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|Alice (standard:horror, 1615 words)|
|Author: kendall thomas||Added: Oct 30 2002||Views/Reads: 1946/1201||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
Alice By Twisted Wrabbit It seems like only the blink of an eye, a mere moment in time, but it happened over forty years ago. A girl I had met on campus and had dated a few times called me one morning and asked if I would drive her to Cave Hill Cemetery that afternoon. Her name was Alice, and it was October thirty-first -- a gray, dismal day. Dark clouds hung heavily on the horizon, threatening rain and bringing with them an early night. Her house was set back among old, wind-whispering oaks that sheltered a small, leaf-covered lawn rising steeply from the sidewalk. She was waiting for me, as usual, at the base of concrete steps that led up to a German-style bungalow with a brick-columned vestibule. Orange and yellow leaves covered its peaked roof. In her hands she held a bouquet of flowers as yellow as the fallen leaves and was wearing a blue dress with an unbuttoned gray sweater. Her blonde hair was fixed in a ponytail. As we drove, she told me she wanted to put the flowers on her sister's grave. She didn't explain further and, as she looked so sad, I didn't have the heart to ask her for any details, though I was quite curious. The cemetery was large, hundreds of rolling acres covered with the barren trees of fall. She guided me -- finger pointing this way and that -- through a series of avenues and lanes that wound among old tombs, towering monuments and tombstones of all shapes and sizes. After a time she indicated a spot where she wanted me to stop. I knew she needed to be alone, so I waited in the car and watched her disappear down a corridor of tree-lined tombstones, clutching the bundle of fragile, yellow flowers to her chest. She looked so lost and small amongst the hard, indifferent angles of granite and marble that I felt an overwhelming sadness for her -- and for all of mankind. A gargoyle glared down at me from the cornice of a nearby tomb, a frank warning to trespassers. When she didn't return after a long wait I began to worry. The sky was getting darker and darker as purple clouds obscured it. Soon it would be too dark to find her, and I was beginning to think that in the early darkness she might have become confused and lost her way -- not hard to imagine in such a labyrinth of twisting stone alleyways. I turned my headlights on and beeped the horn several times, waiting, but still she didn't show. I got out of the car and started down the way she had gone. I hadn't walked far when I realized I was becoming disoriented. I looked back hoping to see the car lights, but couldn't. I walked on calling out her name, modestly at first, then louder as my annoyance grew. I stopped finally. It was hopeless. It would be easier to find a needle in a hay stack. Where could she have gotten to? I felt a few raindrops. What on earth could she be doing? I found myself upon a rise, and I looked around in the fading light. Shadows lengthened and darkened everywhere. Bare branches scraped along the roofs of tombs. A small bird scurried across the sky as if fleeing some unseen danger. At first I thought it was the shadow of a weeping angel by a tombstone, but then I saw a slight movement, a wisp of hair caught in a breeze. Her face bore such a look of anguish and sadness that I almost couldn't bring myself to disturb her -- but I had to. It would be raining soon. Click here to read the rest of this story (135 more lines)
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