Write, Edit, Publish (WEP) challenge for October 2020. WEP was started by Denise Covy, my Aussie friend. Anyone can join and post real-life stories, pictures, poems, or fictional stories. I’m in the last category. Co-host with Denise are Laura, Renee, Nila and Olga. Thank you, ladies.
This year the challenge for October is Grave Mistakes. While considering this, I struggled because the world seems upside down to me. Between politics (I’m an American), and the fires worldwide it’s a scary time and has affected me mentally and physically. My blood pressure is too high and I’m having trouble bringing it down.
So, I took inspiration from a Bible passage which I’ve never done before. I’ve included the passage after the story. Once I wrote my story, I realized it wasn’t very ghoulish, so I’m giving you a bonus story titled: Dark Shadows and Ghosts.
I hope you enjoy and as a reminder, every year on Halloween, I put up my two Halloween stories for free on Amazon. Also, you can check out other stories I’ve written in the ‘Pages’ above. Thanks for coming by.
Wayne Uptight stood on the 12th floor before his window peering out at New York City. He owned the office building and had converted the entire 12th floor into his home. The style he chose was classical Greek, with marble columns, floor, and walls. Replicas of various Greek gods were in abundance.
He turned aside and saw his wife, naked eating at the table. This didn’t surprise him. He required her to be naked whenever he was at home or he’d withdraw her million a year allowance.
“Going to work,” he said, entering his private elevator that took him to the 11th floor where his office was located. The style he had chosen there was dark, polished mahogany. His employees weren’t so fortunate, sitting in cubicles on the phone or on the computer talking with customers. There pay was a pittance of his own. The many factories he owned were all in third world countries were the workers were happy to take home a couple dollars a week. He sold every product he made for 5 times its cost. Life was good.
This day he made reservations at an upscale restaurant to meet one of his many mistresses. Despite the pandemic, this plush establishment reserved private tables for the rich, in separate rooms, free of any airborne illness. He often spent $1,000 or more per meal.
At the noon hour, he rode his personal elevator to the ground floor, and walked through the lobby noticing every out of place object, what everyone did in their offices and those who manned the security/information desk in the lobby. He had camera’s set up in his office so he could view it all if he wanted to, even private businesses that leased their space from him. If a business was unable to pay their extravagant rent, he had them evicted. He was fine during this health crisis; they should be too.
When he left the building, he noticed the homeless man sitting close to the door. He’d had the police remove him many times, but he always returned.
“Mr. Uptight, sir. Please can you give some change?”
Wayne Uptight walked past without a glance. No way would he give that loser money even though he had plenty of cash in his pocket. He slipped into his limousine and then placed a call to his office lobby desk.
“Yes sir, Mr. Uptight.”
“Get rid of that homeless man outside my building.”
“Yes sir, right away, sir.”
Uptight hung up.
* * *
Three days later, Uptight left his building at the noon hour once more. He stopped just past the door. The limousine wasn’t there, and the homeless man sat against his building.
“Please sir, Mr.---”
Uptight turned. “Shut up you sniveling beggar. I work for my money. You do the same.”
Screeching wheels roared from behind. Uptight turned just as an out of control car hit him and the impoverished man dead on. Glass shattered as the car sped into his building. He rose out of his body, staring down at his dismembered body and that of the homeless man too. When he lifted his eyes, the poor man hovered before him.
Angels appeared, surrounded the poor beggar, and took him into the light filled tunnel.
Wayne frowned. No angels came for him. Hadn’t he given plenty of money to his church? Then as he reflected upon that, two black shapes appeared on either side of him and one before him.
That one said, “Who’s the loser now?”
Wayne screamed as the demons pushed him all the way to hell.
Word Count: 601
19“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
And of course, we all know that Jesus rose from the dead, and there are many who don’t believe in him or that he did, in fact, rise from the dead.
Larry grinned. “Double dare ya.”
“So, let me get this straight. You’re going to give me $100 to spend Halloween night in a graveyard?” Alex asked.
Larry laughed. “Yeah, you won’t be able to and then I’ll get $100.”
Alex smiled. “You’re on.”
A week later, Alex packed his sleeping bag and drove to Hollows Grove Cemetery. They never locked the gate there and entrance would be easy. The cemetery was a couple miles from everywhere.
He parked his VW Bug off to the side and hid it from the street. No cop would make him leave if they couldn’t see the car and he wanted that $100.
The cemetery itself was quite large and had a section of war dead. Some graves went as far back as the American Revolutionary War. But he didn’t head in that direction. His grandparents were buried here, and he headed toward their graves which were close to three mausoleums.
Once there he stood before his grandparents and said, “I’m spending the night to be close to both of you. I miss you so much.”
There was no response. He didn’t expect one.
Between his grandparents graves and the mausoleums was a grassy knoll. No one was buried there. He laid out his sleeping bag, sat cross legged before it and pulled out his smart phone. Now he’d document with pictures that he was in the cemetery so Larry couldn’t dispute it later.
He watched the sun set between bare trees and heard a few birds fly off. Without a second thought he returned to his phone and documented the sunset before heading into Facebook and posting pictures of his night at a cemetery.
Now it was dark. Really dark, so he used his phone as a flashlight. Removing all but his underwear, he folded the clothes, unzipped the sleeping bag, and got in. Snuggled securely within, he had a marvelous view of the night sky and smiled at the beauty. This was the easiest $100 of his life. He took a picture of himself in the bag and then several more around the dark cemetery. Without checking the photos, he put the phone in the bag with him and fell asleep.
A noise woke him. He frowned and looked around. A creepy sensation rose along his spine and then he saw them. Black shapes, moving from tree to tree and coming closer. A creaking door made him look toward the mausoleums. All three doors were open a crack and lights were on.
“Larry,” he yelled. “It won’t work.”
There was no response. He rolled over and shut his eyes.
Someone whispered close to his ear, but he couldn’t make it out. He sat up. The black shapes were close. One spread along the ground and then a dozen or more where all around him. Red eyes, monstrous expressions, sharp teeth.
“I’m here to make some money.” His voice calm but his heart was thudding.
They began to touch him. Ice cold fingers and claws that broke his skin. He unzipped the bag and stood in the chilled night air Now the shapes started screaming. They ran right through him. He shivered; his body so cold made colder by whatever these things were. He peed and had to remove his boxers. Now naked, the creatures came toward him and put icy fingers on his private.
He started rolling up the sleeping bag and then had second thoughts. He’d been double dared, and he wasn’t giving up even though his fear roared in his ear.
“Leave my grandson alone!”
A familiar voice. He turned and saw his grandparents, all white standing between him and the black shapes. Grandma had a cross and she held it out.
“Leave our grandson alone,” his grandpa repeated.
The dark shapes screeched at the cross fleeing. The lights in the mausoleums went out and the doors slammed shut. When they had gone his grandma stepped closer.
“You’d better take the cross dear. And for heaven’s sake, put on some underwear.”
Larry reached out his hand. The effervesce of the cross vanished as soon as it passed from her spirit to his mortal body and he held substance in his hand.
His grandfather joined her side. “Whatever possessed you to come here and spend the night?”
“And on Halloween night?” Grandma added.
“A $100 bet.”
“You never could turn down a bet.” Grandpa said.
“Now Alex, dear, do something with your life. You only get one you know.”
He nodded. “I know, it was stupid, but I’d do it all again just to see both of you and to talk to you.”
“You’re a good lad,” Grandpa said.
“We can’t stay any longer,” Grandma said.
“We love you son.”
Grandma nodded, and then they turned together and holding hands went back to their graves where they slipped below the ground.
As soon as they were gone, the screeching started, and he saw the first of many black shapes. He held up the cross. “I’ve got the cross. You can all get lost.”
He climbed back into the sleeping bag, kept the cross around his neck and fell asleep.
The morning light woke him. Had it been a dream? No, he had the cross and nearly every exposed place on his body was scratched, and those scratches burned.
He dressed, rolled up the sleeping bag and kept the cross around his neck. He remembered that grandma had been buried with her favorite cross and now he had it.
He found Larry at his job, Jack’s Hardware Store.
“Dude,” Larry said. “Your hair is white.”
Alex ran a hand through his locks and then presented Larry with the pictures in the smartphone. As Larry scrolled through, his mouth opened, and he stepped back.
“See the last pic.? Those are my grandparents. It was great to talk to them again.”
Word count: 961