Prompt Day #310: Discover a “pattern” among the gravestones.
Man, I really love the idea of this story but it needs more time and attention. I am going to stop my inner editor/perfectionist/novelist from spending days on it though and move on. I have to. But trust me, you’ll see this one again someday as either a novella or even a novel. It deserves it, don’t you think? I had to trim it down to finish and not spend nearly the time I wanted. (Notice this one is 310 actually due last week but the research alone took up some time) and Nate keeps insisting there is more to this; he says he found something else in the rubbings he did, but I don’t have the time to look at them just yet. As for Alex and Mallory, they’re kinda pissed at me for the Family Ties connection which I honestly did not do consciously. It wasn’t until I reread that it hit me. But for now, that’re their names. Alex has volunteered for a name change in the future and Chloe was fine with that as long as I promised to change the name of the story title as well, and I think she has a good point.
We fancy ourselves a ghost investigation team. Amateurs yes, but we have aspirations. I put the group together and I am proud to say each member has his or her own niche. We have Nate, he is a college history professor and does all our research. My girlfriend Chloe is a gadget expert and my sister and I are twins who have a sensitivity to the paranormal.
Chloe had just purchased her first Go-Pro camera drone and had a great idea to fly it over the old graveyard while Mallory and I did a walk through. Nate was along of course to give us background on dates.
Stoney Point Graveyard had been around since the late 1600’s. Nate explained on the way that several victims of the Salem witch trials were among the first people buried there. Fascinating. Mallory and I were sure to pick up on something.
We arrived at dusk, which is the perfect time to set up and begin. One thing that we do differently than most investigation teams, is work in complete darkness. We chose not to startle the spirits with artificial lighting. They come out at night expecting to hide in the shadows, and we want them to be comfortable. Chloe’s Go-Pro had a night vision feature which we were excited to try. It would fly silently above the graveyard as Mallory and I investigated.
While there were no sightings that night, we experienced many strange sensations and energies. Mallory tends to pick up more on emotions and pain that the lingering dead may have gone through while I feel energies or the lack there of. I am a flesh and blood EMF detector. During our investigations, Nate stays with us, taking notes on any incident or encounter. He also notes exact location, surroundings, objects within sight at the time so that he can later research the history of that spot. With Chloe’s record, Nate’s background and my sister’s and my psychic interactions, we end up with a complete and detailed report. That is what makes us stand out in the field.
The night, as I said, was uneventful in the broad sense of the word. There were no ghosts to be seen, no attacks, and no possessions. Often times, I may feel a cold spot or what I call a black hole (which is an area completely devoid of energy as if a spirit has siphoned it all away in order to maintain its existence) and somewhere else Mallory will feel pain or fear related to some long ago event. What made the Stoney Point Graveyard so intriguing was that each sensation I had was coupled with a feeling Mallory experienced. This is a rare occurrence that may happen once during an entire investigation, but at Stoney Point, my sister and I were in synch no less than nine times and not once did one of us feel something when the other did not.
We spent the following week putting our findings together with Nate’s research and Chloe’s video. It was only then that we discovered something frightening but more importantly something that hasn’t quite finished with us.
“So, I made a graph of all the points in the graveyard where you and Mallory felt something.” Nate said obviously excited. He’d found something. “Here is a rough sketch of the cemetery. I drew every stone as a blank rectangle, I colored in the stones where you stopped. I numbered them and those numbers correspond to this report here.” He handed us each a folder. Nate’s “rough sketches” were neatly drafted on graph paper with ruler straight lines and perfectly proportioned geometric shapes. “The report starts with Mallory’s perceptions—ladies first” Nate winked at my sister. His geeky flirtations amused me. “followed by yours, Alex and then I added info from the gravestone itself: name, dates, and any inscription I could make out. I went back yesterday and make charcoal rubbings of each of them as well. You’ll find copies of those in the folder too.”
I flipped through the stack of information he’d provided. Nothing jumped out at me.
“At first, nothing seemed to be connected, the dates on the stones were all over the place. I was hoping for maybe every one of them dying on the same day or having the same birth date or something. I tried plugging them into some equations, anything to make sense of it. I mean your reactions were way too strong to be disregarded.” Nate said. Chloe sat patiently, letting Nate go on. Her own hands itching to present her findings. She’d already set up the laptop where she had downloaded her recordings. “It wasn’t until Chloe came to me with her video that we were able to put it all together.” He finally finished and sat back in his seat. This was some nonverbal cue he and Chloe must have worked out because she immediately sprang into action. Apparently this presentation had been rehearsed which meant they’d found something big. I leaned forward in my seat, anxious to see what my girl had discovered.
“So, as you know, while you two did your walk though, I flew the drone above you. The night vision camera on my drone uses thermal energy, so heat or energy given off by things makes them light up. It was the best option for our type of investigations. Anyways. When I viewed the video, I was shocked. Let me show you rather than tell you though.”
She hit the play button and I watched in utter disbelief as the camera glided above our heads. At first it just flew over the graveyard before heading to where Mallory and I stood about to begin our walk through. The amazing thing was, the stones we ultimately stopped in front of were already lit up as if waiting for us to arrive. They glowed with energy before we even got to them and when we did, the glow became so bright, it enveloped us. There was nothing but a tiny ball of sun each time we stopped.
“Amazing” I said eloquently. I had no words. I had never seen anything like it before.
“Yes. Truly.” Nate said, but he wasn’t looking at me, he was looking at Chloe with excited eyes. There was even more. I looked at my sister who had been unusually quiet. She had a faint tremble. And her face was pale, even her lips were drained of color. I put my hand on her shoulder and she jumped.
You ok, sis?” I whispered. She nodded and went immediately back to her trance. Nate stood back up.
“So, I went back to those stones, like I said. I did rubbings and noted all the dates. And I discovered something strange and unsettling. The first stone that made you stop was Elizabeth Osborne who may have been a relation to Sarah Osborne, one of the first to die in the Salem Witch Trials. The interesting thing is that she died on May 10, 1692—the same day Sarah Osborne died. This got me thinking, I went back to the death dates of every other stone that lit up. And I found some pretty interesting dates. April 12, 1861; the start of the Civil War, April 20, 1889: Hitler’s birth, April 15, 1912: the sinking of the Titanic, June 28, 1914: The death of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand and the instigating factor for World War I, May 6, 1937: the crash of the Hindenburg, January 28, 1986: the explosion of The Challenger, September 11, 2001: no need for explanation there, and finally August 29, 2005: Hurricane Katrina. All terrible tragedies that took lives. Many death dates condensed into a single stone, you know?” He was getting excited now, spittle flew from his mouth as I watched. I’m sure Mallory would find that sexy as hell. Poor guy, I had to feel bad for him. But all kidding aside, it was fascinating and had to mean something. “I went back to the names on the stones: Elizabeth Osborne, Ann Bishop, John Howe, Wilmot Good, Johanna Martin, Bridget Nurse, Samuel Wildes, Henry Burroughs, and Susannah Willard. All of the surnames are the same as those tried and executed as witches, except for Sarah Osborne who was one of the first accused and died in prison awaiting trial.” He stopped letting it all sink in.
“So what does all this mean?” I asked. “That these ghosts are evil? They want revenge? Are they witches descended from those who were killed?” There had to be more to it, something more we weren’t seeing yet. But I felt like we were on the right track.
“Well, there is definitely a lot of energy there” Chloe said “you and Mallory felt it, I recorded it and Nate found facts to back it up. These people who died on the days of great suffering are trying to tell us something.” She finished.
“Those people are sacrifices, that’s what they are. They were chosen as a sacrifice because of their names and were sacrificed as a means to cause these horrific events.” Mallory finally spoke. Her eyes still focused on something far away that only she could see.
“How do you know that Mal?” I asked her, but deep down, I knew she was right. I could feel it. She held up the graph paper that Nate had depicted the map of the graveyard, the dark rectangles marking the active graves. Mallory had connected them like one of those worksheets you would get in school as a child. Solve each riddle separately to connect the dots of the large puzzle. What she held was a pentagram sans the final bottom point. We all drew in a breath and held it. My God, she was right. And that meant, there was one more death, one more massive casualty to go before the picture was complete.