Shadow Walkers - Chapter 6

Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon. ~ Edward Thomas

He stood in the doorway of the caretaker's shed and watched as another Vauxhall Astra passed by slowly. It caused old Moses Dansbury to shake his head at the goings-on here in the Sisters of Mercy Cemetery. This was the tenth police car he'd seen since this morning when he came to work. In all his fifty years here, he had seen a lot, but never anything like he had yesterday, when a couple of sightseers had found the body of a young woman with her throat ripped out.

The police believed whatever had killed the woman had been some sort of animal. Either a large dog or some kind of cat, they'd told him. They said they'd know more when the tests came back, but until then, they'd urged him to use caution when going into the weedier parts of the grounds that were overgrown. The senior detective had even complained, that the back of the cemetery looked like a jungle, and if there was some sort of large cat back there, it wouldn't surprise him at all.

The next thing he knew, the cemetery was swarming with more police, along with reporters, a wild life expert and his assistant. Three canine units had even been brought in to search for the beast. To his way of thinking, the cemetery had turned into a three ring circus, with only the clowns missing. Then they'd shown up by the dozens, peering in through the wrought iron fence and he reckoned, they had finally come to watch the show.

He didn't mind tourists or even sightseers for that matter. Most times they would stop by his shed every so often, inquiring on this or that. How old was the cemetery? Was there anyone famous buried here like in Highgate Cemetery in London? How long had he been the grounds keeper? Could they bring their cameras in to take pictures? Once there had even been a movie crew and some young actors that showed up.

They had taken a look around and decided they wanted the Sisters of Mercy Cemetery, to be the location of some horror movie they wanted to make. He couldn't remember the name of it just now, he puzzled, but it had been what folks had called a B Rated movie. He'd told them they would need permission from the Sisters of Mercy themselves, that he couldn't give it to them. They'd gone off and showed up a few days later with all the paper work in hand.

What a fiasco that had turned into. Headstones had been knocked over, and some had been broken while they moved their equipment around. Young people just had no respect anymore, he thought, watching another police car go by. They were always in a hurry and had little regard for other people or things around them, including the dead. Oh, they had promised to repay the good Sisters for the damages they caused to the grounds. Only they had quickly forgotten that fact once they'd finished filming, what they'd called their Blockbuster Mega Hit.

As far as he knew, the film had never even made it to the theaters, but it had finished the good Sisters generosity of ever letting anyone else, use the cemetery for another movie. That was alright with him. He didn't need the aggravation of a hundred people tramping around shouting orders or screaming on cue, and running past the tombstones clad in skimpy nightgowns. Some of those nightgowns or rather lack of them, was enough to make an angel weep, he thought shaking his head again. Even when his wife had been alive, she'd never worn anything that looked like what them women had on.

Moses went back inside to put on a kettle for tea. Sure as the sun rose in the east, one of the officers would come in looking for something hot to drink and pass the time for a few minutes, before their patrol was over for the day. He glanced up at the clock. One hour till sunset and he'd go home too. No, he corrected himself. Tonight he was supposed to go over to his daughter and son-in-law's for dinner.

Maybe though if he timed it just right, he could hurry home and get cleaned up before he went. He'd have to hurry he told himself, otherwise Margaret would fret. She did that a lot since she'd found out she was pregnant. Her and Jacob both wanted him to go on and retire and move in with them. It wasn't that Moses didn't want to share their home, that kept him from doing it. It was the fact that he just didn't want to be underfoot. Besides, he liked his job. It gave him the feeling of independence and he could come and go as he pleased, when he pleased.

It was quiet here at the Sisters of Mercy as a rule. Granted, it was a few miles from the town of Derby On The Hill, but that was the way with most old cemeteries. Usually the living didn't want to share their space with the dead, but as their caretaker he didn't mind. It was what his father had done and his father before him. It was an honest profession and even though the pay wasn't all that good, it had put food on the table, and a roof over his family's head, when his Molly had been alive. Now that she was gone, it still did the same for him.

A dark shadow passed by the window and he glanced out. The clouds were rolling in and it would get dark early. Well it was about time, he thought. The weather man on the radio said, it would be late afternoon or early evening, before a front moved in and brought the rain with it. That was alright, the dead didn't mind the rain and neither did he.

"Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon", he nodded quietly to himself, remembering a poem he read once by Edward Thomas. He sat down, waiting for the water to heat and looked out the open door of the caretaker's shed. It had been raining the day they'd buried his Molly too. She loved to walk in the rain and the memory made him smile. They'd been so young back then. Now he walked in the rain alone, just to relive those memories and keep them alive.

Death was a cruel master and it had taken her away from him, leaving Moses to raise his three year old daughter alone. Yet, he knew someday he'd be with Molly again, he told himself. He only hoped that it rained in Heaven, because he had a lot of catching up to do, when it came to rainy walks with his wife.

At least when his time came, everything was arranged with the good Sisters. He'd lay here in the newer part of the cemetery next to his wife, under an ancient yew tree. She'd told him that she'd read once, where the tree represented age, rebirth and reincarnation. Well he knew he was getting old. That was no great secret, but he knew he didn't want to be reborn or even reincarnated, unless she was going to be with him. He'd told her if she wasn't going to be here, he'd stay right where he was. That had made her laugh.

Another forty-five minutes passed, no one had still come by. That was just as well. He could lock up early and call it a night. He took the kettle off the stove and set it aside. When he came in the morning, he wouldn't even have to refill it. Slipping on his coat, he stepped outside and locked the door. He'd tell Molly, 'Goodnight' before he left and then be on his way.

Outside, the rain had begun falling and he pulled his collar tighter around his neck. It was getting chilly and soon the weather would get colder. That meant winter was just around the corner, and with it would come Christmas and the beginning of a new year. Only that one would be different than this one had been, he reminded himself, taking the path that led to where his wife rested. This coming year he'd be a grandfather, with a little one to bounce on his knee. The thought made him chuckle.

"What's so funny, Methuselah?"

The male voice behind him was thick, almost as if the tongue itself, had a problem forming the words. The first thought that came to Moses' mind, was that a drunk somehow got past the police barricade at the entrance to the cemetery.

"We're closed for the night," he answered, slowly turning around to face the man. He froze staring into the black eyes. His heart rate picked up and he unconsciously took a step back away from the stranger. "Who are you? What do want here?"

"I'm Andrew Golden and I are looking for someone. I doubt that you know the little bitch, but you'll do until I find her, old man." He laughed, when Moses backed up again. "Do not tell me you're afraid of death. Look around you old man, you're surrounded by it," he sneered, throwing his arms out in regards to the tombstones around them. "Every fucking waking minute, of every fucking waking day, someone dies in the world. Graveyards are full of people. Why? Because they are dying to get in!"

Golden tilted his head and gave Moses a sinister smile, before he ran his tongue slowly over his bottom lip. "I can hear your heartbeat, old man," he taunted. "It's going thumpity, thumpity, thumpity, thump. What have you got in there anyway? The Energizer Bunny?"

"I wonder if her blood will taste like yours, old man. Like a hot copper penny," he smiled. All too soon his smile disappeared, to be replaced by a snarl. "Bitch's blood will probably be cold as ice. But I have something for her. Oh yes, I have a surprise for her this time cold or not. This time she will beg for death with her very life."

"You're a mad man! You've lost your damned mind!" Moses screamed at him, turning to run. He had to get to the police barricade at the front gate. He had to tell them about this mad man in the cemetery. His heart felt like it would burst in his chest. "You're not going to get away with it! There's police all over!"

From somewhere behind him he could hear wild laughter. "You can run old man, but you can't hide. I know where you are. I can smell you. I can hear the blood pounding in your ears. Did you know, old man, that it sounds just like it does in your heart? Thumpity, thumpity, thumpity, thump. Run, run as fast as you can. You can't get away from me, I'm the fucking bogeyman."

A tremendous force struck Moses in the back, shattering his spine. There was a moment of blinding pain as he fell, then as fast as it had come the pain was gone. He was aware of being turned over for he'd seen the movement, but he hadn't felt anything. On his back now, he was once again face to face, with the man that called himself Andrew Golden. He tried to scream, but nothing would come out except a pitiful sobbing sound, when Golden leaned forward to open his mouth revealing two razor like fangs.

The next morning Moses was found next to his wife's grave, under the yew tree with the rain falling softly on him. A look of horror was etched on his craggy face. A gaping hole where his jugular vein should have been, told the Deputy Constable and the senior inspector that the animal had struck again.

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