Monastic specters floated seamlessly between the leafless trees of the old forgotten cemetery. Round-eyed owls hooted from crooked branches while huge black crows swooped in and perched on weathered headstones. Sensing their imminent demise, the blind field mice scurried to and fro, frantically searching for safety. Alas, not fast enough for that one pathetic rodent chasing his own tail. The crow snatched him up and carried him off into the darkness. The weak and small have no rights in this most dreaded of places.
It wasn’t always this mist-enshrouded wind-swept graveyard; many years ago the cemetery was a pastoral spot surrounded by blossoming trees and shrubs. It was lovely and visitors would come by frequently to pay their respects and linger for a while on a nearby bench.
High on a hill above the cemetery stood the Old Dutch Church. The property was expansive with an outstanding view of the Hudson River. The focal point of the church was the belfry with Its majestic wrought iron weather vane that could be seen for miles.
One stormy night in late October while parishioners were awaiting services for the feast of All Hallows’, a giant thunderclap boomed, followed by an enormous lightning bolt which struck the weather vane. The lightning coursed its way down to the belfry, instantly setting it on fire. Within moments the entire church was engulfed in flames, imprisoning all inside. Horrified townsfolk who were still outside tried valiantly to save their friends, to no avail.
The wind blew sparks into the cemetery, setting the trees ablaze. The smoke was black, the air thick with an acrid stench. Those outside the church fell to their knees crying pitifully, covering their ears to block out the agonizing screams of the tortured. Finally, after what seemed an eternity in hell, the screams stopped and an eerie silence followed.
Suddenly what was left of the church came crashing down, leaving nothing but a mountain of ashes and the grotesque twisted remains of the once glorious weather vane.
Forty-seven souls perished that ghastly night. No bodies were found to be buried and the church was never rebuilt. Eventually people stopped coming to the cemetery. The only denizens there now are the interred – the owls, the crows, the blind field mice and the forty-seven specters seeking final rest.
The haunted wind is eerily unsettling this Halloween night … or is it the wind?
NAR © 2017