too late

January 24, 2018
By hope479 SILVER, Wake Forest , North Carolina
hope479 SILVER, Wake Forest , North Carolina
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

One warm evening, Dr. Neil walked down the cobblestone streets of his hometown. His short stroll to the library was interrupted by a shaking under his feet. The street cracked in random places as Dr. Neil ran back to his house and stood in the doorway. As soon as he got back to his house the tremors stopped. Dr. Neil’s house is the only building within a one mile radius of the cemetery. Before today only a few minor occurrences had taken place and this was the only that caught his attention. Dr. Neil tried not to think about it as he started back to the library. While he walked he couldn’t help but notice that all the crevices that had just formed were now sealed without a trace. He pushed the thoughts to the back of his mind and continued on his way.

“Hello Neil!”  Lucille exclaimed as he walked into the library.

“Hello Lucille, did you happen to feel the small earthquake about an hour ago?”

“No I don’t believe I did. Anyway, did you have a nice weekend?” asked Lucille as she walked around to the other side of her desk. Lucille always liked to strike up a conversation as many times as possible with him.

“ Yes, I had a fine weekend. How was yours?”  Neil responded inattentively. He would always respond to Lucille even if he had lots of work to finish. He thought she was a fine young girl but she had an unhealthy obsession with him it seemed.

“My weekend was pretty boring, you ever have those days where you just want to get it over with ‘cause you’re too excited for a certain day to come? That’s how most of my weekends are, I love working here at the library. It’s too bad I can’t work the weekend shifts as well.”

“That’s nice Lucy. Could you fetch me a book on Burbot fish?” The doctor hadn’t paid much attention to what Lucille had said, per usual.

Lucille jumped right up from her seat behind the desk and hurried over to get Neil his book. Dr. Neil is an ichthyologist looking to protect species native to France, where his lives. While Lucille was gone, Neil went over to the desk where he usually sits and sat down with his research. He felt a slight chill. He looked up and there wasn’t a vent near him nor had there ever been one. As he looked around for a possible source, the chill got colder and colder until he could see his breath in front of him. He called for Lucy to come faster with his book. She arrived and set the book down at his table. As she began to walk away, Dr.Neil grabbed her arm.

“Are you cold Lucy?” Neil sputtered while he shivered vigorously.

“No, I think it’s actually a bit warm in here. Why do you ask?”

Dr.Neil looked around once more and then pulled Lucy over to where he was standing.

“ Do you feel cold now?”

“No I’m a bit warmer now.” Lucille whispered as her cheeks flushed red.

Neil realized how close they were standing and let her go, backing away. He was about eight years older than her and wasn’t interested in anything more than acquaintances. She walked back to her desk with her head down and sat quietly. Dr. Neil moved back over to where he was sitting and felt the warm air return. He gathered his things, thanked Lucy for the book and walked home.

The walk home felt as if it had taken years. All he could think about was the strange happenings from earlier that day.  As Neil walked home the breeze picked up. He looked up and saw the clouds overhead started to condense quicker as they were blown around the grey sky. Dr. Neil quickened his pace and tightened the collar on his coat. Once he arrived home he put on some tea and started a fire. The radio by his desk began to crackle with static and then it went quiet. A few seconds later there was a voice coming through the speakers. It was soft yet very clear, almost mesmerizing.

“Cemetery… cemetery… cemetery” the voice chanted.

The wind howled and there were cracks of thunder in the distant sky. Neil went over to his front door and looked out the small window in it. Lightning was coming down, hitting every tree in sight with frightening accuracy. He watched the trees burn and couldn’t look away like he was in a trance. He stood like this for quite a few minutes until he was interrupted by the kettle squealing, letting Neil know the water had boiled. Dr.Neil walked over to the stove and poured the water into his mug. Chamomile was his first choice of tea but the packet he had gotten out was now gone. He looked around his kitchen and saw no sign of it. He decided to make some dinner instead. The radio turned on again and continued chanting ‘cemetery’ as if to remind him of the last time. Dr. Neil paid no mention to it as he was too hungry to care what was going on with his radio or the fact that the trees were all on fire yet remaining untouched by the flame.

Whatever was trying to reach Neil he gotten restless and began to do many small things to annoy the doctor. This force turned the lights off, unlocked his doors, opened his blinds, and put out the fire all at once. Neil sighed and went to undo the acts of this menace. Once he returned to cutting up the vegetables for his dinner, he heard a knock at the door. Again Neil sighed and then went to answer the door. It was Lucille.

“Neil you have to help me! There’s something in the library. I think it has to do with that odd patch of cold air you felt earlier.” Lucy blurted as she heaved from all the running.

Neil was about to say something when he saw that the trees that had been burning earlier were now fine. He put his attention back on Lucy and guided her inside.

“What happened at the library?” Dr.Neil asked as he looked out the window.

“Well I was sitting at my desk reading a book when a man came in. I said hello to him and helped him find a book. While I was walking back to my desk I saw out of the corner of my eye something walking. I looked over and saw an elderly man walking towards me. Keep in mind this was not the man I had just helped, i’ve never seen this man before yet he looked oddly familiar. Anyways, I smiled to be nice and continued on my way. That’s when it hit me. The old man's face was on the book I had just helped the other man find. I looked up and didn’t see either man. I got up and hurried over to where I left the first man. He was still there and was looking through the book. I told him I needed the book and he said “you saw him didn’t you?” I asked him what he was talking about and he said that the man was the ghost of our towns founder. Tomorrow is the anniversary of his death and he came to get revenge.”

Dr Neil had sat down by the fire while he took in what Lucille had just said.

“Come to think of it I have been having a sort of strange night as well. It’s probably nothing, the man you saw may have been a descendant of the founder or maybe there’s a gas leak and you both imagined it.” Neil didn’t want to believe in the supernatural. He was a scientist and thought no further of the world.

“Why don’t you come with me to the cemetery for a minute and then we’ll go check out the library.” Neil suggested.

Lucille agreed and they went over to the cemetery that lies just a few feet down the road. When they arrived at the gate Neil unhinged the rusted latch and guided Lucy inside. As soon as they were both on the grounds of the cemetery, Neil felt an immense pressure on his chest and couldn’t breathe for a few seconds and then fell over. Lucy spun around and tried to help Neil but she was pushed away by an invisible force.

Neil lied on the ground for a minute before opening his eyes to reveal all grey eyes. He stood up and went over to Lucille while she was trying to get up and he grabbed her arm. She stumbled with the firmness of his grasp and tried to keep up while he dragged her down the street.

“Neil what’s going on? Where are you taking me?” Lucille asked while gasping for air.

“I’m sorry for doing this darling, i’ve temporarily incapacitated your little friend here. I really wish it wasn’t this way but I needed a vessel to carry out my revenge. You see back when I founded this fine town it was just me, then some annoying children came along and asked me to help them. I agreed and devoted my life to protect them as if they were my family. What do I get in return? Their little brats killed me because they were simply lazy.” Neils body said. The ghost of their towns founder had found its way to Neil so he could get around more efficiently.

“Say, aren’t you that pretty young girl from the library? I’m sorry if I gave you a little scare back there but I couldn’t have done you any harm. You see, that was just an apparition of me, I can’t break the physical boundary when i’m like that. Now that I have this fine young man to do my dirty work, I can do anything I want.” stated the man.

“I never knew that ghosts were actually real, i’ve studied them so much and have searched all over but I haven’t experienced anything till now. This would be a lot more exciting if you weren’t inhabiting my friend, or dragging me through the streets for that matter. What kind of dirty work are you talking about anyway? Maybe I can help, I know the town like the back of my hand and I assume it has changed a bit since you were last here.”  Lucille rambled.

“That would be quite helpful as a matter of fact. You know it has changed but not tremendously. Let’s see, now we should probably start with going to check on my burial sight.”

“I thought you were buried in the cemetery where you possessed Neil.” said Lucy.

“No dear, I was buried in the center of town. I just needed to get him somewhere nearby that was easier to possess him. The threshold between the living and the dead is very weak in cemeteries so I got him to go there.”

While they were walking to the burial place they ran into the town’s known crazy man, Robin. Everyone thinks he's crazy because he says he can see the future and read minds.  He’s never shared his predictions until now.

“You! You aren’t Neil! You get out of him right now you madman!” Robin yelled.

The founders ghost straightened up in Neil’s body.

“How did you know? That’s not possible, you couldn’t have known.” gasped the founder.

“You weren’t kidding when you said you could see the future and read minds, where you? Well that’s pretty interesting. Maybe after we get this whole mess is over with you can tell me my future.” Lucille interjected.

“Lucille, would you be quiet for one minute, we need to get this menace out of poor Neil before the body dies.” He turned to Neil’s body. “You need to go back to the ground where you belong. Please cooperate, this is an easy process and we should have you back in about twenty minutes. If you really want this revenge achieved just write whatever it is down and we’ll try our best to get it done.” Robin said in a very demanding tone.

Lucille didn’t expect this to work but the founder looked like he had just been hypnotized and then he let go of her arm.

“Where do you need me to go, Robin?” the founder said.

“That’s more like it. Just follow me, we must go get some supplies from my house then we’ll go burn your bones.” Robin said rather calmly.

The walk to Robin's house took only a few minutes. Once they got there, Robin instructed Lucille to keep Neil’s body in sight while he went to gather supplies. Robin picked up his shovel, lighter fluid, matches and his flashlight.

“Alright i’m ready, let’s get a move on before it gets too dark.” said Robin.

The three townspeople went on their way to the grave sight and no one spoke the whole way there. They arrived at the sight to find that a large tree had grown over his grave.

“This is just disrespectful. Someone remove this tree at once!” the founder demanded.

“No can do, the tree has to stay. We can just perform an exorcism.” said Robin.

The group walked back to Robin’s house as the night dragged on.

“He can’t enter the house because of my salt boundaries so i’ll just go up and get my book. Make sure he doesn’t go anywhere, okay Lucille?” Robin said.
“Alright just make it quick, it’s getting really cold out here.” Lucille responded.

Robin got his book and surrounded the ghost in a circle of salt. During the whole exorcism, Lucille was looking over Robin's shoulder and studying the book. Once he finished reciting the exorcism there was a flash of fire and Neil’s body collapsed.

“Neil are you ok?” Lucille asked

“Lucille, I think we were too late.”

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