Not about to face the forest, you turn to the right and duck under another bramble of thorns. The prickers don’t last long, but unfortunately, as you pass from below the dangling vines you stand up and stare across an unkempt graveyard.
Fog twirls between gravestones stripped of all markings. They vary in height and color, some small and the color of a dead tooth. Others are massive crosses and splattered with an oozing black oil. Lights flicker from candles placed at the foot of every gravestone.
You step closer, curious about a stone carved to look like an angel. Her head is bent, her wings tucked in, as she cries for the lost soul. Leaves lay upon the name placard revealing only the letter e. Reaching forward, you place a finger to the fallen foliage and begin to swipe it away.
The hair on the back of your neck stands and a whisper curls through your ear. You can’t make out what it is, only the voice of someone calling from far in the distance. Standing up, you whip your head around to find the source. Only the tumble of leaves rolling across the ground answers you.
A gate squeals in the rising wind, the end banging harder from the breeze. When it slaps one last time, it catches and won’t open again. You’re locked in the graveyard with a voice whispering around you. Clamping a hand tighter to your phone you turn to face the rest of the cemetery when a thought strikes you.
Every tiny candle placed before the graves has no wax dribbling down the side. No smoke puffs from the flame. What are they?
As one, all the candles snuff out. Blue drenches your eyes, twilight sundering your senses, and a noise curls up your spine. A hearty, unfettered laugh bursts right behind your ear. “Come and say hi,” a voice calls, and fingers cinch to your arm.
Screaming, you try to wrench the hand off you and turn…only to find nothing behind. You slap at your arm where you’d felt the fingers, but it too is empty. A chill lingers where the hand had been, but you can’t be certain if it was nothing more than your imagination.
Shoring your steps, you keep alternating between looking back while walking deeper into the graveyard. The manor looms closer, and you spot an alcove built into the impenetrable wall circling it. Perhaps that’s a way in.
Another laugh tumbles across your skin, erupting your gooseflesh. You can feel it dancing from the tip of one finger, up your arm, over your shoulders, and down to the other. “Tell me your name, lovely, and I’ll tell you mine.”
“It’s the wind,” you say shaking your head even while twisting your phone’s light every which way. Only the dark headstones leer at you from the shadows, the rest of the cemetery dead.
Light gushes from ahead, orange flames rising from a door opening on its own out of the mausoleum. You raise a hand to your face, trying to shield your eyes. Blue light twists free, riding atop the flames rimmed by the white marble of the dead. What is that…?
You take a step forward and a crunching noise rises from your shoe. Whipping your eyes down, you watch a bone snap in half between your toes.
“You’ve done it now,” the voice chides right beside your cheek.
Whipping your head around, you find nothing save the trees and vines slapping into the locked gate. It’s the wind, you repeat to yourself, when you turn back.
A face rimmed in blue light floats before you. The body vanishes to nothing, but the arms reach for you.
The scream twists in your mouth, ready to launch free. To your left you see the alcove and a potential back door in the mansion. To your right, the flaming mausoleum of the cemetery.
Where do you flee?
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