tagSci-Fi & FantasyWhat Dead Things Are Made Of

What Dead Things Are Made Of

bycupatea©

There was something to be said for old tombstones. Sally ran her hand across the face of one dated in 1842 as she admired its carvings. They were always well built. If you compared today's markers to those of that time period you'd find that today's tombstones were dull and useless. These markers depicted nothing about the individual laying six feet under the ground. They simply gave a name and date, nothing more. They were like houses processed in a sort of factory. All pretty much the same just different colors and sizes with locations and markings to boot.

She glanced around the old cemetery as she regained her footing. This graveyard and Old Catholic Church dated well beyond the 18th century. That was why she'd placed it on her travel plans for today.

It was advertised as being one of the first Catholic Churches in Ohio. The building showed its age in missing roof tiles and aging sidewalks. The bricks and cement walls had missing pieces. These had never been repaired, just cleaned over. The work completed on the building it didn't seem to matter, age was aggressing rapidly. New areas were appearing every few feet. Soon it would need repaired or torn down. The congregation had a decision to make in the near future.

The stained glass windows still sparkled in the noonday sun and the brick walls, which climbed two stories in height, seemed to be proud to still be alive today.

The yard had always been well maintained. An abundance of flowers were planted in every available space around the building and on the surrounding property. In the background a lawn mower purred and other gardeners tended to the plants. She smiled and moved on. She hadn't come to the church for the scenery. She'd come to the church to look at the gravestones.

Gravestones had always been an interesting delight for her and she often spend several hours a week going to graveyards in the surrounding areas to inspect the stones. Slowly she began to walk easily escaping into yesterday. Where women wore long gowns and talked with accents no longer present today, where horses and buggies were preferred over cars and motorbikes. Girls were girls and boys were boys neither ever looked like the other.

As she approached a large over bearing stone she noticed it was for someone who came to the America's from Ireland. The word Ireland along with a picture of its homeland had been imprinted on this stone which made it appear classy, almost royalty. Softly she rubbed the stone with her fingers, dusting off the fading letters near the bottom that gave the buried person life. Even that didn't help. The words were still too difficult to read.

She frowned. Maybe she'd return again tomorrow and etch it off. It would be interesting to find out why they had been buried here. Researching the names was another activity that took up some of her time. It was something she enjoyed doing when she had days off from work. She was often amazed at what she'd find.

Just to her left she spied another interesting stone. It was large, square and its surface was completed in black stone. Now that was different. She moved closer squatting so that she could read the writing.

Susan Courty Aged 25 years 3 months and 4 days

May God mend your troubled ways!

Now that was odd. What did they mean, troubled ways? She'd never seen a stone quite like this one before. Its surface seemed to glow. She looked closer at the heading. Did she hear voices? That wasn't possible? Old stones were just old stones. They gave the looker a glimpse into the past. Each stone had a history. They contained memories of past times. Nothing more then that, right? She continued to try to convince herself as she bent forward.

What was that; sound? How could that be, images? They seemed to be moving inside the stone just out of focus. Like an old black and white movie playing. Once again, it moved before her eyes. "How could that be possible?" She asked herself.

She moved back, away from the stone. "I've been to busy," she tried to assure herself, "I'm just over tired and imagining things."

"Tired..." she mumbled.

But the sounds she'd heard before only grew stronger. Wagon wheels traveling down a dirt road echo all around her. Voices strong and growing louder seemed to surround her. Still she couldn't understand them. Had she become hearing impaired as well?

She backed further away and ran into another stone.

"Ouch!"

She stood back up and dusted off her, 'dress?"

"What the..." Quickly she looked around.

Everything felt different. The air smelled different. The birds in the sky seemed more alive than any birds she'd seen recently. The grass under her feet seemed brighter, and felt stronger; more alive. The world was in vivid color, not dull and uninspiring like it felt in everyday life, but bright and strong like everything was there to be challenged and conquered.

She moved away from the stone she'd been standing near, never looking back and was at once assaulted by the overpowering smell of fresh lilacs. She backed away from it so that she could breathe again. Then the smell of meat roasting over an open fire, whisk her away. Suddenly she was starved. Had it been weeks perhaps years since the last time she'd eaten? She had to find the food, NOW! She began to sniffing. Where was it coming from?

It seemed strongest from her left. She moved that way into the woods. She just had to have one bite of whatever it was. She licked her lips. I'd been so long...

She felt so hungry that she was sure if she didn't feed her stomach soon it'd eat itself. It hurt that bad. She placed a hand over it hoping to calm it. Like a cat she dodged bushes and tree limbs searching for the origination of the smell. Hoping the growling from inside her didn't alarm the people brewing it.

It wasn't far. It was just in the next clearing. She ducked behind a tree and looked at the huge pot surrounded by a blazing fire. Surrounding the boiling pot were strange looking people. These people were dressed in robes and headdresses. Softly they were chanting. What she didn't know, nor did she care.

"Ahh here she comes," one of the strange old ladies said.

"Please, can I have just one bite?"

One of the old ladies smiled and dipped a spoon into the broth. Cupping her hand under it so none of the heavenly liquid could spill onto the ground below; she held it out.

"Drink," she whispered and smiled.

It tasted like paradise; smooth, sweet, bitter, chunky everything all at once.

"More?"

"No more," answered one of the other women.

"More! I want more!" she screamed and lunged forward trying to overpower the ladies. But the smallest one, the one on the right, tripped her and she fell to the ground with a thud.

All at once

Everything seemed to change. Nothing was as brilliant. The woods appeared dull and uninteresting. The birds in the sky were just birds. But something captured her attention, not far in the distance...sound.

Was that church bells? Better get up, and go, she finally decided and stood. Briefly she dusted off her 'jeans'.

What had just happened? She started walking toward the sound, which she now recognized as people's voices.

It was just a dream, wasn't it; or maybe a hallucination. Reality didn't act like that, right?

As she drew near to the edge of the glade she found that she could plainly and clearly hear voices. They echoed back to her from the cemetery. But the cemetery wasn't close enough for her to hear whispered voices. She puzzled over this a few moments before she focused on one of the conversations.

"Who would deface a grave?" A female voice whispered, "and during the day no less."

"Yes, came the answering reply, "and on a Sunday with all of us in church. They have no respect for the dead I'd say."

"Well I just never," a deep sorrow filled voice replied.

Gently she pushed the tree limbs apart and gazed at the gravestones. In front of one of the stones the ground had been torn up. The coffin inside was exposed and open. The police, fire and caretaker were all present and appeared to be examining the damage.

She brushed her hair out of her eyes and stepped forward. What was that? She looked down.

"Who would want to get into the coffin of Susan Courty? I mean, she's dead," said an elderly lady standing just on the other side of the rows. "Respect is an important thing you know."

Long brown hairs covered her shoes. She'd shaved this morning. She bent and pulled up one of the legs of her jeans. More long brown hairs greeted her and her fingers, her hands; her whole arm infact! She ripped off her shirt and gazed at her body in alarm. She was covered in long brownish fur. Her fingernails were so long, they were huge. She studied them in disbelief for a few minutes. Then her stomach started growling and her world lit up again in vivid color. The church, gravestones, important events that once lodged in her mind for storage were kicked out. Food was all that she craved.

Slowly, so as not to attract attention she moved back into the woods, already scanning the area for food.

"What was happening," she asked herself as her feet became flying birds and she moved off toward a clearing that she recognized. Her nose twitched, something moved. It was a child...

She licked her lips in hunger...Lunch was served...

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