Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2118735-A-Late-Night-Shortcut
Printer Friendly Page Tell A Friend
No ratings.
Rated: E · Short Story · Ghost · #2118735
A man takes a shortcut home through a cemetery. It's a shortcut he might regret.
Rodney was seven-and-a-half beers past sober when he decided to take a shortcut home by hopping the fence into Depravity Grove Cemetery. He shivered as he walked down the old cobblestone paths that wound through smaller back gate toward the larger front gate. Depravity Grove Cemetery was creepy enough in the daylight but it was creepier at night when you were drunk. Fallen leaves skipped across the paths as the remaining leaves rustled on the trees in the late October wind. Rodney pulled his coast tighter around himself as he walked. Despite not being completely sober, he knew that the route he was going to take to get to the main gate. Even though the main gate would be locked, he knew where to hop the fence without getting seen. It wasn’t his first time cutting through the cemetery.

The wind whispered through the trees and the graves. The cemetery was so large that he could only vaguely hear the sound of cars and vehicles on the road and only if he really listened closely. After a while, once the silence started to creep him out more, Rodney reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his iPod and headphones. He put his headphones in and unlocked his iPod. He pulled up the playlist he wanted to listen to and pressed play before slipping the iPod back into his coat pocket. He didn’t have it turned up particularly loud but it was loud enough to drown out the silence. He’d never given much thought to the stories about the cemetery being haunted.

The shadows cast by the trees danced in the dim light of the path lamps as he zoned out a bit to his music. It would take him a few minutes to reach the main intersection of the path. As his shoes thumped duly against the path, Rodney thought he heard his name over the sound of his music. He pulled one ear bud out to listen; all he could hear was the wind. He shrugged and put the ear bud back in his ear. He figured it was his drunken brain playing tricks on him with the wind. He buttoned the last button on his coat as he went, wishing he’d though to bring his scarf and gloves. Luckily, the shortcut through the cemetery would cut an hour off his walk.
When he reached the main intersection, he paused. The left and right ways would take him the longer ways around to the gate. The middle path would take him the shortest route straight to the main gate, which would take him past the Crane mausoleum and the hooded statue.

The Crane family mausoleum was the resting place of fifteen generations of one of Depravity Grove’s founding families. The hooded statue was the hooded figure of a man carrying a lantern that stood by the short path that led to the mausoleum’s doors. As per the instruction of the Crane who built the mausoleum and was the first to be laid to rest there, a candle was always placed inside the lantern and lit. There had been stories for decades about the statue walking around the cemetery weeping tears of blood. According to the stories, the statue was brought to life but the spirit of Alexander Crane , in an attempt to find justice for the murder of his wife.

Deciding the quickest way anywhere was a straight line, he decided to take the forward path that lead right to the gate. The walk was still going to take a while, but it would be thirty minutes as opposed to almost an hour. He was cold, tired, drunk and starting to get hungry. So he started walking again, with the intention of going to a twenty-four hour pizza place to get food before returning to his apartment. Once he got out of the cemetery of course. As he walked he saw a light off to his left in the corner of his eye. It didn’t seem to be one of the path lights. He turned to get a good look at it and froze. It wasn’t a path light. It was a lantern, held aloft by the arm of a stony figure. The hooded man was moving. The light from his lantern cast a pale glow on his face, causing the bloody tears running down his cheeks to glisten. At first, Rodney wasn’t sure what to do other than to keep walking. So he started walking again, a bit faster than he had been.

He wasn’t quite scared yet, but he was getting there. He turned briefly but he didn’t see it. Turning his eyes back on the path in front of him, Rodney could see the dark grey stone and white marble ahead of him. He quickened his pace, knowing that once he passed the mausoleum he’d be nearly in the home stretch. As he passed the mausoleum on his left, he heard his name again. This time it wasn’t the wind and it wasn’t his drunken imagination. Something was calling his name. It was louder this time then it had been the time before. He turned but saw no one else. As he turned back around he saw a flash of white off to his right. An icy chill ran up his spine as he began to power walk towards the gate. His only thought at that moment was ‘Don’t run’.

He caught several more glimpses of whatever it was before a shriek echoed through the cemetery. Rodney froze in place as fear gripped him. The specter was featureless when he first saw it wandering though the graves. It looked at him but he couldn’t make out anything but he could see the glint of something in its’ hand. When the white specter reached for him with another ear-splitting shriek, it broke his trance and he bolted. Rodney could hear its wails behind him as he ran down the path. He could see the gate in the distance. He’d never really disbelieved but now he was running for his life from something he couldn’t fight against.

He could feel the specter closing in on him when he tripped and hit the ground hard on his knees. He turned in panic and saw the hooded man standing between him and the specter. When it tried to reach for him, the hooded man blocked him. The hooded man turned his carved face towards the fallen man and pointed his free hand in the direction of the gate. Rodney didn’t need to be told twice. He forced himself to his feet, despite the pain in his knees, and ran for the gate. He didn’t dare look back.

Once there he found the place for him to hop over and quickly did so. He was now out of the cemetery and back on the street. He walked away from the cemetery as calmly as he could, trying to relax. He walked to a local 24 hour coffee shop and ordered a cup of coffee before heading to the pizza place. He ordered his food and continued to his apartment building across the street from said shop. Once home, he drank his coffee, ate some pizza, drank a cup of water and somehow managed to fall asleep before two am. When he woke up the next morning, the first thing he did after getting dressed was walk back to the cemetery.

He walked up to the Crane mausoleum and the statue. He approached the statue where it stood on its pedestal. The statue didn’t look like it had been moving around the cemetery the night before but he could see the red streaks of blood from where the tears had been. He’d never really noticed. Honestly, the statue looked as he had always looked, a hooded man with a lantern. When Rodney took a step back he saw it. A plaque attached to the pedestal. The plaque called the statue “Charon” after the ferryman of Greek mythology. Rodney wasn’t sure what to make of the situation but he’d never question the stories again.

© Copyright 2017 Detective (frigid at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2118735-A-Late-Night-Shortcut