When we went for our usual excursion to the cemetery that night, I had no idea that it would be one of the most frighteningly, enigmatic nights of my life. It was a somewhat brisk night in early fall. My friends Joe, Robert, and myself were the only ones of our clan to be out that evening. We began our trespassing as we generally did, through the large iron gate, that marked the beginning of the expansive garden of stones. We walked on the gravel path, loose pebbles and crisp, dry leaves crunching under our feet, tattling of our presence in the should be soundless world of the forever restful. We had a specific destination, an area well surrounded by tall oak trees and veiling shadows. There was a large monument to a prominent family there, of which we sat on, the chill of the cold granite always soaked through our jeans punishingly. We didn't mind though, as we were going to euphorically smoke all of our cares away anyhow. Soon we would be muddling our brains, and staring contently at the moon beams that creeped through the tiny spaces between the leaves above us, and danced without rhyme or reason upon the ground.
After reaching our haven and indulging our whims, we relaxed and contemplated many useless ideas about life and nothing. All was well, until an inebriated Joe spied a lonely tumble-weed taking solace and respite from its travels. As Joe lumbered towards the remnants of the deceased plant, I felt a twinge of unease settle in my stomach. Robert took interest as well, and soon both had a conceived a half-witted plan, to cremate our unbeknownst party joiner. As soon as they suggested their so called idea, the words "I wouldn't do that, something bad will happen," dribbled out of my mouth and settled themselves between us, like a rock in a bucket, motionless and meaningless. After a quiet moment of stupor, meaningless turned into hysterics, as Robert and Joe roared with laughter at my apparently new founded sense of humor. I sat petrified as they ignored my premonition, and intensifying fear of something unknown even to myself.
Through their period of unstoppable chortle, Joe surprisingly found the coordination to strike the lighter. The very moment at which the flame flickered from the Bic, ready to do its malicious deed, I heard it. A growl, menacing and curt, unlike anything I had heard before, came from the recesses of the once protective darkness. I don't remember moving, all I know is instantaneously I became an appendage on the trunk of an oblivious Robert. He, taken aback, questioned my advance and shunned my, in his opinion, would be attempt for romantic affections. Joe had at that time, also confused by my spontaneity, postponed the desecration ritual to entertain my not yet orated explanation. I started to recount in unintelligible gibberish, what I had heard, then, it happened again.
This time my companions heard it too, the disembodied snarl, mendacious and invidious, for a moment no one moved. Panic set in. I again cannot say I recall how it came to be, somehow we were all just running. I could no longer feel my body as I sprinted like a rabbit nearly in the clutches of a wolf. Hurdling the now obtrusive memorials, I could hear it, whatever it was, pursuing us. Its breath loomed behind me as it pounded across the sacred terrain, almost in rhythm with my heart which felt ready to explode from my chest. Time stood still, as did the trees and the wind, the moon and the stars, the animals and insects. I could see the ferrous metal conduit to the realm of the living ahead, shining like an oasis in a desert. We discharged from the gate as a bullet from a gun, alit with fire and purpose. The instant the solid concrete touched the soles of our pleading feet, it was gone. The fear, the breathing, the pounding, disappeared behind us, like an invisible chain on a demonic collar that extended only to the edge of the field of non-existence. We collapsed in the middle of the street, to our knees, our lungs aflame, drenched in perspiration and disorientation. We looked at each other wide eyed, and in voiceless conversation, agreed we all had the same experience, we all could not explain it, and we were never going to repeat it again.
Written by Jennifer Linville, Copyright 2009