Amongst the Stones

Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Abtei_im_Eichwald_-_Google_Art_ProjectThe Abbey in the Oakwood

“The Abbey in the Oakwood” by Caspar David Friedrich (1809-10)

The following is a short story about an ominous presence in an old graveyard and the power it holds over all those who dare enter it.  Written on the 2nd July 2016.

Amongst the Stones

As the shadows grew in length and the icy breeze brought with it the closing curtain of twilight, the grim sentinel found its strength again and slowly began to emerge. Settling over the solemn gravestones like a phosphorescent mist, the swarm governed its ancient dominion once more.

It wasn’t the spirit of a long dead denizen, interred within the cold folds of the earth. Nor was it a natural oddity, borne of strange or incomprehensible natural phenomenon. It was neither living nor dead, but rather something in-between. It wasn’t always there, floating from marker to marker as it had for so long, but when the conditions were right, it gathered and blossomed and roamed through its ancient haunts once more.

The mist was a strange thing; a conglomeration of many screaming lives cut short. A bitter, billowing, wandering fog of the unforgiving departed. The swarm, as it was known to some, was the combined form of centuries worth of tormented lost souls. A ghoul, some called it. The devil’s shroud, others came to refer to it as. The truth was, it was nameless, for it no longer had an identity. It had long lost the individual personalities and consciousnesses that formed it. In death, it had amassed power and substance through the lingering shards of agony and was now a wild thing, a contorted bastardisation of death.

It lingered in the graveyard, flitting from stone to crumbling stone, as it had done since the day of its genesis. A conception out of corruption, a birth out of death. The mist held its unholy dominion over the sinking monuments, and like a foul guardian it kept the living at bay.

The eldritch presence was enough to render its rotting lands silent to any and all curious feet. No longer were bouquets left resting against marble and sandstone, no tributes to the loved and the lost. No one came around the old grounds anymore, such was the infamy of the swarm and such was its power. It pressed those who dared tread upon the damp undergrowth to leave quickly and never return. It was cold, electric and stern. It commanded and was always obeyed. The settling of its negative energy on one’s shoulders was as effective as a shove through the old iron gates.

These days, its dominion was desolate and overgrown. Empty and decaying, like the coffins that rested beneath its soil. An empty world, abandoned and grey, patrolled from time to time by the strange fog when the conditions were right. A bleak resting place, governed forever by the meandering shadows snaking its gnarled trees and ancient stones.

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