The Knoll

Death. That was the only thing that was running through my mind that day, with the subtlety of the occasional rat walking by in the distance, and the corpse of old Mister Johnston sitting right next to me. I was just a typical fourteen year-old, with black hair, deep blue eyes, and a stature above average. I lived in a small town. The sovereignty of my town that I lived in was almost as secure as the identities of its citizens, and none were quite sure whether or not the “United States” was truly a country, or just a string of nations bound together by one name since two hundred and fifty years ago when it was born. My mind stirred, and I shuffled back into reality, staring off into the distance, awaiting the end of the man at the podium’s dull speech to end. I felt myself ease in and out of consciousness, and at one point, a small drop of drool fell from the side of my face. I chuckled, and the man at the podium looked at me. No matter how hard he tried to look away, his eyes would always saunter back to where I was sitting.
A cold embrace gripped my shoulder, and I felt my senses heighten to an unimaginable level. I looked behind me, only to see the face of the tall priest who had delivered the final rites, and had also delivered the eulogy. He was an old man, probably around age eighty, wearing a white robe adorned with a red stripe going straight down the middle, a chapeau, and an old, wrinkled face that bared much burden. He spoke slowly in an old, withered voice, and said "So you’re the one who was fallin’ asleep during my sermon. I don't seem to recognize you, boy. Where did you come from?" I could tell from his opening sentence that he was in search of a challenge, and so I peered at him, searching his gaze for any sign of weakness, then finally delivered my reply with an unknown strength, when met with an intimidating foe. "Of course, I live in the neighbourhood. I decided to pass by to pay my respects." I said to him.
My words fired at him like missiles against a fighter jet. For some reason, he did not seem to pay much attention, or so it seemed. I licked my salt-encrusted lips and spoke again, this time louder: “Do you know what the time of death was?” I asked. When his ears finally appeared to have opened up, he shuttered, and replied with “Eh, boy, I’m not the person to have that kind of information.” I scowled, eased up from the church pew, and decided to make my way to the back of the cathedral, so that I may douse my hands with blessed “holy water” that I have heard so much about.
I tip-toed to the back of the cathedral, running my greasy fingers along the walls and the beautifully hand-crafted stained glass that lined the walls, each telling tales of yore, usually with some sort of moral. As I meandered to the back of the basilica, I encountered several buttresses in grand shapes, each one rather unique to the other. I finally faced the hollow basin that held the water, and splashed my hands and face with it, saying a “mock” prayer of sorts.
While walking outside, however, I noticed a small rock on the ground and I bent over to pick it up. Then, after resuming stance, I noticed a man off in the distance ambling around the grassy knoll. I waved, yet no reply was delivered, so I decided to approach him, as he looked quite familiar. I trembled as I walked, with one half of my mind saying “Turn back! Quickly!” and the other half saying “Go for it!”

My mother always taught me not to speak with strangers, yet I thought it could do me no harm, so I kept going. Just a bit closer, a little more distance, just a bit further, “Aha!” I exclaimed, expecting for him to turn around and show his face. He spoke in a deep, steady voice that resonated throughout the air around him. “What have you done?” he questioned. “Help me… Please! My face, my eyes, you… did this…” he fell over, his heart stopping, his words ceasing and echoing. I looked his face, and I saw deep scratches and knife marks decorating it. I saw two empty eye sockets where two bright green eyes used to be. How could I have done this though? The man must’ve been a loon. That was the only reasonable explanation.

I then saw the knife in my hand and the blood on my shirt.

Boy was I wrong.





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