Horla Fiction (November 2020)

 

THROUGH THE TREES, BEHIND THE CHURCH

by KRISTIN CLEAVELAND

HEY, there you are!

Guess what I found! I’ll show you.

Come on, please?

It’s not that far, really. Follow me, it’s this way.

What, don’t you trust me? That’s kind of rude. I thought you were nicer than that.

Great. You won’t regret it.

Listen. Don’t you love the way the leaves crunch?

No, I don’t think it’s that cold. You’ll be fine. You’re not a wimp, are you?

It’s this way. Through the trees up ahead.

So, how are you and Jason? No, I’m not mad. I mean, I was. A little. But it’s cool. You two are great together. I’m happy for you.

Come on, we’re getting close. It isn’t that dark yet. No, I’m not going to tell you what it is! It’s a surprise.

Wow, listen to that wind. Sounds almost like someone crying.

No, don’t go! It’s not that much farther, I promise. I’ll give you a hint. It’s behind the church.

You guessed it! Yeah, it’s in the cemetery. What, are you scared? Big surprise. You’ve always been a spoiled little princess, haven’t you?

Hey, don’t be mad! I’m just kidding. Can’t you take a joke?

Come on, we’re almost there. Don’t turn back now. It’s pretty dark. That’s why I brought a flashlight. You can use the one on your phone. You have your phone, right?

You can’t find it? That’s weird. I’m sure it’s around here somewhere. Yeah, I’ll help you look. Right after I show you what I found – are you OK?

You twisted your ankle? You must have tripped over that grave marker. Wow, that’s probably bad luck. Maybe you’re cursed now.

I’m just kidding! Stop being so sensitive.

It hurts that bad? Well, we can’t stop now. Keep moving.

Anyway, how’s Jason? It’s been almost a year, right? Wow. It’s too bad you don’t have your phone so you can call him. He’s probably wondering where you are. He might be worried.

Then again, he might not be.

I’m just saying, maybe he’s got other plans. Maybe he’s out with somebody else. But he probably wouldn’t do that, not to you. I’m sure you’re really special.

Are you seriously crying? God, you are so lame. No, you can’t use my phone.

No, you can’t hold the flashlight. It’s probably too heavy for you, anyway. Because you’re a little bitch, aren’t you? You’re just a whiny little lying bitch.

Oh, I’m being mean? You know what else is mean? Stealing someone’s boyfriend. Don’t act like you didn’t know we were together. Everybody knew. Everyone thought we were perfect for each other.

Until you came along.

Well, it’s true, isn’t it?

Come on, just a little farther.

I don’t care if it hurts. Hurry up. Move!

God, stop crying! I cried too, you know. When I found those pictures on Jason’s phone. Or did you think I hadn’t seen those?

They didn’t even look good. You’re disgusting. I don’t know what he sees in you.

Maybe he just likes sluts. Girls who will get naked for anyone. That’s probably it.

There it is! We’re here, just like I promised.

It wasn’t that far, was it? See, I told you.

When I found this, I thought of you right away.

It’s perfect, isn’t it?

Just your size.

No, I didn’t dig it. I don’t know why it’s empty.

Maybe someone changed their mind.

Maybe they ran out of money for the burial.

Maybe it’s been waiting here just for you.

Someone might come tomorrow and fill it in. Maybe they’ll notice you first, and tell somebody. That would be lucky for you. At least your mom would know where your bones are.

But maybe no one will come. Maybe they forgot all about it.

Turn around. Look at it!

Go ahead, scream and cry. Everyone will think it’s just the wind.

Oh, you got a text! Yeah, your phone’s in my pocket. I’ve had it the whole time.

I wonder if it was Jason.

Maybe later I’ll text him back, see if he wants to go for a late-night walk in the cemetery.

That’s romantic, right?

Maybe there’s enough room in there for two.

You’d like that, wouldn’t you? You and Jason together forever. That’s what you always wanted, right?

Oh, are you praying? That’s cute.

I pray sometimes.

Sometimes prayers don’t get answered, though.

Do you think God will answer yours?

Let’s find out.

 

 

***

Kristin Cleaveland lives in Ohio, USA, and is a reader and writer of horror. She has a Master’s degree in English and has worked as a writer, editor, proofreader, and educator. Her debut short story, “Lilith, My Daughter,” appeared in the July issue of Black Telephone magazine. Kristin also contributes horror satire and reviews for HauntedMTL.com. 

Title photo credit –  bmarcel on Unsplash

Horla standard disclaimer – image has no direct connection with the fiction