A Face at the Window
The buds of spring have turned to leaves. The roots are growing, pushing their way through the caskets of those who lie below. Roots mingle with bones.
A somber grave digger drips with sweat as he prepares a plot for the next day’s burial. His work finished for the day, he covers his labors with two sheets of old plywood so no wandering soul might fall into the pit after the graveyard gates have been closed for the night and the mighty oaks have bowed their heads in slumber.
Darkness descends upon that place occupied only by those who have no breath. The dark shadows move.
A dark figure appears at the window. The young woman looks in the mirror as she brushes her hair, then suddenly focuses on the reflection of a figure in her window. She shrieks. The clutter piled on the porch outside the window crashes.
The young woman’s father runs through her room, climbs out her window and pursues the figure across the lawn, across the street, through the small valley and into the unlit graveyard. He loses sight of the figure in the darkness and falls into a pit.
The young woman’s mother is at her side.
“What was the screaming all about? Where’s your father?”
“I hate living across the street from the graveyard. Daddy chased some guy looking in my window into the graveyard.”
“Did you get a good look at him?”
“No. All I saw was a dark figure outside my window. When I screamed he ran and knocked over the pile of stuff on the porch.”
“I wish your father hadn’t chased him into the graveyard. I’m calling the police.”
I Fell into an Open Grave
The old cruiser, red lights flashing, pulls around the graveyard gate and into the old section of the graveyard. A figure looms ahead on the edge of the road.
As the cruiser approachs the figure, the deputy jumps out.
“Hold it right there buddy.”
The figure stops dead in its tracks.
“Deputy. It’s me, Susan’s father. I was chasing some guy who was outside her window. I lost him here in the darkness.”
“Where did you last see him?”
“At the top of that little hill, not far from a fresh-dug grave. I fell in.”
“How did you get out?”
“A hand grabbed my ankle. Made me want to get out fast.”
“Let’s find that grave.”
Armed with powerful flashlights, try as they might, they can find no freshly-dug graves in that part of the graveyard.
The Rusty Knife
The deputy returns the father to his home, where his wife and daughter stand at the door.
“Deputy, please look at what we found on the porch outside my daughter’s window,” Susan’s mother says.
An enormous dirt-encrusted knife with a rusty blade lies on the porch, beneath Susan’s window, far apart from the junk scattered by the dark figure.
“Is that your knife?” asks the deputy.
“No sir, I’ve never seen that knife,” replies the father.
The deputy returns to his car and slowly pulls away from the house, unaware of a dark figure next to the preacher man’s house across the street, the little house next to the small valley that separates it from the graveyard. The figure peers into the window of the small house, but no one is there.
Simon Tucker or Samuel Thompson?
The next morning when the sun is up, the father returns to the graveyard and finds the spot where he is certain he had fallen into a freshly dug grave the previous night. There is no freshly-dug grave, only a gravestone marked “Simon Tucker. Born 1832. Died 1879.
The father walks through the graveyard and eventually finds the gravedigger in the far corner of the graveyard as he is removing the sheets of plywood from the grave he had dug the day before.
“Sorry to bother you buddy, but do you work here?”
“Yes, I’m one of the fellers who dig graves when needed.”
“Are there any other new graves, open graves?”
“Oh no. We haven’t had an interment in over two weeks, not ‘till this one.”
“When was the last time a grave was dug up on the knoll by the entrance gate, up in the old section?”
“A long time ago. That section filled up over a hundred years ago.”
“Yeah, I’m sure. Why do you ask? Did you see someone digging over there?”
“Oh, no, no, no. Just curious, I suppose. By the way, are you familiar with a gravestone up there marked Simon Tucker?”
“Is that supposed to be some sort of joke, mister?”
“Joke. No, it’s not a joke. Why do you ask?”
“That’s the name of the preacher who lives in that little house across from the graveyard. He ain’t dead yet. There’s no Tuckers in this here cemetery. Not yet, anyhow.”
The father walks back to the knoll. The grave marker is still there. It reads Samuel Thompson.
I’m sure it read Simon Tucker.
The father returns home.
“Dear, I scraped the dirt off that dirty old knife we found on the porch outside Susan’s window last night. It has the initials ST and the date 1879 carved on the handle. What do you suppose that means?”
“I have no idea. Maybe I’ll find out someday.”
The father sits down in his old rocker, mulling over the events of the previous night and that morning, thinking as he rocks.
What does this all mean?