's 2013 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Anonymous

 Ben hadn’t made a peep when he squeezed through the rusty iron gate that surrounded the cemetery, and he picked his way quietly and carefully through the brambles and weeds that grew between the tombstones, staying in the shadows, until he saw the marker he was looking for, a marble obelisk that had collapsed against it’s neighbor, a simple Celtic cross.

 Earlier that day he’d fed his little brothers the story about the ghouls, the dead that wake at midnight on the full moon with an insatiable hunger and nothing to fill their bellies but their sounder sleeping neighbors. They’d called bullshit, but he saw the fear in their eyes, and because they knew he knew, he had them. He told them that if they didn’t believe him, tonight was a full moon, and they could go and see for themselves. Trapped in false bravado they’d consented, and the game was on.

 Ben took the rubber mask and gloves out of his bag and slipped them on, then laid the bag on the damp grass behind the obelisk and crouched on it, ready. He knew that the twins had walked to the cemetery and that he would have had beaten them there by some time; he’d convinced them himself that opening the garage door to get their bikes would wake Dad. He’d parked his own bike behind the garage earlier that night with just that reasoning in mind.

 Time passed slowly in the darkness, and Ben cursed himself silently for not bringing a watch. He stretched, being careful to remain in the darkness, and leaned against the grave-marker, chilly through his thin autumn jacket. Despite the cool in the air the rubber mask and hands had him feeling stifled, and the marble felt delicious.

 Time crept by again, and Ben fought to keep his eyes open and his chin from bobbing towards his chest. He removed the mask and gloves, thinking that the cool air might help, stood up, crossed his arms, and began the wait again. He noticed the absence of the noise of crickets, something he hadn’t even been fully aware of until it was gone, and then it felt as if the obelisk had lurched several inches, and he fell to the ground.

 Shaking his head, he decided he’d had enough; he’d rather the twins find nothing at the cemetery than their older brother napping. Looking around for the gloves, he smiled when he saw one of them now looked as if it were reaching out from under the grave. Reaching out, his hand closed around soft rotting flesh and smooth bone that returned his grip. As he felt its pull, something in his throat refused to work.

Ben never made a sound that night. But he made a wonderful meal.