Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Cutting through the graveyard on the way home after the school dance, I noted, with a shiver a thick mist rising from the ground and a stagnant breeze pressing down on me, causing my skin to crawl. As I reached the bottom of the hill rising from the edge of the cemetery, I heard the snap of a rope. I could hear it twist and moan against a branch of a tree as if something heavy were swaying, like a pendulum, from it.
That's when I started to feel the drops on my head. They were warm and thick. I could feel their weights as they spotted my clothes and ran down the part in my hair. Even though the dim shadows cast from rustic markers, I could see that these drops were not rain.
I first saw his feet as I looked up into the tree shading the moon's red glow from my face. This was no human. Most of the mortal features were gone: no hair, no eyes, no hands, just a torso, legs, arms and a mutilated face. His face, I thought it was a he, did not even resemble that of a human. So horribly mutilated, his eyes had been gouged from their sockets, his ears were missing, his nose just a stump of chiseled cartilage, his lips sewn shut. Instinctively, I leaped back into the darkness in order to impose distance between the thing and me. I missed my landing, however, and ended up falling onto some sunken grave. As I looked up, a marble Virgin Mary prayed over me. I remember that she looked almost alive because there were droplets of blood on her hands and tears of blood running down her cheeks, the source of which must have been the two mangled eyeballs carefully placed over her own. The desecrated statue's hands, void of fingernails, rested in her lap as if praying.
I wanted to flee: I needed to flee. I had to get home where it was safe. Who could have done this, I asked myself. Why?
I willed my escape. I struggled out of the muddy grave, panting and sobbing and crawled past the Virgin Mary. I struggled my way to my feet, as unsteady as they were and forced myself to run. At first it was more of a gallop, but as it came time to pass beneath the mutilated pendulum, I had reached a full-on run. I could view the streets, houses, stores, and bell tower below me. I had enough time to glance at it after I passed The Thing. As the bell struck midnight, I heard one last moan from the rope and then a loud thud, like a sack of flour being dropped onto the ground. The Thing was rolling down the hill now, picking up speed with each rotation, chasing after me.
As I raced down the hill into town, I could see my house. I could almost reach the door. I could discern my parents crying in the living room as a lone police officer stood before them. I pounded on the glass. Couldn't they hear my pleas for help? The Thing had stopped rolling. I did not want to turn around to see it, but I strained to hear what was being said inside instead.
"I'm sorry Mr. and Mrs. Baker, we tried to get out the message to the public sooner. We are very sorry about your loss, and we are in the process of looking for your daughter's killer right now."
Their daughter's killer? I was right there. How could that be? Slowly, I pivoted around, only to face that Thing, that body ... my body, staring through those empty sockets into my own mutilated face. Then I could feel my tears trickling over my cheekbones, my thick, red tears.
Megan Mercer is a student at Lawrence High School