The Cemetery Tradition
“And you, Halloween, day of death, day of horror, day of the devil, your day is so insignificant that people call upon your NIGHT to have their lives twisted, their lives deformed, to relish in their own torment. You can give me no spite, no hate, no judgment, for I simply feed you your soaked, red, bread, which replenishes your fantasies of a crooked reality, and while I art simply one of many, to strike down, to put down, a donor of life, or more appropriately death, would leave your hunger unquenched, for only my unique thick red wine soaked bread can keep your drying tongue tasting.”
Every Halloween night, three mobian friends would meet at the Cemetery Menacaust, a name meaning “restlessness”. It was appropriate for their actions, and what began their tradition.
They were eleven when they first met on that night, and decided to return every year. On the fifth year one brought another friend along to the meeting. The sixth a new friend arrived, and this was the sixth year.
They arrived one after the other. The light from the flashlights helped them find each other very quickly. There was first a skeleton, then a couch, two people piloting it, followed by a completely black-suited person, from head to toe. The fifth was not in sight, but would be over time. They removed their masks.
“That’s original, Nolan.” Said the first couch member to the skeleton.
Nolan, the first, was a black cat, with silver hair, and dark, crimson, eyes. It was his idea to meet at the Cemetery, and had been there a year prior before meeting the others. He was a very imaginative young boy, and very interested in all abnormal topics. However while he did have interest, he never let it drive him to becoming a Goth, of Wicked, or Satanist, or the many other titles he and others had thought up. He did however love the Holiday feeling, and the frights and stories.
“Hey, I was a mirror-covered light-up thing last year, I can be whatever I want this time, Mara. ‘Sides, it’s scarier than a couch.”
“Point taken.” Mara, a lizard, though unfortunately tailless, with green eyes, smooth shining dark blue scales, and a large history with Nolan personally, lived in the same apartment building as he did, and yet went to a different school. And once in High School they still went to different schools. They knew each other through the Neighborhood, and were neither rivals nor an item. Mara loved pranking, and crafts, a somewhat dangerous combination. She was somewhat introvert, but so were the others aside from the one in the black.
“HEEEEEEEEERE’S MARTY!” Said the other side of the couch, as he pulled himself out of the costume. Marty, a tall, yet quite skinny male mongoose, brown, with darker brown hair, and yellow eyes, was very much into sports, and had seen a very large amount of horror movies, though not all. He refused to watch anything that was not mystery-related, as he felt those had much less intelligence put in. He often mentioned this to make himself seem smarter. He was smart, but only averagely so, and a Basket-Ball player who is also a genius did not seem to mix.
“Can we sit on that couch?” The male under the black mask asked, his voiced muffled a bit. This was River. He was an echidna, pale blue, with green eyes, who had to tie his quills up to make them fit in the costume, and was not particularly interesting aside from being very good at hiding and being still. He played video games often, and would quote lines from them, but that was all. He was friends with Marty, leading to many clownish adventures, and also knew Mara to an extent, but only briefly.
“You gonna take that off yet?” Nolan asked while brushing his fur back from its mangled bunches, to say nothing of his hair, which he deeply disliked having ruined.
“… Fine.” River pulled yanked off his masks, and tore off the string holding his spines against his back and his neck, allowing them to breathe, which showed few bruise marks on them. He gazed around, focusing his eyes still from the darkened imagery he had to deal with under his mask. “Wasn’t there a fifth person coming here? Mara’s cousin?”
“Yeah she got here early.” Mara informed as she tugged her clothing straight, as the back of her long shirt was curled, as were her sleeves. “You’ll see her at some point, believe me.”
“That sounds… kind of foreshadowy.”
“Isn’t that the point?” Nolan retorted.
“I mean like in a spooky way.” River replied stressfully, “Is she a goth or something?”
“No but she ain’t normal.” Mara replied with a half chuckle. Nolan rolled his eyes at the “aint” a pet peeve of his. “She’s kind of like, absent-minded. She just drifts about and does whatever. Nothing bores her.”
“She’s a hybrid too. I remember that.” Marty added as he set the couch down and walked around the cemetery graves. “Of what exactly again?”
“Bat, Fox, and Lizard.” Mara listed.
“… With or wit-“
“How’d she turn out like that.”
A sighing voice answered, “My parents… they were a fox and a lizzy, and my Dad was a Bat-Fox.” It came from on top of a large Gravestone, flat on the top. She was on top of it, with a pillow under her head. She definitely was dressed like a goth, with make up all black, white, purple, and red. No wings as noted, though she did have bat-like ears. Her muzzle was furry and very pale, fading into her grey sleek fur, that turned to scaly red arms and legs. She had a black skirt, a black top, and chain jewelry on, with what looked like over twelve piercings on her arms, eyes, and ears. She also seemed a bit… short.
“You said she wasn’t a goth.” River said, walking over to the cousin, as did the others.
“I’m not.” She replied crossly as she slid down, now leaning against the side of the stone, apparently still tired. “It’s my costume. I don’t like piercings, they hurt. These are clip-ons.” She opened her rather bright yellow eyes to face him. “So what do we do here?”
“Normally we tell stories. We pick a random grave, read off of it, and think up a tale of how they died and who they haunt.” She looked over her a bit, “How old are you?”
“Fifteen, why? Do I have to be older?”
“Who’s goin first?” Mara interrupted.
“The person with the best story from last time does.” Nolan informed. “That was… me.”
“You always win. It’s my turn.” Mara challenged.
“Fine, fine, go ahead.”
“Alright let’s see…” She walked around past the others and into the darkness. The others waited patiently until she would return.
“So…” Nolan said to the cousin, “What’s your name?”
“Meredith.” She replied. “I like doing pretty much everything; I can sleep anywhere, and whatever you do don’t call me Mary.”
“Noted. So, Meredith, what made you decide to come here this year?”
“I always come here at Halloween.” She strolled about, brushing off dust from a tombstone, “It’s not because of relatives… well mostly. I have a relative who’s buried here, but it was mostly the environment, and the starry sky, that dragged me in.” She moved around till she faced Nolan again, “I found out about you guys going here all the time and I couldn’t believe I didn’t notice it before. Then I couldn’t believe I missed five years of opportunity to talk about ghost stories at Midnight! I mean, can you get any more festive?”
“Well we could draw some kind of circle on the ground with a star in the middle and chant ‘Aww eeee ooooo Lucky Chaaarms’ or something.” Marty joked before collapsing on his couch costume, relaxing his arms behind his head as a brace.
They chuckled meekly, all except River, who winced instead. “Can we not talk about that one?” He asked seriously, “Demonic stuff grosses me out.”
“We’re not actually going to do it, Riv.” Nolan assured while rolling his eyes and shaking his head in teasing.
“You’ve got very pretty hair. Can I pet your fur?” Meredith asked, obviously not paying attention. She was talking to Nolan it seemed.
Nolan reacted appropriately; his eyes widened, and he stepped back slightly, “Uh- wait, you what?”
“Your fur looks really shiny, do you brush it a lot?” She rubbed part of his arm. He jerked a way a bit.
“Ha ha,” Marty laughed, “yep he grooms himself a lot actually. Mister perfection just loves to look good.”
“Can it, will ya?” Nolan sneered, though clearly embarrassed, which mixed in with his awkward feeling from Meredith, who tries to grab his arm again. “Could you please not!?” He said sternly, yanking his arm away.
“Well I normally would,” She replied, unaffected by the raised tone, “but you’re like… REALLY REALLY soft. Like… unnaturally so. I like you hair.”
Nolan did not really know how he wanted to react, but awkwardly replied “… thanks…?”
“GRIMM BLOODED DEATH OF THE HALLOWS!!!” A popeye-like voice yelled from behind them, followed by something grabbing Nolan’s shoulders.
The Feline actually ripped part of his shirt with the speed he used to charge forward from the grasp of the person. Everyone else fell to the floor laughing, though River actually was frightened himself, and quickly pretended to have noticed that it was Mara who surprised Nolan.
When Nolan heard the laughing he turned, only to slip and scrape himself on a tombstone’s side, leaving a faint cut on his leg, which was unnoticeable under his pants. He gave off a hissing scream from the injury, then another when he saw Mara, “YOU- …” He sighed and walked back over. “Good one… now I’m going to get you back for that.”
“In a year’s time.” She smirked. “I got my story ready.” She brightened.
“Yahoo, let’s hear it!” Marty cheered.
“Yes yes, gather around my children.” She added a Dracula voice as she motioned for them to huddle as she sat down. They grinned and sat down, with River rolling his eyes.
She cleared her throat and began, “Grivim Melcore was a sociable man, very friendly with the public, but too much for his own good. He was very attractive, and fairly rich as well, and though he meant no harm, a subconscious flirt.”
“One day, Grivim met a beautiful young lady, only three years younger than he, who had applied at his company. She was instantly drawn to him, but he had only business on his mind. She was hired, and did very well, to the point where she became a manager of one of his chains in mere weeks. So as a gift, he asked Mele’Sara if sh-“
“Who’s Mele’Sara?” River asked, squinting slightly.
“The girl in the story!” She frowned with a slight sneer.
“You didn’t mention that.”
“… Oh.” She winced in embarrassment, “Well a-anyway,” She cleared her throat again, “he asked her if she wanted to celebrate by going to a Diner. She agreed. She attempted to coax romance from him, but he was caught so off guard that his shock sent her into tears. She left, and never was she heard of… until…”
“Weeks later a second girl met him, her name was Mele’Kee. Grivim was taken back by the first part of her name, but said nothing. She wanted a job. He granted it, oblivious to how similar she looked to Mele’Sara. Almost in the identical fashion, she excelled at her job, and slowly attempted to coax romantic feelings from Grivem, just as Mele’Sara did. He was surprised once again, but this time simply said that he did not know her well enough yet. Once again she left and was not found… until…”
“A THIRD girl, the very next day, of the name Mele’Tri, approached Grivim, and attempted to sway him instantly. As soon as he found out her name he took her aside and asked her ‘Who are you? Who are you and those others who keep coming up to me? Are you sisters?’ She began screaming right then and there, but no one could hear her, or see her, only Grivim.”
“He tried to calm her, but soon she began to turn to a blood red, and the other two, Sara, and Tee, walked over to him, and grabbed him by the shoulders.”
“You see, these girls had all died at their weddings, and their souls were restless, and would not return to the underworld without a man to go with them. So they were granted different amounts of time each to find a suitor and make him fall in love with them. But they could not.”
“They were all blood red now,” She grinned deviously, looking over her friend’s expressions, “and their nails dug into Grivim. If they could not have a whole man, they would each take back a piece… and they did. All that was left of Grivim was his heart, still beating, sometimes quicker than other times. Some think that every time it beats faster, it’s his soul running, trying to get away from the brides Mele, then it slows when they latch on and drrrrrrrrag him BACK!”
Marty and River were wide-eyed, Nolan was expressionless, and Meredith was- “That was great!!” She clapped.
“Thank you thank you.” Mara grinned, getting back up, while examining and buffing her fingernails, “I do have quite a talent.”
“And what do the judges say?” Nolan asked, out of his state. He looked at River and Marty’s faces for answers to his question. River stammered slightly before silencing and holding up eight fingers.
Marty held up six. Mara was taken back by this low amount. “You were scared speechless! What’s the Six for!?” She demanded.
“The creep part only happened at the end.” He noted. “It was good, but the build-up took too long.”
“Oh yeah? What about you, Nolan?” She snapped to face the feline, who jerked wide-eyed by the question.
“W-well he’s sort of right, but I’d give it a… seven point five.” He replied after a short thought.
“Do I grade it too?” Meredith asked optimistically.
“She’s her cou-“
“Yes.” Nolan interrupted, smiling to Meredith for her to answer.
“I think… it gets an eight.” She tapped her fingers across her chin, “So who goes next?” She got up excitedly.
“Well first,” Mara began, “we go to the person’s grave that the story’s based on. Just tradition; and we leave a candle behind.” She looked about her allies, “Who brought them this time.”
“They’re in my bag, hold on.” Marty walked over next to the couch where his candy-filled pouch sat. He began digging through for candles.
Nolan looked next to him and noticed the couch, which gave him the thought ‘What are we going to do with that?’. “Um…” He pointed at the couch, “are we carrying that too?”
“I think so.” Mara walked over to the couch. “Who wants to carry it with me?” She grabbed an end.
“Can’t you just put the costume back on?” River asked.
“I can’t see too well in front of me with it on.” She informed. “I’d trip over a grave an’ kill myself.”
River sighed and walked over, lifting the other end just as she lifted her own. “Thaaaank you.” She said in tune as they slowly carried the couch forward while Marty was finishing up lighting the candle. He soon followed, as did Nolan and Meredith.
Nolan walked at Meredith’s side, and since it would be a short while till they arrived he asked “Do you have any nicknames?”
Meredith did not respond at first, as she did not know that he was referring to her. When she realized no one had answered the question, she asked while quickly facing him, “What was the question?”
“Do you have any nicknames?” He repeated.
“Oh… nah.” She replied, turning back to their front as they continued walking through the cemetery, which went by a few trees that caught their eyes. “I have a full name, so why disrespect it?”
“Alright.” He replied with a shrug, “Sounds legit. Do you live with Mara?”
“You’re in her building, wouldn’t you know if I was?” She giggled mockingly, yet playfully.
“I guess so.” He chuckled back.
“I’m from Cascro. About a thirty mile drive, not too lon- hey it’s the grave!” She sped over to the gravestone. It was large and made of limestone rock, with carefully chipped words reading Grivim’s name, his dates, and of course, RIP, with an added “Loving Husband.” At the bottom.
“That’s what gave you the romance idea, wasn’t it?” River guessed with a smirk.
“Eyup.” Mara replied as they sat down the couch. Nolan sat down in a large *PLOP*, sending small blasts of air from the cushions. “Alright so who’s going next?”
“I’ll go.” River raised his hand briefly, and walked off before anyone could say no.
“Bu-“ Marty stopped himself, sighed, and sat on the couch as well.
“Do you guys want to trade candy?” Meredith asked.
“We could.” Nolan answered, “This might be our last Trick or Treating year so we might as well enjoy the candy as best we can.”
“Why is this your last year? You’re sixteen right?”
“Well that doesn’t sound too young. TWENTY sounds about the right age to me.” She suggested as Marty dumped out his treats and began categorizing them.
“Maybe,” Nolan shrugged. “Did you get anything good?”
“Nah, I don’t trick or treat too often.” She replied shaking her head with a half squint of her left eye. “I spend too much time just running around the cemeteries.”
“When was the last time you trick or treated?” Marty questioned.
“Two years ago I think.” She looked over his treats with him. “What’you get, Nolan?” She looked up at him.
“A lot.” He sat down his bucket, making a small thump on the grass.
“You know she’s gonna ask for you to share.” Mara stated.
“Oh yeah, forgot that part.” Meredith cleared her throat, cupped her hands and asked “Pleaaaaaaaaaaase?”
Marty and Nolan both shoved a section of their spoils to her. “You too.” Nolan said to Mara.
“Uh… sorry bu-HEY!” Meredith was currently stealing from Mara’s bucket, with a mouthful of kit-kats.
“I PLEA THE FIFF!” She muffled out in between chomps, ducking away with handfuls of candy as Mara tried to grab her away.
“I’m ready guys.” River called out as he walked back. He saw the candy, and Meredith with her very stuffed cheeks. He began laughing, “Somebody take a picture of that face.”
Meredith rolled her eyes at him, but it remained hilarious still. She quickly swallowed what was in her mouth and said “What’s your story?”
“Alright,” He sat down, as did the others, with Mara still grabbing at her candy from the reluctant Meredith. Nolan moved between them eventually to calm things down. “Carl Mansoni lived in a large suburban area, near the downtown. He was walking home one day when he saw a man and a woman being attacked by a group of robbers.”
His first instinct was to call the police, but they had seen him, and it wasn’t long before a gun was pointed at his head. He dropped the phone instantly to the ground. The attacker motioned his gun to the side, and told Carl to keep walking. The Husband and Wife yelled for him to help them but he kept walking.”
“Two gunshots went off. Carl flipped around and darted to where they were. The husband was dead and the attackers were gone. ‘You did nothing…’ the Widow said. She repeated this over and over, then screamed at him ‘CURSE YOU! CURSE YOU WITH EVERY SIN THIS CITY HAS TO OFFER! CURSE YOU!!!’ Carl tried to help, but the Widow attacked him. He jerked away and ran off.”
“Days passed and he could not get the images out of his head, the faces, and of course the sounds. He was walking down his street, when he suddenly felt a great abundance of hatred stir up in him. He passed to the next house, and this hatred was replaced with lust, followed by envy, and finally laziness. With every house he passed a new impurity filled him. He tried to shake it but could not.”
“He went to bed one night, and awoke sore. He walked out of his house and saw that one of his friends’ houses was blackened… burned, it had been on fire. He asked them what had happened, and they said it happened in the night.”
“After a day of long stressful unloading and helping with the house repairs, Carl went to bed, and awoke the next day even more sore. His sister called him in tears, her Fiancé had been murdered. He could not believe it. He drove over to her, and comforted her, vowing that he would find the culprit.”
“He spent that day talking with the police and doing anything he could to help with the investigation. He was tired, and fell asleep at the station. The next morning, even more sore, he read in the newspaper that two cemetery graves had been defiled, with the corpses inside missing, and putrid words scraped onto them in place of their names. A record showed that these graves… were his parents’.”
“He began to piece it all together, every day he awoke sore, and these were all happening to people he cared about… he must have been doing it. He considered running, but realized that that would only do more harm. He decided that he would tell know one what he had discovered except for his sister.”
“His sister did not believe him of course, but thankfully he never told her of what he was going to do next. At midnight, he found a train trestle, high up, and jumped, killing himself. And watching him, then walking up to where he jumped from, was the woman whose husband died because of his cowardice. It was she who had done the dirty deeds, all in the name of judgment.”
“Wait, wait, wait.” Marty interrupted, “Why’d she go after Marty instead of the guys who killed her husband? Sure-“
“You just said Marty instead of Carl.” Nolan pointed out.
Marty peered, thinking it over “I did?” Nolan nodded. “Okay weird, as I was saying, Sure CARL just left her there but I’d think she’d be madder at the murderers than the coward.”
“She was angry that he did nothing, which is just as bad as attacking.” River stated with an air of annoyance.
“Great.” He sighed, relaxing his arms as they flopped downward as he slouched over a bit. “So what, this is a five or four now?”
“I think it’s a six!” Meredith proclaimed with a smile. River did not smile back. He simply sighed again.
“Same.” Said the other three in unison.
“That hurts.” He straightened up. “It couldn’t be that bad, what was wrong with it?”
“It wasn’t very scary.” Mara noted. “Sorry, it was good as a sort of… er… mystery, but it was more plottwist than ‘OH MY GOODNESS, THAT’S SCARY!’ jump scare.”
“Is that how you all feel?”
“Well…” Nolan began, hinting to confirming this suspicion.
“I think it was good. Not scary, but it was interesting.” Meredith said, attempting to support him again.”
“Just forget it…” He mumbled, “Who’s next?”
“OH NO!” Mara clutched her head. “I left the rest of my stuff at the last grave!” She groaned in annoyance and got up from the grass, brushing off her pants. “I’ll be right back.” She ran off.
“I… guess I’ll go find my grave now.” Marty dashed off.
“Yo- W- UGH!” Nolan gave up. “We didn’t even decide if it was his turn.”
“Can’t stop it now I guess.” River shrugged. He went back to sorting his candy. He looked over and saw Meredith inching towards Mara’s candy. He started to ward her off, but decided not to, for the humor of it, but then he realized, if Mara’s things were here, why was she going back?
“Did she bring anything else?” He asked.
“Huh?” Nolan inquired, turning to face them, as he had been enjoying the night sky prior.
“Mara’s stuff’s here, so what did she think she left?”
“Her… purse maybe?” Nolan shrugged. Meredith kept silent while thinking she was sneakily stealing candy. She stuck her hand inside and *snat!*
“YAHA!” She yanked out her hand to reveal a snake-like… thing dangling from her wrist. The two boys leapt back at the site of the freakish creature.
“GET IT OFF HE-“ Before either of them acted, Meredith yanked the creature off leaving two holes in her hand, with dark blue rings around them, the scales on her hands cracked apart.
“That… h… hurt.” She passed out.
River was almost directly next to Meredith so he was able to catch her, and quickly checked her pulse. “She’s alive.” He turned to Nolan, “does venom work that quickly!?”
“How should I know!? And what was a… wait where’s the snake!?” They both jumped onto the couch, pulling Meredith up with them. They saw nothing on the ground, flashlight-light and all.
“It must have slithered off…” Nolan stated, coaxing an annoyed look from River who would say “No kidding” but was too upset and worried to.
“MARTY!! MARA!!!” He yelled as he got up. He grabbed his flashlight and began to run off, “I’ll find Marty you find Mara!” And he was out of sight, before Nolan could yell “WAIT! WHAT ABOUT MEREDITH!”
At this point Nolan would have found it odd that there were three people with M’s for first letters of their names, but that not the topic at hand, and he had more pressing matters. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed for the police.
“Hello this is Nolan Arnsol, a friend of mine was bitten by some sort of non-anthro snake creature. She passed out instantly and there are blue marks on where she was bitten.”
“The Menacaust Cemetery, do you want me to get to the entrance? Three other of my friends just split up before I could stop them.”
“Just st-“ This time it was not Nolan who interrupted the reply, but Meredith’s bitten hand, that reached out and shut it.
As soon as the hand was in Nolan’s eyesight his feet pulled him to the opposite side of the couch. He watched her motionless body, waiting for any other form of movement… none came. “M… maybe her hand just… fell on the phone?” He knew that wasn’t what had happened, but he was hoping none the less.
The police would be there, and he needed to find the others, or get to the entrance. But what about Meredith? What was in that venom, that bite? His heart sped up, and his nerves got the better of him, with his ears twitching in all directions, catching the small sounds around him; the grass shifting, leaves swaying… and a crinkling sound from the dirt. Someone was near.
The owner of these steps slowly made her way to Nolan until she was close enough to where he, and his flashlight five feet from him on the ground, waited. He was relieved when he saw Mara’s face.
“Mara, Meredith was bitten!” He jumped up from the couch and walked towards her, “I called the poli-“ Mara walked past him and grabbed the flashlight.
“Mara we have to get th-“ *click* The light went off. Nolan was in total darkness.
He heard no movement. He saw no images. He did however turn around and run. He kept his hands at his front, feeling for every grave he could to avoid tripping, which was extremely difficult, and caused him to slow down many times. He had no idea what was happening, but right now Mara and Meredith was acting strange, and he did not want them following him. How close were they? He could not tell.
Despite his efforts to stay upright, he did eventually slam into a gravestone, scraping his legs, and causing him to land on the cement next to it, side-head first. He was knocked out.
While he was knocked out, he had a hard time telling the difference. It was still dark, and terrifying. Images of Mara’s story, a man being torn apart by blood hungry brides, repeatedly filled his subconscious eyes. He screamed in his sleep, yelling for them to stop. He could feel his own limbs stretching, detaching, ripping… and then, only then, he woke up.
He still saw nothing… at first, it was annoyingly blurry, with grey, yellow, and… something blue. “NOLAN WAKE UP!” He heard from the blue… he cleared up enough to distinguish it was River.
Nolan got up slowly, with River helping up as he went. His head throbbed, like a heart beating thirty times a second. “Easy…” River warned as he pulled him to his feet. “Are you feeling alright?”
Nolan was fuzzy and still could only hear muffled sounds, though still understandable. He eventually pieced together the recent memories, and remembered Mara and Meredith. Upon this, he took hold of River’s shoulders, in such stress that he actually hurt River with the pressure. “The girls! They’re-“
River shoved him off, “Calm down! That hur- what about the girls?”
“They just…” Nolan sat on the grave, wiping cold sweat from his forehead, “They… they were- Meredith got bitten and then-“
“I was there when she got bit, what else!?”
“I’M TRYING TO TELL YOU!!” He yelled back, tensing to strangle River for interrupting so many times. “After she got bitten I tried calling the cops, but then she just… closed my phone. Then Mara walked over, didn’t say a word to me, and turned off all the lights. I ran off.”
“Why’d you run off!?” River demanded, “She’s probably dying!”
“Because they were acting freaky! I couldn’t get Mara to say ANYTHING, she acted all zombie-like, no emotion or anything. Didn’t you find it weird that she went back for her stuff, the stuff she had already?”
River was silent so Nolan continued, “I don’t know what’s happening, but whatever it is, we have to find Marty, and get to the cops. Then we can find the girls.”
“Shouldn’t we go to the cops first? Better chance with them than with Marty.”
“By that time they’ll have gotten to him!” He rose from the gravestone seat.
“We don’t know that, we don’t even know if the girls are actually in trouble, except for Meredith. Maybe Mara just tripped on the flashlight and it turned off. She was probably trying to help Meredith. We yelled for her, so she probably just ignored you so that she could get to Meredith quicker.”
“That do-… m-maybe…” Nolan calmed a bit, taking deep breaths and lowering his head. He considered what River had said. It certainly did not seem like Mara was simply too focused on Meredith, but it was possible.
“Let’s just go back and see, alright? I’m sure they’re fine, unless they’re out already.”
Nolan was hesitant. He was not one to imagine things, and they could be going into a trap… but he had to admit that his side of things sounded less likely, and if River was right, Meredith could be dying.
“Okay…” He slowly followed River back, still battling a massive headache, and stinging sores on his legs. River’s flashlight was a comfort compared to the darkness Nolan had been travelling through. He half expected to see something jump out at them, such as another snake-creature, but nothing came at them.
“Look, see there they are.” River waved to Mara and Meredith. Mara waved back, while Meredith was still unconscious. Nolan turned his shoulder a bit, ready to run for it if- No… this was Mara, he knew her for years. There was nothing wrong.
“Where did you go!?” She yelled angrily at Nolan as they neared fist-punching distance. She was wrapping up Meredith’s hand in leather from the couch.
“The couch…” River groaned, his voice cracking as he noticed the damage.
“I just… I though- never mind,” Nolan sighed, “is Meredith alright?”
“No idea, she hasn’t moved at all.” Mara still looked cross at Nolan. “Now where did you go!?”
River noticed how guilty and nervous Nolan looked, his ears drooped over and his ashamed frown, keeping his eyes at the floor. He decided to help his bud. “He was trying to find Marty to get his help and tripped in the dark. He knocked himself out.”
Mara stayed tense for a few seconds more before she subsided, “Okay, well… get over here and help me with this. Did you call anyone?”
“The police,” Nolan answered as he neared Meredith to check on her condition, “though I don’t know how long ago, seeing how I was knocked out…” He squinted over the memory of the painful impact, which made his headache worse, “It was right before you ran up, how long has it been since that?”
“Ten minutes.” She replied, looking down at Meredith. She looked fine aside from the bite. Then they heard a groan.
“She’s awake.” River smiled in relief. Meredith’s eyes gradually opened, and widened immensely when she saw Mara and the boys starring over her. She let out a deafening scream and uppercut Mara in the face.
Mara bit into her tongue, and stumbled over to her side, recovering from the injury. River and Nolan jerked away in surprise. “Meredith calm down it-“ Meredith was not listening. She jumped off the couch and began dashing off further into the cemetery.
“MEREDITH, WATI!!” Nolan ran once again, this time however he was running after someone. But just like the last time, he had no flashlight, and even worse, he did not have time to cautiously spread his arms about, and he had no idea where Meredith was except for the sound of grass crunching. Even this could not aid him much as it conflicted with the sound of the grass he was crunching on.
His head throbbed more, having to put up with the bumpy run, while his feet simultaneously disapproved of the rapid movement, punishing Nolan for straining them. He barely dodged a tree as it came into view and was losing energy quickly in between running, jumping, dodging, and yelling for Meredith. He ran out of energy and stumbled to his knees.
He was panting heavily. What was that for? Why did she run? Maybe… maybe it was the same situation that happened to him with Mara. He recalled that Meredith hit Mara and ran off. When he ran from Mara it was because she had been… acting strangely.
Was this Mara’s fault? How? And where was Marty? … Maybe… maybe she already got to him, maybe he was dead. Meredith was terrified, and she ran no matter how much they called out… and now River was alone with Mara. Nolan ran back as soon as he had gotten his breath back.
The black cat realized that if Mara was part of something strange, that if he just charged in like a stampede, she would know he was there and act normal. He would have to make sure he was not seen… if Mara was responsible.
Unfortunately he did trip on what felt like a root as he passed by a tree. His ankle down was jabbed underneath and something cut into his leg. He bit his bottom lip, muffling his inward scream as much as he could. He tried to wriggle out, but it simply made whatever was in his foot sting more. So he yanked. His foot scraped against the ground and the poking thing. He yanked again, freeing himself.
Now that he could, Nolan took hold of his foot, feeling for blood. He had a few scratches and there was a small amount of blood pouring from where he was poked and cut. It did not feel very deep, but regardless he decided to bandage it with a torn piece of his outfit’s sleeve.
It burned him with each new step, and as he took each step he became weaker and weaker. Mara and River were back there, Meredith was running away, Marty was missing, he had to find someone.
He became so tired that his vision began blurring, though thankfully not as badly as when he was knocked out. He lost the feeling in his limbs almost entirely, and barely noticed when he dropped to all fours.
16:55, October 15, 2016 (UTC)Trisell Chronos
“Where is he!? He shouldn’t have ran off!” Mara said angrily, stomping in a circular stressful worrying pace. River was sitting on the couch, looking more terrified and sorrowful than angry.
“Well it’s not like he can see out there.” He defended, starring in the direction that Nolan and Meredith ran. “I’m more worried about Meredith. What was in that bite?? She must have been hallucinating or something.”
Mara stopped and gave River a look of disbelief. “A fear toxin? I don’t think normal snakes have that.”
“When was the last time you saw a normal non-anthro snake?” He retorted.
“… I guess it’s possible.” She admitted, “But why was that thing here in the first place? If they were a native thing we would have known.”
“Let’s just hope that thing isn’t coming back.” River kept his feet off the ground. “How’s your jaw by the way?”
Mara sighed, rubbing her bruised chin, “It’s fine, but my tongue’s a pain.”
“I’m surprised it didn’t get cut off, let alone the fact that you can talk right now.”
“It’s not fun that’s for sure.” She went back to pacing,” UGH! Where is he!?”
River was puzzled, going through the events repeatedly. He noticed Mara’s bag and picked it up, searching through it. It was empty. “Stupid snake ate it all…” He grumbled.
“How can you think of eating your candy at a time like this!?” She glared with clenched fists straightened and pointed at the ground stiffly.
“I’m trying to figure out what happened with the snake in your bag!” He answered, shaking the bag upside down.
“That’s not mine, I forgot mine, I told you that, that’s why I went back.”
River stopped shaking the bag and looked to Mara stunned, then back at the bag. “Then… who-…” He tossed the bag away. “That’s not mine, Meredith didn’t bring a bag, and Nolan’s is next to his pile. If you’re sure you left yours behind…”
“Someone put that bag there… and the snak- There’s a zipper on the bag.” She noted, pointing to the tag.
“Meredith had to open it to get her hand in, and when she did she got bit.” River confirmed.
“Then…” She sat on a gravestone, “maybe that snake did cause some sort of… hallucination.”
16:55, October 15, 2016 (UTC)Trisell Chronos
Nolan had slowly regained his strength, though his vision was barely any better. He was walking again now. And he was getting closer to the flashlight’s glare. But… he did not see anyone there.
“Mara? River?” He walked over, and squinted with his eyes barely showing under his eyelids. He could make out the couch well enough, but there were no figures. He sat on the couch, “Where did they go?”
Suddenly he felt a hand touch his shoulder. He calmly looked over but saw no one, and soon the feeling on his shoulder departed. “What was…” He reached out, but felt nothing in front of him.
Then he felt something grab him at the shoulders, and yank him upward, off the couch, shaking him repeatedly. He heard a growling, like a snake’s his only with a purr-like vibration that was definitely growl. Some… invisible creature.
“Nolan!” River yelled with Nolan’s shoulders in his hands, desperation on his face, “Did you find Mara, what happened!?” Nolan kneed River in the stomach, and repeatedly clawed at him, until he let go. He flailed as if he did not know that River was not in front of him anymore.
“NOLAN WHAT ARE YOU DO-“ Mara yelled before River interrupted her, “GET THE BANDAGE OFF HIM! I’M GUESSING YOU’LL FIND A BITE ON HIS LEG!”
With Nolan looking and darting around the lit area frantically, without being able to see them, Mara easily was able to quickly shove him onto the ground, while the now bleeding River held his arms down. She yanked off the bandage, and sure enough, there was a deep bite mark underneath the sticky raw blood.
Nolan kicked Mara with his bit leg, which ended up rubbing the slimy blood onto the left side of her face, which caused the dirt that collided with her to stick and get into her eye. He felt one of his arms go free, though his kicking foot be pulled down. He reached over and clawed at what had his captured arm, and he was released.
He grabbed the flashlight and ran off, leaving the both of them, bleeding in the blackness.
‘I can’t see them in the light.’ Nolan thought to himself as he ran, this time while able to tell where he was going, and thus not tripping. ‘But I can’t see them in the dark either, my eyes aren’t that good.’ He panted as he went, his stamina nearing low from the repetitive marathons he was being forced to go through. ‘Why did they go after my leg? Were they… my blood… they were after the blood, that’s what they smelled!’ He saw a tree in the distance, ‘Let’s hope they can’t climb.’
Nolan scaled the tree with ease, even with a flashlight in his hand. It was simple enough for a normal person, but someone with the reflexes of a cat, like him, made it look simple enough for a baby to do. He continued into the tree, up and up, until he could not see through to the bottom anymore. “If I can’t see them down there, they can’t see me up here.” He mumbled as he looked over his leg, “but I have to do something about that or they’ll find me.”
He relaxed, allowing himself to regain some strength, and kept his ears open for any sounds. He almost drifted to sleep again, but that was something he simply could not allow himself to do. So he went over the events.
‘It felt like… two people.’ He thought, ‘Those creatures must have gotten River and Mara, or maybe they got bitten too and turned into those things! Maybe I’ll find Marty soon. And where are the police, I don’t hear any sirens!’
He climbed higher in the tree and looked over the dark area. He could see the exit, lit by lampposts, but nothing near it, no lights, no cars. He wanted to get Marty, Meredith, River, Mara, and get out, but he was not physically able to face whatever those creatures were that attacked him. ‘I can’t help here, I’ve got to get out and get help.’ He thought.
He slowly climbed down the tree carefully, as going down was much harder than up, especially with a flashlight, which he decided not to shine downward unless he wanted it to drop and break. When his injured leg pressed against the ground a small sore started up inside of it. ‘That’s going to get worse the longer I put pressure on it.’ He turned on the flashlight and started walking towards the direction of the exit.
16:55, October 15, 2016 (UTC)~~
“How are you feeling?” River asked Mara while he carefully wiped off the blood from her face, doing his best not to bother her eye. Mara twitched uncomfortably, and had been gagging repeatedly from the disgusting stinking red liquid on her face, not to mention the dirt stuck in her eye that kept it watering for five whole minutes until it was rubbed out by River.
“That was… gross…” She answered hesitantly. River had been using his mask to wipe the blood, keeping it wet with a water bottle they had brought along. He had finished getting all the blood off that he could, but Mara decided to rub her face in the couch fabric anyway, out of nerves if nothing else.
“Thanks…” She said, muffled with her face in the cushion.
“No problem…” River sighed and wrung out his mask, “We have to get out of here. I don’t want to leave the others behind, but Nolan’s lost it, Meredith’s probably gone the same way, Marty… “
“Yeah…” She got her face out of the cushion, “The cops will fix things up when they get here, then they’ll fix it.”
River almost called her out for repeating herself, but he understood why she was talking like this; she was nervous, so was he. And if they got bitten too, whatever happened to Nolan and Meredith, and maybe even Marty, would happen to them.
“Do we bring the couch?” She asked?”
“It would slow us down too much.” He said, looking over the seat, “But we could leave a message on it maybe if Marty or the others come back.”
“With what? I don’t have any pens with me, do you?”
“We could use the candy maybe?”
“Maybe… but what should we say?”
16:55, October 15, 2016 (UTC)~~
“Hellooooooooo- There it is!” Marty yelled as he shined his flashlight at the couch which he dashed over to. “Sorry I took so long, my flashlight co-“ He was close enough now to see that no one was in sight. He made an irritated angered frown, “Oh come on! It’s not my fault I got lost, you guys didn’t have to just up and leave!”
He noticed the candy laid on the ground, writing out a message. It read “Left, sorry, not safe, Riv, Mar”
“Riv, Mar?” He read aloud, “What about Meredith and Nolan?” He looked in all directions, shining his light about. He yelled out his friend’s names repeatedly, but received no reply. “Ugh…” He sat on the couch. “Not safe… This has got to be a prank… Y’know what, they can have their prank, I’ll just leave.” He got up, grabbed his bag, his flashlight and… stopped when he heard quick footsteps coming towards him.
He smirked, “Thought that would drag you guys out.” He shined the light in the direction of the footsteps. It was Meredith walking towards him. As soon as the light hit her she ducked behind a tree; he could hear her panting heavily… almost nervously.
“Meredith I saw you.” He informed with an eye-roll. “you’re not fooling anyone. Come out of there, where’s everyone else hiding?” All he heard was… whimpering?
“Meredith what’s wrong?” He walked towards her. She went to the other side of the tree out of his line of sight. He sighed and went to that side. She dashed around behind him and kicked him in the back.
He fell downward to the ground, bracing himself with now stinging hands. He turned around and tried to get up, but Meredith grabbed hold of his arms and pushed him on his back. The light was faint, but he could make out her face. She was… pale, very pale, with her eyes glazed and completely grey, like her pupils had rolled back. She was shaking as well.
Marty had no idea what happened to her, but he knew he did not like it. “GET OFF ME!!” He squirmed.
16:55, October 15, 2016 (UTC)~~
Nolan was close to the exit now. “Almost there.” He said under his breath. No matter how much he told himself this he just got more and more on edge. When he reached the lampposts at the gate, he comforted a short moment… and then he had to turn around.
He could see into the darkness, and he heard the sounds of at least two monsters coming towards him, snarling, hissing, and growling. He could not wait forever. It was not his imagination, they were getting closer. He turned off his flashlight, which barely provided any light to counter the lamppost in the first place.
The gate was opened, he and his friends saw to that, it was his only escape. So he began to run out. Then the growling came from in front. “It’s a trick!” He yelled He kept going, telling himself over and over that it was just a trick by the real monster, but then he saw that it was no trick. He could see them now.
They were bony, blood-dripping creatures, wide and short, with large fat legs, and web-like strings holding them together. They stopped in front of him, and opened their eyes, blasting out dozens of blinding red lights.
Nolan was too afraid to move away, so he watched as the creatures began to spew out long appendages, sticking and tearing from them, and growing legs of their own, while still being attached with slimy puss-like string to their masters. They were coming towards him.
Nolan found that his ability to move had returned to him, and he took advantage of it, but he did not feel the urge to run away, so he ran towards the creatures, and tackled on to the ground. It’s jello-like face exploded as it hit the ground, revealing multiple tiny leg-like parts on it’ face, screaming at Nolan.
Nolan knew the others would attack; he jumped off the creature, kicked its face in, and cut off its connector to the larger creature it came from. The other seven monsters stormed down at him, so he dashed away, leading them into the cemetery. ‘I don’t think they’re the same monsters as the invisible, ones, so they’ll kill each other.’ He thought.
One of the creatures was gaining on him, he could hear its wheezing, blood-thirsty, drooling noise as it got closer, reaching out at him. Nolan halted and rammed his right shoulder into the creature’s chest, making it scream a very undesirable sound of pain as it fell backward.
This gave another creature a chance to grab his arm and tackle him to the ground. He could not move, it was too powerful. He could see small strings slowly come out of the creature’s front, nearing his body. Was this how they ate their prey?
The creature screamed and retracted its string, falling to the side. Something had hit it, but there were others still surrounding him. They were briefly distracted by whatever attacked them, giving Nolan a very brief window of opportunity to escape them.
He turned himself around and dashed into the dark forest. The creatures noticed him and chased once again. His eyes had adjusted to the dark well from the previous experiences, and he could see the gravestones in front of him much easier, allowing him to maneuver quickly around and over them.
The creatures chasing him he could hear tripping and slowing, but still on his tail. Then again he heard one scream in pain. He turned around briefly and noticed that it was being beaten with a ripped-off limb of its own until it collapsed on the ground dead.
It was one of the invisible creatures, but Nolan was not sure it was helping him, or simply hunting. Four of the monsters went towards the corpse, attacking the air, or trying to attack the creature, with two about to go after him again.
The feline quickly turned behind a tombstone, and kept as still as possible. They shined lights from their hands and began to charge in his direction, but passed him by. They must have thought he was further in. They were gone, but now he was trapped between them, the invisible creature, and the monsters that were attacking it.
He looked over the tombstone, trying to get a good look at the darkly-lit fight. The sound of scuffling made his imagination fill in the gaps. They looked like they were holding the air… in the air. They had brought down the creature. ‘That thing saved me…’ He thought. He had to help it.
At his left there was another tree hidden in the darkness. He crawled over to it, climbed up, and positioned himself above the monsters. He made sure he was in the position of attack, then jumped down and slammed his fists on two of their heads, knocking them out, and dropping (or at least he thought they dropped) the invisible creature.
He tumbled backward on the ground, his hands stinging from the hit. He did not open his fists in fear of surging pain following, but he did pull himself up. The monster was screaming in the distance… was he calling the others back?
Nolan was going to attack the monster while his head was turned slightly, but apparently the invisible creature had done that already. The monster was pushed back a bit, but remained standing and grabbed hold of the invisible creature’s arm by the look of how his grasp was curved.
The monster knelt over, as if hit in the groin, and toppled over to the ground, still making its terrible sounds known, and spewing out white, red, and brown gooey liquid from its insides. Nolan saw no movement around after that… but then he saw a large rock being lifted from the ground nearby… and brought above the monster’s head… it dropped.
16:55, October 15, 2016 (UTC)~~
River and Mara heard the screaming, and saw the police’s flashlights, dashing towards them. “WE’RE OVER HERE!!” Mara yelled, waving her arms as she and River slowed down.
The police officers were unsure if they should trust these teenagers, as the last two were not as friendly. They brought out their guns, pointing them at River and Mara’s feet. “Are you hostiles?” One officer demanded, though the question did not seem like a smart one even if they were hostile.
“You… found Nolan, didn’t you…” Mara groaned, realizing what the fighting noises were now.
“Your friend I’m assuming?” The officer asked as they both lowered their weapons and placed them back in their holsters.
“Y-yes… We were all telling stories, and Meredith reached into a Halloween bag and got bit by some kind of… snake thing. She passed out, then when she woke up she ran off. Nolan went after her, and when he came back he was acting really weird, like he couldn’t see us.”
“When we tried to talk to him, he freaked out, and flailed around!” River continued, “We had him pinned for a second then found out that he had a bite on his leg.”
The officers turned to each other, then back at Mara and River, “Where did this take place?”
It was a good thing that the officers had flashlights as Mara’s was damaged, and River did not have one. They reached the couch area and found Marty’s dead corpse laying on the ground. His neck was bruised, he had been strangled, but there were also bite marks all over him… deep ones. They weren’t snake fang marks though… these were done by a person. But he was in fact, dead.
One of the officers checked for a pulse just to make sure, while the other simply stated “This one yours too?”
Mara stepped backwards, turning to vomit and cry at the same time. River stood still, though his eyes began to water, “… Marty…” He answered weakly, his voice cracking. “Nolan… or Meredith- he must’ve come back and…”
“A snake did all this?” The officer inquired. River nodded slowly. The other officer walked away a bit and began talking into his walkie talkie.
“What do we do now?” River asked, doing his best to hold himself together until after they had an objective.
“More officers will be here shortly. We should get back to the entrance.”
“What about Marty?”
The officer walked over and placed Marty on the couch. He grabbed an end and began lifting it. River walked over to help, but the second officer stopped him, “I’ll do it.” He offered. River nodded and went over to see if Mara was alright. She obviously was not.
Mara was on the ground holding her knees, rocking back and forth next to a pile of fresh vomit. Her eyes were red with tears, and she did not seem to react to River walking towards her. “We’re carrying him back.” He informed. “We’ll…” He had to take a breath before finishing “get out as soon as we can and…” Mara nodded, and shakily got up.
“Yeah I know.” River replied with a sigh.
Mara looked at him strangely, “Yeah y-you know?”
“… You just said monsters, I thou-“
“MONSTERS!” It came from behind them. They turned around. The heads of the officers were beneath the couch, and Nolan and Meredith were in front of them, both with pale grey eyes, pale skin, scales, and fur, and bruises from their fights. They were walking towards Mara and River.
Mara turned from her shaken state to rage. “Get… BACK!!” She kicked at them, accidentally kicking her own vomit in Nolan’s face. He hissed at her, clawing to get it off, and cutting himself in the process. Meredith took this as an attack, which it was, and leapt at Mara.
Mara moved to the side, and River shoved Meredith down, but Nolan jumped him, and pulled his leg up, before biting down on his knee. River yelled and bashed away at Nolan’s head, but he would not budge, like a leach sucking out blood he would not budge.
Mara yelled, a battle cry most-likely, cupping her fists together and whamming the side of Nolan’s head, ripping his teeth out of River’s knee… and Nolan’s mouth. Nolan tumbled to the side of the floor.
Meredith jumped onto Mara’s back and… well River’s head was turned but he could hear the snap… Mara’s neck. What he screamed sounded something like a no, though it was mixed with multiple emotions that changed its audio strangely. He grabbed Meredith’s head and threw her over him, then slammed her backside onto the ground.
Nolan was recovering from the injury, his mouth gushing blood, and looked over Meredith and River’s fight… then he looked over at the police… and their guns.
Meredith was stunned for the moment, so River grabbed her by the arm and prepared to throw her again. He had lifted her into the air, but tripped on Mara’s arm. The bullet missed him… and hit Meredith in the middle of her neck.
Nolan did not stop shooting though, and while River wanted nothing more than revenge, he knew he would die if he did not take this advantage. He ran into the darkness.
The monster was fleeing; good. Nolan walked over and could now see Meredith… somehow. And he saw the bite marks that the strange monster that had been throwing her like a pillow had left on her neck. She was dead now.
Nolan collapsed, not caring about the acid that was shot in his face, or his teeth gone… Meredith was dead, Marty was dead, his other friends were most likely killed. He could not take this, his mind could not take this. He was dizzy… so he sat on the couch, with his head in his hands, crying.
16:55, October 15, 2016 (UTC)~~
It took two miles of running before River was convinced that he was safely away. He was in the middle of the road though, not too far from the town, but too tired to run again. He dialed for his parents. “Dad…” He said in a weak cracking voice, “I need you to come to the cemetery right now…”
Five Hours Later…
“We go to the cemetery every year to tell each other stories, it’s a tradition.” River explained to the Chief of police in the interrogation room. He was cleaned up a bit, with water in front of him, and soup, though he had not touched it. He was not sick, but he was not well.
“And when did things start to get strange?” The Chief asked.
“Well…” He began, forcing himself to clear his throat so that he could speak clearly, “Mara thought she had left her things back at our first stop and went back for them. And while she was gone Meredith tried to steal candy from what she thought was Mara’s bag. She got bit by a snake instead. She passed out, Nolan called for Marty and Mara to come back-“
“Where was Marty?”
“It was his turn to tell a story. We take time alone to think, find a name to use, than we come back… a-…” He took a long deep breath, “A…anyway…” He cleared his throat again, “after Meredith was bitten, she passed out so we laid her on the couch. Nolan called the polic- you guys... Mara came back and accidentally tripped on a flashlight, making it turn off. Nolan freaked out and ran off, thinking that she was possessed or something.”
“Did she hurt anyone?”
“Okay okay… What happened next?”
“Nolan… got himself knocked out when he tripped, and I found him. I brought him back, and we waited for Meredith to wake up… she did then she ran off. Nolan ran after her. Then a while later he comes back, and acts like he can’t see us. We saw his outfit was torn and his ankle was bandaged so we got it off, and he had a bite too. Then… well he got away.” He took a sip of the water, hands shaking. “Mara and I eventually decided that we should leave, and we started to, but then we ran into two cops… they had gotten into a fight with Nolan and Meredith somehow and found us, so we went back to the couch for… I wish we hadn’t… and then we saw Marty’s body… after that, they killed the cops, and Mara… died” his eyes poured with tears when he said that name, “and… I ran off.”
The Chief waited for him to settle down again. The next thing he said was “We didn’t find any traces of what you’ve described… We believe you… but it…”
16:55, October 15, 2016 (UTC)~~
Three Hours Prior…
Nolan was still sitting, freezing to death now on the couch, the corpses around him beginning to rot… so quickly they rotted… then he noticed that they were rotting unnaturally quickly, and soon went from bodies, to bloody corpses, to… dust. He felt a hand on his shoulder, and looked over to see a long orange sleeve. “It’s alright…”