Tombs, Crypts and a Walk in the Cemetery by Ken Santiago

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SUMMARY: Don't walk through the cemetery at night, no matter how much time it saves.

Tonight I decided to take a shortcut through the cemetery on my way home. I was hungry and didn't want to be late for dinner. I knew my Mom was cooking spaghetti with garlic bread, one of my favorites. Besides, there was nothing to be afraid of. My friends and I loved the cemetery. We would play there for hours and hours. There were rolling hills to run up and down, and all kinds of places to hide for hide and seek. We loved reading the tombstones, especially the very old ones. There was one with the date of 1788. We wondered what the body would look like if we dug it up and opened the coffin.

We were never destructive or disrespectful. In fact, we wouldn't even walk on the grass where the people were buried. So, there was no real reason to be frightened. I told myself this very thing over and over again. But this was different. I was by myself and it was night. I had never ventured within its gates at night. How scary could it be, I asked myself. What was in the cemetery that could hurt me? Nothing, right?

It wasn't completely dark yet, and I could see the moon rising up from the horizon, casting shadowy light over the tombstones. I walked along the gravel road that made its way through the middle of the cemetery, all the way to the other side where my house was. It wasn't a very long walk, perhaps a quarter mile or so. As I walked along, a slight mist appeared and hovered above and around the tombstones and crypts. I heard a noise that startled me, something rustling in the fallen leaves. I looked more closely and saw something run behind a headstone. Probably just a squirrel, I said to myself. Then I heard another noise. It was a distinct Woo, Woo Woo Woo; Woo, Woo Woo Woo. It sounded like a large owl, coming from way up in a big balsam fir tree. I looked up to its highest branches as they gently swayed in the light breeze. The silvery white moon was well up in the sky by now and there were a few clouds slowly moving by. It looked like a scene from a horror movie; the hooting owl in a big, dark pine tree, with the full moon illuminating the foggy gravestones. I stayed calm however, and just kept on walking.

I came to a large crypt that looked creepy, even in the daylight. It was made of old brown and gray stones, covered in green moss and lichens, with roots and vines clinging to it like veins under the skin. It had two large, rusty black, heavy looking steel doors with bars on them and two small stained glass windows. I thought I could make out a faint light shining through the stained glass. The glowing light flickered and danced, just like a candle might in a soft breeze. Then I heard what sounded like chains clanking from the inside. Could the cemetery workers be out here at this hour? That didn't make sense. It was too late for that.

There I was, staring at the eerie light, when suddenly a thunderous noise came from inside the crypt. It sounded like someone or something pounding on the inside of the heavy steel doors. I remained still, too frightened to move, when the doors suddenly flew open with a violent force.

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