?" he asked, and grinned. "Well, good enough for me, I guess."

A little awkwardly, he grabbed one of her small hands in his.

"Aah, you're cold!" He said jokingly, lacing his fingers with hers. "I'll fix that, no worries."

She smiled, and they set off together.

Just as they were reaching the main gate, she stopped again, tugging on his arm to halt him.

"Yeah, babe?" He asked, stopping and bending down slightly to hear her better.

She glanced over his shoulder and then smiled, placing one hand on his jaw and pulling him closer. She pressed her lips against his in a slow kiss that Addision quickly relaxed into. But after a few moments, she abruptly placed both hands on his chest and shoved as hard as she could. He jerked back in surprise, stumbling from the shock and surprising force of the push. He turned to her with a hurt look, but she only stepped towards him and shoved again while he was off balance.

"What--" was all he managed to get out before he fell back, right onto one of the protruding spikes on the fence behind him. There was the wet sound of ripping skin and muscle, and then a sharp crack as the metal broke through a few ribs on the other side. Addison's dark eyes flew open, fraught with pain and shock and fear. His lips parted and moved wordlessly like a fish. The gurgling sound that came in place of speech let her know that she had effectively punctured a lung -- just as intended.

"Don't worry," she crooned, her voice falsely sweet. "You'll be dead in a few hours." She tilted her head a little to the side and scrutinized him with cold, cold eyes. "And good luck screaming for help with a hole in your lung."

She stepped closer, whispering to him,

"Have some respect for the dead, you jackass. And yes, there is a damn thing a dead girl can do about it."

Addison gurgled helplessly and let out a choking cough, red seeping out of his mouth and down his chin.

"Guys?" A voice called out from the distance. "What the hell are you two doing, having sex in the graveyard? Come on, get out of there!"

Amanda -- or, rather, Marie -- grabbed one of the nearby metal spikes and snapped it like a twig, slipping the jagged piece into a pocket of her her jacket. There would be no use in trying to hide the bodies -- the meatbag could take responsibility when she was done using the body.

"I'm coming, Dev!" She called out. Leaving Amanda's would-be boyfriend impaled on the fence, she headed off to finish dealing vengeance, cheerfully humming under her breath.

Yeah, this is ridden with cliches, but I had so much fun writing it to celebrate Halloween, haha. Also, this is part of the cast of a full-length horror story I plan on writing in the future -- it's like a test run for Amanda, Addison, and Devon, so I'd love to hear what you think!