“How I hate these late night shifts,” Cassidy grunted kicking dust with her boot
“Yeah, those are the worst. The good thing is we don’t have to stick around all night until the morning.”
“Right Juan. I mean, why they even have to put people through such thing as overtime. Makes me sick to the bone.” She kicked off once again
“Cass, you all well?” Bruno asked her.
“Yeah, yeah. It’s just…I’m just really tired from this, you know. First, it was my sister funeral, and when I’m finally getting over it, comes extended hour work to fuck me mentally.”
“You know what they say: ‘no rest for the wicked’” Juan cherished Cassidy
“At least we have each other on our way home. Otherwise, it could be boring-“
“Or scary.” Bruno mocked Cassidy and laughed after with Juan.
“Real fun Bruno,” she began applauding “real fun.”
“Come on Cass, it’s just a tiny joke. Don’t have to take it to the hearth.”
“Can’t we just keep moving, I’m freezing.” Cassidy evaded further conversations and with straight face moved to their dorm direction.
All three misfits were walking back to their dorm; to their room which they all shared together, without hiding their personal lives. Knowing everything about each other turned them into close friends. They knew each other good enough to recognize whose the one snoring at night. In the beginning, they didn’t liked each other, but grew closer after they got the same job, at the office. Now, walking from the work they share the same road which leads them back home.
In autumn, when streets start to feel colder and the wind blows stronger, bringing more chills to their legs. Bruno always wore shorts because he often got hot from the weather, and on evenings like this he often regretted that. Cold wasn’t going easy on them. Beginning to crawl from their necks and legs to their whole body. Cassidy started shaking lightly from cold on her back. Bruno with Juan offered her coats, but she refused because she wanted to feel more independent. After refusing to take their coats she raised a question.
“Guys, perhaps we can take a shortcut?”
“The only shortcut there is through the cemetery. Sure you want to go through it? I remember that it gives you shivers even in a daytime.” Bruno chuckled and she hit him on his hand lightly with her palm.
“And again, I have you two with me,” she smiled “and I want to get home faster. This cold is freezing me.”
Everyone nodded to each other and they entered the cemetery. Chills from surrounding tombstones hugged them from all sides. Ambient sound of wind blowing leaves and crows blended together. Shivers ran up their bodies and Bruno suggested to pick up the pace. Hands slid into pockets from the strangely cold wind. With no words to each other, they were hurrying back home. None of them bothered to look up. Instead, they all looked down onto dark dirt road, trying to not trip over anything on their way. Out of a sudden, a crow flew right in front of their eyesight. Their eyes followed it and quickly landed on a sight they couldn’t explain. Chills stopped on the brief moment when they saw a shape of a woman, standing in the far distance by the tombstone. Cassidy stared at her, and for a quick moment, she thought it’s her sister. Which was nearly impossible because she was buried in a far different town. All three staring at the far distant shape, which looked like a woman in a short dress, short enough to see what appears was her legs, but they couldn’t make a meaning out of it. Curiosity filled their eyes as they stared and feet froze on the spot. Three friends were looking into indescribable.
“Do you think it’s a ghost?” Juan sounded worried.
“Naah, probably some chick who came to her grandfather.” Bruno tried to calm his friend.
“In this late night? At half past midnight?”
Juan was now exchanging looks with Bruno. They began debating what it is while Cassidy continued staring at the mysterious figure. Few seconds passed and Cassidy’s right hand wiggled Bruno while other pointed towards the mysterious figure.
“Guys, look.” She pointed towards it.
Both guys looked at it and they saw her looking back at them.
“Guys, it thinks we have to go.”
Bruno encouraged them and started moving, slowly. They quickly followed his example and all three of them were on a way home. Without a clue of what it was. Lost control of their legs, which were now in an automated motion, on the way to home. Cassie’s mind tried to piece together what it was and thought about that thing being her sister never left her mind. They kept moving without looking back. Deeply into the thought of reaching home soon made them forget about thing around them. Silence with chills followed them as they approached the end of the cemetery – closer and closer. Finally, they turned their heads around and Juan wasn’t there. He was gone. Dark, empty cemetery with all its tombstones was behind them and cemetery gates a few hundred meters in front of them.
“Holly Christ. Where is he?” Bruno grew impatient
“He just stops to tie his shoes or something.”
“And didn’t tell us anything? No, I find that hard to believe?”
“What’s a better explanation to this? Ghost? You think ghost got him, that is what you think?” Cassidy tried to find an explanation about this, and worries could be heard in her voice.
“You know I don’t believe in ghost, but this is creepy. We should keep moving Cass. It gets colder if we stand on the spot.” She nodded and they began moving again.
Feet left the ground and they began moving faster than before. Forgetting about the Juan almost made Bruno forget about the Cassidy. Hearing strange sounds and seeing birds leave their trees, set Bruno slowly running. He glanced back to Cassidy who was slightly behind him, and he saw it. The mysterious figure was behind her and he screamed to Cassidy.
“CASS, MOVE” she turned back, and screamed as the mysterious stood in front of her eyes.
Bruno watched over, as darkness surrounded them both. Cassidy was gone into the dark. Bruno with final survival instinct kicking in set off to home. Both feet left the ground as he ran. He ran enough to hear wind whistling besides his ears. Completely forgot about his friends whose he abandoned in a cemetery. He kept repeating ‘must get home, must get home’ all the time while he ran. Bruno thought about nothing else but safety. He couldn’t give a second thought about what it was or what it wants. All he knows that it doesn’t bring a happy ending. It grabs the victim by its hand and pulls into the dark. Where no one sees the person anymore. In the end, it leaves only a memory of that person, nothing else.
Finally coming up to dorm house. Worries have left Bruno as he approached the door where sat few students, smoking pot. Bruno ignored them and walked up to reception. Showed his papers to a woman behind the reception. She glanced over them, over his face, grunted, and gave back his paper.
“Next time don’t come after midnight.” She muttered under her nose while turned to tv, which hangs under the ceiling.
Stepping up to his room, he couldn’t shake off the feeling about his two buddies being consumed by something. The thing. That is how he referred to it. Wondering what was that thing he saw in a cemetery and what it wanted. His mind began polluting himself with questions on which he couldn’t find answers. Clueless and worried he opened the door of his room. Inside he looked at their beds, the empty beds which would never be filled.
Opened the fridge after work, to grab a beer and sink into the couch. Bruno always did this ritual after work. Finally landing on his couch he heard, he heard the door opening and he quickly got up. Beer spilled underneath him as he accidentally pushed it over with his feet. With a quick glance over it, he swore a little and raised his head quickly back at the door. He was positive it was that thing coming after him, he thought of ways to prepare for it.
His arms dropped from surprise as doors opened. It was them. Juan a Cassidy.
“What are you doing here guys? I thought she…it got you both.”
“What are you talking about…. ahhhh, the gardener.” Juan began laughing, and Cassidy joined him.
“Yeah Bruno, we looked at the gardener and you suddenly started walking fast. We knew you had your reasons, but I didn’t think you’ll start running later on.” She chuckled.
“Wait, so there wasn’t any kind of ghost?”
“Ghost?” Juan began laughing “From all people, you think there was a ghost. Ou said yourself ghost are just imaginary beings if we can call them that.”
“Guess I’m just tired.”
Bruno went for his room and landed into bed. He heard Juan swearing after stepping into a recently made puddle from beer, which Bruno kicked over. Smile raised on Bruno’s face and he closed his eyes.
He tried to fall asleep. Rolling from one position to another – he couldn’t. Half an hour into trying to fall asleep, and he opened his eyes. He laid on his back, staring. Bruno was staring into the same thing he saw in the cemetery, but this time it was there, in his room. From being a thing it quickly turned into a woman, into a woman from the cemetery. He looked at her white pale face. The face which looked like been made from a thin cotton layer, or a cobweb – he couldn’t grasp the idea about it. Shivers crawled around Bruno’s body. He couldn’t turn away his look from her, like he was hypnotized. His mouth opened to call for his friends…and suddenly nothing. Nothing that could be described. No feeling about the present, or sense, nothing. Besides nothing was one thing – the pitch black picture – pouring over his eyes.