The following story originally appeared amongst my ghoulish offerings at the departed horror site MICROHORROR, but some tales won’t remain in the grave. Enjoy in time for Halloween!
The Cemetery Intruder
By W. P. Rigler
The old man grinned as he saw Rustin rambling toward his shack, shovel in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.
“Been expecting you,” Dalliard chuckled as he threw wide the dilapidated door and grasped the bottle. “Didn’t think you’d let Toper rest long.”
“Well he won’t be grieved. He lived his last years as a hermit, never seen venturing from his house. The maid just happened upon his cold body when seeking shelter from an afternoon storm last week.”
Rustin watched as Dalliard took a gulp of whisky, allowing a thin stream of the precious liquid to drip down his grey beard.
“To your liking then?” Rustin inquired.
Dalliard nodded. “Care to join me?”
“Must be about me work. Considering that wicked wind and the clouds, there must be a storm tonight.”
“And I suppose the fine doctor doesn’t like the bodies wet when delivered. How much will you be getting for Toper?”
“His due worth,” Rustin replied as he held out his hand. Dalliard offered a key, which Rustin took in exchange for two silver coins.
“Don’t forget to lock the gate and bring back the key.”
“I always do,” Rustin grumbled.
Dalliard watched Rustin walk toward the cemetery. He tightened his shabby collar to ward off the wind’s chill, but a mouthful of whiskey proved more effective. The rusted gate creaked shrilly as if sounding an alarm at the intruder’s entrance, but Dalliard only chuckled. Since becoming the cemetery’s keeper his greatest profit had been earned from his dealings with Rustin the ressurrectionist.
The thunder had begun before Dalliard finished the whiskey. As rain tapped against the roof, Dalliard went to the window and saw Rustin walking empty handed from the cemetery to the dirt road that twisted toward town. Dalliard rushed out, buttoning his coat. “What about returning my key, you clod!?”
Rustin gave no reply.
“What about the body?” Dalliard questioned as his pace quickened to gain on his rascal of a comrade.
Rustin walked on silently.
“Talk to me,” Dalliard muttered as he grabbed Rustin’s shoulder and spun him around. Rustin’s face was deathly pale and blood flowed from a gaping wound on his neck. As Dalliard stepped back, Rustin’s mouth opened with a loud hiss to reveal glistening yellow fangs. Dalliard let out a gasp as he stumbled backward with trembling legs, his old boots churning mud before turning to see another figure approaching through the rain.
“Lord in heaven!” Dalliard spat out at the sight of Toper, whose bloated face was covered with grime from his burial and Rustin’s blood from feasting. Rapidly Toper pounced upon Dalliard whose scream was drowned out by a thunder clap. Toper’s long claw like fingers tore at Dalliard’s warm flesh and worn clothes. Dalliard’s body thrashed about in the mud as fangs ripped into his neck.
Only once the body had grown still and Toper had drunk his fill did Rustin approach his wicked business partner. Kneeling, Rustin deeply inhaled the scent of blood before tasting it for himself. As the scarlet liquid filled his mouth and rushed down his throat, Rustin wondered what a fine doctor’s blood would taste like. Soon he would know.
© 2010 W.P. Rigler
W. P. Rigler’s Midnight Writings & Summoned Secrets available from lulu.com.
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