With nimble fingers, you pick the emerald off the ground. As it falls into your palm, a warmth washes over you and you hold the gemstone closer.
Its beauty is beyond measure. A prismatic green glistens under the surface of the gem, as if liquid more brighter than neon slips below. What would it look like with light through it?
Curious, you raise the emerald to your eye and turn to the brazier. Instead of the spray of verdant light, you find nothing. Cold ash rests in the braziers, not even a whiff of smoke rising from them. Confused, you turn to the coffin with the emerald still over your eye.
The bones are gone!
In their place rests a single snapped broom, the bristles made from the vines littering this place. What is happening?
A chill creeps across the back of your neck, like someone breathing down your collar. You slowly turn, holding the emerald in place from fear.
Bodies stand, shuffle, and float through the tombstones. Green light cracks from the edges of every grave. Skeletons, their bones hanging by tattered flesh, their clothing torn, their skulls crushed or knotted together by shrouds, dance between the graves. Had they been there the entire time you walked through?
Does this gemstone allow you to see the dead?
In a panic, you pull the emerald down, certain the dancing and shuffling ghosts will vanish.
Skulls twist on vertebrae, jaws clack in surprise, finger bones point back at you. Why can you still see them? Why can they see you?
The dead begin to shift, every fleshless foot walking toward you. Wiping hard at your eyes, you blink furiously to try and wipe away the scene. But nothing can purge it.
You move to lift the emerald up to your eye to try again, only for the gem to tumble from your palm. It lands on the ground and you stare at your skin fading to nothing. Raising your hands, you can see the marching army of the dead through your muscle and bone.
A chill wraps through your body and you know it will never leave again.
The skull pivots on the ground to face you. Its bright jaw opens and the bones say, “Stealing from the dead. What will they do to you?”
As one, the dead stomp into the mausoleum, swarming you as you fall to your knees. There is no escape from the land of the dead, or the denizens that watch its borders.
You spend the rest of your afterlife trapped in that cemetery.
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