Archie Collins sat inside the cabin, reading the latest issue of Varney the Vampire, while slurping a cup of cocoa. The night was young and the wind sounded a little soft. Archie’s eyes were engrossed by the pages of this pamphlet, and feeling rather tense. There was no wood in the fireplace and here it was freezing. To resist the cold air, he refused to take off his coat, flatcap and fingerless gloves. The quiet wind suggested he was alone tonight. It was his first month, and he needed this unwanted job, as times were extremely hard for him. Friday was always his favourite day – payday – where he would rush off to his local inn. Sunday evening, he would be broke.
After he’d finished his third cup, it didn’t take long before his insides were as cold as outside. Archie demanded to himself that it was time to go on his usual round. While I’m out, I’ll try and scout for some wood for the fireplace.
He stepped out, locking the door, and scoured the cemetery grounds with his guiding oil lamp lantern. The dominating light shined on hundreds of headstones, tombs and crypts. Archie began to feel lost, as always, after wandering for over ten minutes. But it seemed to be a lot longer. A large graveyard, it was, and reports of resurrection-men lurking about for bodies to plunder was the main reason why his job existed.
The only sound he heard was his own crunching footfalls, treading on the fallen leaves. All seemed to be quiet, and the wind continued to die. Lots of trees stood uneven, as Archie passed them. He kept remembering to brandish his knife, expecting an ambush from the trees. His employer insisted he should check the site, every two hours, but Archie would come out only once during the night.
Ding, ding, ding! His heart froze at this sound. His movement stopped too, but his mind screamed, someone’s alive!
He chased after the chiming sound, as it rang and rang, yelling for attention! Strange shapes formed out of trees and headstones, during his pursuit. Then, he stopped at the uncanny sound, huffing and puffing, and faced – a freshly buried grave.
Archie was about to race back for a shovel, when another…
…ding, ding, ding! And another…and another. More and more safety coffins ringing their bells.
But his mind was instantly crippled with confusion and uncertainty, he had no idea what to do.
Now, every single burial tolled to be unearthed.
Jason D. Brawn is the author of horror novelettes Stranded and Refuge, as well as having short stories, poems and film reviews published in anthologies, magazines and ezines. He holds a degree in Film and Media from Birkbeck College, University of London and has appeared in the Hammer Horror webserial, Beyond the Rave. He resides in London and enjoys cinema, theatre, listening to obscure music, art, travelling and reading for inspiration.
His website is http://jasonbrawn.weebly.com/index.html