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The Incident

I stared at the black canvas above me, the twinkling lights painted upon its smooth black surface. I had just finished watching “Dark Shadows” at the cheap dollar show. The movie was ok, not Tim Burton’s best. It had succeeded to spook me a bit, and I started to wish I wasn’t walking home alone. I had two options; I could walk through the old, eerie cemetery and get home faster, or I could take my usual, longer route. Having hated to be alone I chose the first option so I could be in company sooner. I quickly pushed open the rusted gates of the cemetery and stumbled onto what seemed like the set of a horror film.

The old, eerie cemetery clearly did not have a groundskeeper. Graves were unkept, the moist earth cracking beneath them, ready to expose the bodies of decaying corpses buried at least thirty years ago. Flowers for loved ones had wilted after months and years of forgetfulness, turning mourners back to their lives. Between the iron bars of the tall pointed fence where cobwebs thick with cannibalistic spiders. These arachnids had thick, brown hairs sprouting from their backs. They were extremely large too, about the size of a man’s hand.
No one went to the old, eerie cemetery, not even the insects. No one had been buried there for decades after some kind of incident. I used to ask the older locals about it, but they always said they’d tell me when I was older or change the subject. As a result the burial site was in ruins. In my mind the only beauty in this abandoned wasteland was the willow tree.
The willow tree, ah the willow tree. How had it trapped me in its serene beauty? I knew I had not been the only one captivated. I had been under its long, drooping branches only once before to take this short cut, and I had seen the names of lovers long dead carved into its aged bark. I dared not to look at the tree quite yet. I would wait until I was closer as I wanted to save it as a reward for my courage for walking through the old, eerie cemetery.
I walked along the crooked stone path, or what was left of it. I walked closer and closer toward the willow tree until I was under its slender, elegant branches. It was cooler under its shade for though it was night there was still shade. Suddenly, I felt innocent, and I began to dance in the moonlight. I waltzed a beautiful waltz with myself as my partner. I counted out loud to myself,
“One-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, step.”
I stepped in time with a melody that only I could hear when thump! I was on the ground. I had bumped into something hard. I looked up to see what it was when a blood curdling scream escaped my lips. It was a man. There, up in the willow tree, was a middle aged man hanging from a noose. His face was black from suffocation, blood had trickled from his mouth, covering his body, and his left eyeball had popped out. He was dead, and I had bumped into him. His body was still rocking back and forth because of our collision.
I looked down at my chest. It was covered in bright, red, sticky blood. I felt my face. It was wet. I was covered in a dead man’s blood. I started feeling sick and proceeded to vomit, getting it all over myself, not caring because I was in the middle of a successful suicide.
That’s when I heard a woman screaming and running all at once.
“No! Don’t leave me!” her voice begged. “I can change for you! I loved you! I still love you! Don’t leave me like this…”
I didn’t hear any more of the woman’s cries. I had escaped the fear of the dead man in front of me and now feared the woman to come. I was running, stumbling on knocked over grave stones, breaking fallen branches of the willow tree. The willow tree, ah the willow tree. That same willow tree I had once admired I now despised. I should have known that there was no such thing as a rose in the garden.
After what seemed like a thousand years, I was home. I busted open the door and yelled,
“Mom! Mom! Call the police! I found a dead man in the cemetery! He had just committed suicide and I bumped into him and now I’m covered in blood and vomit and there was this woman and she was screaming at him not to leave her and-”
“Whoa, settle down,” my mom whispered. “Are you sure you haven’t been listening to too many of the locals? It sounds like the incident. There isn’t any blood on you, just puke. Did you have too much popcorn at the movies? Was the movie too scary for you?”
I looked down and saw that she was right. There was no blood, but I knew I hadn’t imagined it. I had felt it. The blood had still been warm when I was in the old, eerie cemetery.
“The movie wasn’t too scary, Mom, and I didn’t have too much popcorn. What do you mean my story sounds a lot like the incident? No one has ever explained it to me.”
She sighed.
“I’ll give you the abridged version. Back in the fifties there was this man and woman. They were married, but I guess you could say the woman was not very loyal. Her husband found out and was devastated. Severely depressed he wrote a suicide note and went straight to the cemetery. He hung himself in the same willow tree they had carved their names into as teenagers. When his wife found the note she felt immediate remorse and ran to the cemetery to stop him, but it was too late. She shot herself an hour later with a pistol. Locals heard the gun shot and found their bodies along with the suicide note. The cemetery soon became abandon as no one wanted to remember the incident.”
My mom and I sat in silence, maybe in shock, maybe in respect. I wished her good night and went upstairs to take a shower. I let the water try to wash away what could never be cleaned. I got out of the shower, threw on my pajamas, and lay in bed, staring blankly at the moonlight peeking through my window. I heard a gunshot. “At least they’re together,” I think to myself as I fall into a dreamless sleep.



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