Saintless

What follows is a chilling and scary tale, set in the ruins of the All Saints Church in my village. The setting and photos you will discover are all from that very spooky place. Enjoy this creepy tale my friends.

The ruined tower of the All Saint's Church being eaten by vines

The ruined tower of the All Saint’s Church.

Saintless

The 31st of October always comes with creepy little orange faces appearing in gardens. Bodiless creatures that glow with flickering light as the cool, misty night descends over the country. Yes, Jack-o-lanterns smiling over a wickedly fun night. For one village the fun ended when the music stopped at eleven o’clock. 

“Sorry, ladies and gentleman. We’ve had a power cut. It likely won’t be restored this evening. So, I’m afraid; this is the end of our party,” announced landlord David by candlelight. Boos, moans, and groans rang out setting the bat-shaped streamers billowing about his head but there was nothing to be done. 

“Aw, that’s not fair. We were having such fun, and midnight is approaching, too.” Emmy pouted and let out a groan having stepped out into the front beer garden. She looked every bit the vampire in her long leather boots, black trousers and leather and lace blouse. All beneath her long black and purple velvet coat. She’d whitened her face and framed it with her black hair, pulled straight.  

“Yeah, it’s a bummer. Tell you what; we’ll go to my place to finish the night. We’ll have a horror film and popcorn,” Riley suggested. He stood like a phantom, wearing his white tuxedo shirt, midnight blue trousers and matching cape. He smoothed a hand over his slicked-back cedar-brown hair and smiled. His warm brown eyes were only for the other girl in the group. They’d been just good friends before tonight. During a dance at the party, he realised he wanted more than friendship. She’d dazzled him in a spider web inspired dress that hung to her mid-thigh. Accessorising with cute suede ankle boots with little red spiders, and matching lace bows to hold her plaited ponytail, she was the cutest girl at the party.  

Lauren returned a bashful look. “I like that idea,”

“Nah, we aren’t doin’ that. I got a better plan.” Jared said. The Sudanese fellow looked strong for a zombie. He’d made his dreadlocks look wild and adorned himself in torn and bloody looking jeans and a gore-splattered white shirt that bulged with his sizeable biceps. 

“What then?” Emmy stopped beneath a carpark street lamp, the light catching the rolling mist. “Let’s go before we run out of night to enjoy.” 

“Remember that church we researched, Riley?” Jared’s face took on an excited expression.

“That derelict All Saint’s one? Sure, what of it?” 

“Yeah, that one. It’s just up the road, there. Let’s get goin’ an’ check it out.” 

“Are you crazy?” Lauren put herself close to Riley. “It’s nearing midnight on Halloween; it’ll be dangerous and scary too.” 

 “I reckon it’d be cool.” Emmy put out her fangs and hissed like a cat. “I’m game for some real-life horror, anyway.”

“You would be.” Lauren rolled her eyes making Riley grin at her. Everybody knew Emmy was a lover of all things scary.

“I reckon, we might even have a go at findin’ the gold.”  Jared looked to Lauren she shook her head with a fearful cringe. “We found an old note that states a bar of gold is hidden up there. It apparently lies under a gravestone marked with a stag. Didn’t we, Riley?” 

“We did. It’d be fun to go and search for it.” 

“Yeah, let’s go. Come on, Lauren.” Emmy started forward with all enthusiasm. 

Lauren didn’t move. “No! it’s too bloody dangerous.”

“Chicken, It’ll be fun,” Jared urged.

“I don’t care. It’s stupid and I’m not going.” Lauren folded her arms while giving Riley a hopeful look.

“Wimp, come on.” Emmy prodded. 

“Leave her alone, guys.” Riley saw Lauren growing a little upset. “I promise to look after you if you come with us. There’s no pressure though. I’ll happily take you home if you prefer.” 

 Lauren looked across the car park toward her home while teasing her ponytail with a shaking hand. Returning her blue-eyed gaze to Riley, she took a breath. “You promise?” 

“Of course.” Riley gave a disarming smile. 

“Okay.” Lauren sighed. “Let’s go.”

“Yay! I’m proud of you.” Emmy gave her a squeeze. 

Jared beamed at her too, “Atta girl.” He clambered through a paddock fence into the pitch-dark field beyond and helped Emmy through. “We’ll go this way, it’s quicker,” he explained.  

“And spookier,” Lauren remarked while allowing Riley to help her into the field.

By the light of their mobile phones, the friends walked across the unkempt grassy field. With the moon hiding behind a veil of misty trees, natural visibility was down to almost nothing. 

“What do we know about this All Saint’s church?” Emmy asked. 

“Riley an’ I used it in our history assignment. We know it was built around 1066AD and demolished when it became too costly to maintain the crumbling structure.” Jared led across to the far boundary fence and slipped through that on to Church Road. “That left just the tumbledown tower an’ a little mortuary chapel for those still honourin’ the dead interred within the hallowed grounds.”

“It’s so sad that it was left to crumble away,” Lauren remarked once she was stood on the road. There were no streetlights so the ominous enshrouding darkness brought no comfort to her fraying nerves. 

“It is a shame. This way guys.” With no pavement along this stretch of the road, Jared set off, keeping to the wild and weedy grass verge. Emmy put herself right behind him for safety. Lauren initially stayed with her but within a few yards gravitated back to Riley’s side. It was him she felt safest with. 

Riley took her hand in his and grinned when she let him hold it. “We discovered the note scrawled into the margin of an old bible; rumoured to have been used in the church in the seventeen-hundreds. It mentioned that a Sir H Staggard had been interred within the cemetery on a cold autumn day. His widow placed one of his gold bars beneath his headstone to see him well in the next life; The vicar vowed to protect it and kept an eye on the stone adorned with a grand stag carving.”

“That’s an amazing story. Do you think it’s still waiting to be found?” Lauren said.

“If the vicar who wrote the note didn’t retrieve it, there’s a good chance. We know the bible hasn’t been read in decades by the dust it was covered in when we found it.” Jared held his light to his face highlighting a devious expression. “We still have it too. So, it won’t be read again until we’ve done our investigating, either.”  

“And what better night to investigate a church but All Hallows Eve.” Emmy spun on her friends with a murderous glare and her fangs bared. She let out a blood-curdling shriek that made Lauren squeal, then cackled with laughter. 

“Emmy! I’ll slap you if you do that again.” Lauren warned in a breathy voice betraying her pounding heart.  

“Sorry, I couldn’t resist.” Emmy smiled at her friends. Her phone’s light fell upon Lauren’s hand entwined in Riley’s. “What’s this, you two?” 

Riley looked to Lauren; she was blushing but a sparkle in her eye was all he needed to know her true feelings. “When we danced at the party, I realised that my feelings for Lauren were more than friendship allows. I realised I love her,” he revealed.

“Good show, mate.” Jared shook his hand.

“Lauren, do you love him too?” Emmy asked.

“I do,” Lauren gave Riley a little peck on the lips and giggled as he kissed back. 

“Well congrats, guys.” Emmy sprang forward, pulling them both into a hug. “So, now we have to enact a romantic couple’s massacre at the church, as well,” she added in a deep evil voice.  

“Aw, shut up, Emmy.” Lauren grimaced but chuckled as she set off ahead with Riley again. In the blackness of the night, it was like walking along a tunnel. She felt as if eyes were watching her from the bushes, but could detect no movement. The fox slinking across the farm track did little to calm her. Not far along the road, an owl screeched as it flew overhead on its soundless wings. It was so sudden and shrill, that it caused her to flinch against Riley.

“Hey, relax. It’s just a tawny owl. We’re fine.” He gave her shoulders a comforting squeeze as another large entryway appeared out of the gloom on the left. 

“Oh look. This is the Bluebell Wood Cemetery.”  Emmy read the large oak wood sign. “Is the church in there?”

“Nah, It’s a little further ahead. That’s just a modern, natural burial ground.” Jared continued on passed the entrance. 

“Natural? Aren’t all burials natural?” Lauren looked to Riley for answers. 

“In some ways, yes. In there though, they don’t use coffins. They just put bodies between the roots of trees then nature does the rest.” 

“That’s neat, Riley. I mean allowing the beetles, maggots and centipedes to crawl in and eat the flesh. They return the body the soil so it can make the trees healthy,” Emmy said with far too much fervour for anyone’s liking. “Have you ever seen maggot munching on a corp—

“Emmy, that’s gross! Please, don’t say any more.” Lauren screwed up her face and shuddered. “You’re mentally disturbed, you know that?”  

“I know.” Emmy grinned as headlights appeared ahead. Reflecting upon the moisture in the mist, the fog beams gave the car a spectral quality as it motored past at a slow speed.

“Okay, let’s keep walkin’, guys. We’re almost there.” Jared pointed ahead and picked up his speed. The lust for adventure was capturing him now he was drawing close to the church. 

Then the four friends were stood on the boundary of All Saints church. A farm track ran off to the left into the field that surrounded the overgrown and wooded churchyard. All that separated them from the yard was the earthen boundary and a line of ancient linden trees.  Shrouded in swirling mist their gnarled limbs held a demonic visage.

“Wow, this place is so dark and creepy and we aren’t even in there yet. I love it,” Emmy remarked while flaring out her long coat as she looked about her. 

“Hmm, I’m starting to think this is a bad idea.” Riley approached the old, rusted turnstile gate. It was wide open, hanging off its bottom hinge and half-grown into the brambles. His phone-light picked out a dead crow at the bottom of the post. “Even the damned birds, don’t survive around here.”

“Nah, it probably got hit by a car, mate. Let’s get in there an’ start hunting for the gravestone.” Jared gave him a friendly punch on the shoulder and stepped through the trees into the graveyard with Emmy right beside him. 

Lauren sighed and shook her head. “Ugh, this is awful.” 

“I know. Come on. Let’s get this done with.” Riley led her in. The front half of the property was a badly maintained field of sorts. Just in from the remains of the gate, a few rows of gravestones ran from the road toward the back of the field. 

Cross in the front graveyard. This plot is still in use as the new churchyard is to low on the water table to be used for interments.
Cross in the front graveyard. This plot is still in use as the new churchyard is to low on the water table to be used for interments.

Jared had come to a stop by the first line of graves. His light was upon a tall granite cross. “This stone is dated 1873 an’ is for a Mr Wyman. I thought this area was for modern interments.” 

“It is. I believe they re-erected some of the older stones here to protect them. The old graveyard is lost in the woods and brambles around that.” Riley pointed beyond the stone.

Lauren followed his gaze and gasped. “Oh, that’s just creepy! If a demon lives anywhere, it’s in there.” She witnessed the mist opening like a curtain allowing the moonlight to fall upon the haunted remains of the church tower. The lower half had been devoured and lost to voracious English Ivy vines. The insatiable evil weed was slowly snaking its way up the cracking flintstone walls. It seemed to be reaching like a clawing creature desperate to ravage the last remnants of the decayed crenulations. One of three remaining arch-topped windows was in view near the top. Its stained glass was long gone. Only ominous impenetrable voids of darkness filled the space beyond the once beautiful tracery now.  

“Yup, Old Nick would be as happy as a king in his palace, in that old tower. I…” Riley felt his words catch in his throat and he swore. “Er- something moved up there,” he whispered.

“Relax. It’s bats. You idiot. They love old bell towers. Besides this an old church, not Satan’s clubhouse.” Jared laughed as he continued along the gravestones, “Most of these are too new. We’ll have to search in there.” He turned his light on the thickly overgrown woodland that used to be the original graveyard. It was a shudder-inducing thought to know those trees were home to dozens of skeletons.

“Sweet, how do we get in?” Emmy replied at once. The grin on her face showed how much fun she was having with the creepy adventure 

“There, by the tree at the end of the stones. Come on.” Jared led on again. If he was scared, he was doing a good job of hiding it. 

Riley made to follow him and Emmy but found Lauren holding him back. He felt her pull his hand and faced her with his light twinkling in her eyes. “We’ll catch you up, guys,” he said a second before their lips met.  

Lauren had to tiptoe a little to kiss him. She felt him hold and steady her as she imparted her love with a lingering smooch. Their passion bloomed electrifying them with euphoric endorphins. She felt his hand wandering as she turned her head with his. His every move only heightening her desire for him.

“I was hoping they’d leave us for a minute. I wanted to thank you for telling them you love me,” she said in a breathy voice when they parted. “You know, we’ve been friends for several years now. I had a crush on you for most of them but didn’t wish to spoil anything by being too forward.”

“Really?” Riley looked a little surprised but enjoyed the coy nod he received. “Then I’m glad I gave my heart to you tonight.”

“I’m glad too. You made me a happy girl.” Lauren wrapped her arms about him again as their noses met, their breathing deepened and they smooched again. 

Riley turned her back to him as he began stroking circles on her belly. He let his lips caress her neck as she leaned into him.. “Hmm, if only this was a bedroom, not a grave—” 

A terrified scream tore the air asunder turning passion to panic in a single blood-chilling heartbeat. 

Lauren caught her breath, her heart skipping a frantic beat. “Oh shit! That was, Emmy. Come on.” She grabbed Riley’s hand and dashed toward the rabbit path. She didn’t want to go into that ominous dark woodland- she couldn’t leave her friend in trouble either.  

“Oh, I knew we should have gone to my place for a movie.” Riley sighed deeply and began running along the line of gravestones.

“We bloody well will, next time. Oh no… No fricken way!” Lauren came to a sharp stop causing Riley to bump her back. 

“Oof! What is it, sweetheart?”

“Sorry, Riley.” Lauren stood shaking and looking at her feet. “I can’t walk over dead people. I won’t do it!”  

Riley followed her gaze and realised at least four grave markers were laid out in front of a lone tree. They gave little option but to pass over the remains of the interred to proceed into the overgrown area. “Argh, this place is awful,” he said. Taking her hand again, he ran right and cut around the edge of the offending patch. 

The path leading toward and between the tower and wooded graveyard wasn’t friendly. It amounted to a rabbit track between walls of murderously thick brambles. The odd, decaying tombstone poked from them; showing just how much the virulent undergrowth was. The vines were burying, strangling the old graveyard out of existence. Riley and Lauren couldn’t move along the narrow path at any speed. The thorny briars and blackberry bushes, snagged at their legs and clothes, making going slow and painful. 

“Ow! I’m getting ripped to shreds in here,” Lauren complained having been forced to stop and free her bare leg from one of the vicious vines- for the fourth time. 

“I—” Riley never finished that sentence. Emmy screamed again. “Come on!” he took the lead and forced his way down the dark and dangerous path. Almost at once he came upon the overgrown chicken wire safety fence around the tower. A broken ‘Danger’ sign warned of falling masonry. If that weren’t foreboding enough the dead rat stuck in the fence by it exuded dread. Ignoring both against his better judgement, he kept moving deeper into the jungle-like graveyard. Without warning his foot slid on something unseen and smooth. Shock gripped him as his feet shot him into the air.

Lauren shrieked and grabbed for him. She failed to stop him from landing hard on his back. “Riley. Are you okay?” 

“Aw, damn it. That hurt!” Riley let rip with some choice curses as he tore his cape from the cleaver’s vines. “I’ll be…” His attention fell upon his assaulter; A marble coped stone sarcophagus. The last resting place of a forgotten soul, lay almost buried. Only the very top of the lid adorned with a cross protruded from the dank earth. “Oh… Shit!”

coped stone sarcophagus half-buried in the undergrowth on the path.
The near buried coped stone sarcophagus.

“Get up, lovely. Let’s go before something crawls out of that thing.” Lauren was breathing heavy, her heart thumping with adrenaline as she hauled him up and urged him forward. Neither of them had seen the hole in the fence around the tower or the yawning black cavernous hole going inside. “Emmy! Jared. Where are you?” 

Nothing but oppressive silence answered the calls. Lauren clung onto Riley’s arm as they crept further along the path and under the first few trees. Here the path came to T-junction, both ways were as dark as the deepest hole. The way left would have gone behind the old tower if it weren’t for a mass of nightmarish brambles. The path went a few feet before stopping just beyond a large old gravestone. A creeper had claimed it with a green-fingered grasp- the old stone would disappear soon. Lauren looked the other way, her light picking out further stones, poking out of the relentless vegetation. 

“This is where we go into the wooded area then?” Riley said indicating the thickening trees to the right. His light turned the shadowy trees into twisted, demonic figures that seemed to be reaching for him. “Guy’s, where are you?” he added loudly through his cupped hands. As his call died away he heard something that caused him to utter a constricted whimper. His mouth ran dry as he jumped backwards against Lauren, and froze in a cold panic. 

“Riley, please don’t do that. What’s the matter?” Lauren used a soothing voice but it trembled with her knees as she tried to breathe and keep a handle on herself. Try as she might, she could see nothing in the darkness- yet she could hear unseen creatures scrabbling about in the undergrowth. She hated rats but even those would be a blessing over what she was imagined living in there.  

“S-something… something whispered in my ear.” Riley’s eyes were wide and darting about his head. “I never saw any-anybody though.” 

Lauren looked at her cute spidery boots. “I’m not surprised. We’re walking between lord knows how many bodies in here.”  

“Did you have to say that?” Riley sucked in a very deep breath and headed into the trees with one arm around Lauren and the fingers of the other against his shivering teeth.

“Sorry.” Despite herself, Lauren let out a small giggle that was swallowed by the sinister trees. It was as though mirth was against the law here. 

A spectral grave stone.
A spectral gravestone.

The couple edged into the woodland, every step required them to fight the urge to turn and run away. Although the path widened a little here, it was no less frightening. Many more gravestones materialised like milky spectres caught in their phone beams.

The Forgotten stones were caught in the undergrowth, some almost completely buried in the mass of spidery vines. Others lay broken like fallen soldiers, forgotten on the battlefield. A wrought iron fenced enclosure loomed up on the right. Whatever was causing the pungent, rotting smell; laying hidden in the creepers that strangled the space. They coiled around the bars like swamp monsters trying to reach out and murder those walking by. 

“Do you see Emmy or Jared?” 

Riley shook his head. “No, I can’t see a bloody thing in here.” The mist seemed thicker beneath the trees. It caused an eerie glow that stopped the light penetrating the darkness. He knew his friends could be a few feet away and he wouldn’t see them. 

“Oh, I wish we could find them.” Lauren’s head snapped around at the sound of something thumping into the earth. A whispering noise reached her ears forcing her to stifle a scream. “There are ghosts in here. I’m cold- I’m scared and I want to go home.”

“Me too.” Riley removed his cape. “Here put this around you.”

“Thanks.” Lauren allowed him to put it over her shoulders and snuggled into it. He gently freed her hair and then took her hand. She couldn’t help a tremor coming over her, as she squeezed his fingers and put herself as close to him as she could. “Now what?” 

“This woodland is small. Emmy and Jared can’t be far.” Riley led onward again, calling out as he picked his way between more ankle grabbing blackthorn and gnarled tree trunks. “Guys, where are you?” 

The rabbit path ended without warning. It was clear somebody had hacked through the spiky undergrowth to reach graves around to the left and further on. They’d headed right back toward the road as well. Those were not paths, just beaten routes through the woods.

The matching family stones.
The matching family stones.

Lauren stopped and began shining her torch on two tombstones at the end of the path. Both were four-foot-tall, heavy granite stele. They were identically shaped with oval tops and rounded shoulders like a club playing card symbol. 

Lauren saw they were both dated in the eighteen-hundreds and connected. “Look, these are both from the same family.” 

“Must have been a family plot. There’s a third laying in the blackberry mass over here too.” Riley pointed to his left. It was then the shadow rose from the darkness behind Lauren. Black hands preceded muscular arms clad in blood-stained sleeves. They reached for and seized her around the chest and she screamed. Riley feared no better feminine hands clamped around his mouth. 

Lauren writhed and fought for all she was worth but her captor was too strong. “Let me go!” stomping for toes she kept fighting her attacker. “I said, let me go!” 

“Never, you will soon be diggin’ your own graves. You are to be interred here with the forgotten souls of All Saints.” the figure cackled with an evil laughter. 

It was the giggles that turned Lauren’s fears to fury. “Jared, Emmy. You scared the hell out of us, you idiots!” 

Jared released her in a fit of laughter. “Sorry, we couldn’t resist enacting a little horror scene upon you.” he managed having seen Riley drop to his knees while struggling to catch his breath. 

“The only… horror scene… around here, will be me kicking your arse! You rotten git!” Riley breathed.  

“Join the fricken queue!” Lauren spun on Jared and punched him in the chest before covering her face in embarrassment. 

“We’re sorry, Lauren. We were only playing. You okay, Riley?” Emmy said having hugged him. 

“I might need some new boxers, but I’m fine.” he managed. 

“That’s a relief.” Emmy went to Lauren and removed her hands from her eyes. “Forgive us?” she asked with a grin on her face and her arms open for a hug. 

“Forgive you. I should slap you into one of these graves!” Lauren wrinkled her nose, before managing a smile and accepting the hug. “You got us good. Well done, guys.” 

“Thanks for being good sports.” Jared shook Riley’s hand. “It’s as spooky as hell in here, huh?”

“No kidding. Your screams were very real, Emmy.” Riley turned his light on the young lady in the vampire guise. 

“She blushed a little. “The first one was. There was a deer in here. We disturbed it and it shot out of the woods scaring ten years out of me,” she confessed.

“Yeah, that’s when I realised we had you set for a scare.” Jared winked at Lauren who still looked upset. “Emmy’s second scream was to lure you in.”

“We thought you were hurt or worse in here. We were really worried about you both. Please, promise me; you won’t do that again, okay?”

Jared gave her a friendly squeeze. “We’ll never do that again. Thank you for caring about us too.” 

“Thank you.” Lauren put herself in Riley’s arms. “So, did you find the Staggard stone?” 

Emmy shook her head while hugging herself in a way that said she envied Lauren just then. “No. We probably won’t, either.”   

Stones sticking out of the undergrowth.

“She’s right. While we can see maybe thirty stones; twice that is without a doubt lost to the blasted living barbed wire in here,” Jared said with a sigh. 

“Agreed, what’s the plan?” Riley looked to his friends “What about returning tomorrow with machetes.” 

“Hell no!” Lauren felt a breeze on her face and looked to the tree canopy. “After what these two just did. I’m not coming back in here with them brandishing machetes.”   

Everybody laughed despite a new feeling descending upon them. A breeze had struck up from nowhere. With it came the skin-crawling feeling of presence looming all around the woodland. 

“Listen.” Emmy placed a finger to her lips and freed an ear from her hair. “Do you hear the soft voices?” 

“It’s not spirits. It’s the breeze in the trees. It causes the leaves to whisper at it passes over them.” Lauren explained although it caused goose pimples to rise on her shivering skin while she looked about her with regularity. 

“You sure.” Riley became tense again. “I swear a whispered voice told me to ‘get lost’ back there. It wasn’t breezy then.” 

“Stop freaking yourself out, Riley.” Emmy put her hands on her hips and looked about her. “Look the mist is lifting a little. Let’s check the visible stones down there, then get out of here for the night.” 

“Good idea. Come on.” Jared made it a half-dozen steps before he was surrounded in darkness. His phone emitted a single solitary low energy warning tone, then went out altogether. “Shit, my battery died.” 

“That’s not good. I have half a battery. Emmy, stay with Jared and keep yours on. Lauren, you light us with yours and I’ll switch mine off until we need it.” Riley instructed wisely.

A forgotten stone lost to the brambles.
A forgotten stone lost to the brambles.

With that four friends moved toward the road into the wildest part of the graveyard. The two lights bounced from stele to block stone grave marker amid outcry’s of swearing thanks to the fiendish brambles tearing at arms and legs.

All four friends were sure ghosts walked among them. None said a word hoping to get out of there quicker by focusing on the task. Twenty minutes of painful searching proved fruitless. Not one stone had an animal engraved upon it, let alone a stag. 

“This is crazy, guys. We’re being torn apart and finding nothing in this poor old place.” Emmy said once the four had reunited on the path to the tower again. It loomed above them, bathed in the moonlight and shadows that seemed to be fighting in the battle to claim it for good or evil. 

“Isn’t it a shame that this once lovely church and graveyard have been left to die like this. I don’t believe anything evil resides here. I just think it needs a good clean up, some love and respect and it’ll become as friendly and happy as any other nice graveyard and woodland.” Lauren put her hand on a stone leaning against a tree and withdrew it immediately. The stone was much colder than she was expecting.  

“I agree,” Jared said. 

“Yeah and without that cleanup, we can’t hope to find the Staggard stone.” Emmy walked into the small area behind the church. “There must be thirty square metres of overgrowth back here alone. There’s no telling how many graves will be under that lot.” 

“Exactly. Let’s go ho—” Riley cut himself for Emmy had disappeared into a veil of darkness. Her light had gone out. “Emmy?”

“Emmy!” echoed Lauren feeling Jared pass her to find their friend.

“It’s okay, my phone died,” Emmy said her voice quavering. “I feel…” her voice trailed off, she shrieked and landed with a thud at Jared’s feet. 

“Shit, what the hell…” he fell silent. Becoming still as he stared into the darkness where Emmy had been moments before. Lauren ran over with Riley and dropped to her friend’s side, her phone providing the only source of light now. 

“Emmy’s phone couldn’t have died. It made no warning noises,” Riley realised. 

“Maybe it was on silent.” Jared sucked in a tense breath. He was still unable to tear his eyes from the blackness beyond that gravestone. “Is she alright?”

“She’s unconscious. It looks like she was hit in the back of the head.” Lauren had rolled her friend into the recovery position revealing blood oozing from a wound above and behind her ear. 

“Bloody hell. I suppose a rock fell off the damned tower.” Riley switched on his phone. “I’ll call for an ambulance… Or not, I don’t have a fricking signal.” 

“Me either.” Lauren smoothed Emmy’s hair. “Emmy, come on. Wake up. We need to get you up and out of here.” 

“Guys, Emmy was ten-metres from that tower,” Jared said. “Nothin’ crumbing off there would have landed this far away. Even if it fell from the battlements up there.”  

“What are you saying?” asked Lauren gently shaking Emmy now.

“I’m saying that I don’t think we’re alone.” Jared stood an agitated figure, with his fists clenched and feet apart in an aggressive stance. “I believe there’s someone or something using the shadows to attack us.” 

“Not from back there. Anything bigger than a cat couldn’t possibly get through all that jungle.” Riley stated despite coming up with no better explanation himself. 

“She’s waking up, I think.” Lauren looked from Emmy to Jared with furrowed brows. He still hadn’t stopped staring into that space. “Jared, what did you see?” 

“I don’t know. Somethin’ tall an’ dark moved behind Emmy before her light went out. Then again after she fell.” the strong Sudanese fellow began clenching and unclenching his fists. “I didn’t see where it went, but I know its back there somewhere.” 

“Then, we need to get out of here fast!” Riley dropped beside Lauren and looked to his fallen friend. “Come on, Emmy. Time to go.” 

“Wha’ happened t’ me,” she managed her voice close to a drunken slur. 

“You’ll be okay, lovely. Something hit you on the head, that’s all,” Lauren told her while sidestepping Jared’s version of events so as not to scare her further.

“Yeah, okay.” Emmy shook herself and managed a small smile. Lauren hid a smirk; she could see the smile was for Riley who’d hooked an arm under her back to help her stand. 

“No time let’s go!” he said as he stood and levered Emmy to her feet. She staggered but he and Lauren steadied her. “How’s that feel?” 

“Like, I drank a whole bottle of vodka, haha. Thanks.” Emmy looked about and her happy look vanished. “Oh, we’re still in the graveyard then?”

The shadowy cross.
The shadowy cross.

“Yeah, not for long. Hold my cape.” Lauren turned toward the way out. Her eyes picked out a shadowy cross hiding in the brambles. The path was narrow, she needed Emmy to hold her from behind. “Riley, you support her as you follow us out. Jared, snap out of it and come on,” she instructed with a desire to be somewhere else, fast.  

“I’m coming.” Jared stepped toward Riley but was still focused on the area around him with a weird gaze in his eyes. 

His demeanour was scaring Lauren. “Good, come on. Stay with us, we’re not coming back in here after you.” She put a shaking hand back and took Emmy’s. Like that, she moved along the bramble ridden path as fast as she could. The pace slowed only to help Emmy over the marble sarcophagus buried in the path. Back on flat ground, Lauren increased the pace to match that of her thrumming heartbeat.

“Lauren, stop. Something’s wrong with Jared!” Riley heard a growling behind him. Wiping cold sweat from his forehead, he dared to look over his shoulder. 

Jared was stood astride the coped stone lid of the sarcophagus, facing the tower. His chest was heaving as though he was incensed by something. He shot out his hands and seized the fence in his strong grip while emitting that angry, throaty noise. 

“Jared, what’s wrong?” Lauren asked. 

“Come on, you evil…” Jared wrenched on the fence and swore violently his voice deepened with intense rage. “Get out here an’ fight me!”    

“What the hell?” Riley approached and put a hand on his shoulder. He could see Jared was sweating, his eyes unblinking and holding a wild gaze, that scared him. “Take it easy, mate. Let’s get out of here, huh?”

Jared turned his head to Riley in a weird slow way. “Get – away – from me.” The words had come through his teeth. Without warning, he grabbed Riley by the scruff of his shirt.

“Jared, stop it! That’s enough.” Lauren was helpless having to hold and prevent Emmy from falling. Jared was shaking Riley now. “You hear me, Jared Kwaje. I demand you stop this, right now!”  

He seemed unable to hear Lauren as his rage led him. He roared like an animal and shoved Riley backwards along the path. He fell on to his back with a groan and could only look up at his friend with great concern. 

“Come on, man. Calm—”

“I get you, for hurting, Emmy. I’m coming to kill you, now!” Jared glanced at the girls. His face had taken on a stiff, demented expression. He thumped the chicken wire fence with his fist, then climbed through. Before Riley could react he disappeared into the darkness at the foot of the tower. 

“No, Jared. Come back.” Emmy said her voice tremulous with the tears flowing down his cheeks. “What’s wrong with him?”

“I think he’s possessed,” Riley stomped the earth and spun on the spot. “Damn it! Now what?” 

“He looked like an insane person.” Lauren pulled Emmy into a hug. “We have to go. We need to summon help for him and Emmy.” 

“Yes, good idea. You—” something banged against the towers knapped flint wall. Jared yelled with all his fury and silence fell again. “Just get out to the road with, Emmy. Call the police and get help. Whatever you do don’t come back in here, okay?” 

“I can’t leave you. What are you doing?” Lauren locked her teary eyes on Riley, who’d put his phone light on again. He looked terrified yet resolute to her. “Riley, Please?”

He stepped forward and hugged her and Emmy together. “I love you, Lauren. Get out of here for me. I have to go to Jared and stop him from hurting himself- if I can,” he said. Taking a breath, he turned and walked back to the hole in the fence. He felt Lauren’s hand on his back and would never forget its sliding down and away as he left her on the path. 

“Riley!” Lauren felt her tears welling and rolling down her cheeks. She wiped some away. “Riley, I love you. Please be careful.” 

He gave her one last sorrowful look and then he too vanished through the fence into the darkness. 

Riley found himself in a small space surround by the brambles and vines that dominated much of the tower enclosure. Jared had to have gone inside through the manmade cavemouth in the wall, before him. The vines hung around it like devilish teeth, nothing about it invited Riley, to duck inside. He had no choice though, he couldn’t call himself a friend if he abandoned Jared in this hellhole. Summoning every fibre of his being he stepped beneath the tendrils of the vines. It was only then that he noticed a second archway entering a small flint space to the side of the tower. The arch was red-brick faced and half-buried in the ivy. His eyes caught a gentle flickering glow emanated from within. 

Mortuary chapel window.
Mortuary chapel window.

“Yes, the mortuary chapel,” Riley remembered it had been erected from the ruins of the naïve to give a prayer space for those still interring their dead here in the nineteenth century.

“Jared, where are you?” he called as he stepped inside. He came face to maw with a round-headed demonic creature, that seemed to be laughing at him. Riley’s heart leapt into his throat, he cried out and flinched back against the wall. 

Gasping for air, he clutched his chest and cursed his nerves. His whole body was tingling and his hair wet with sweat. “Control yourself, you idiot.” he breathed. The demon was a jack-o-lantern pumpkin, lit from the inside by tealight candles. “What are you doing in here?” Riley realised Jared was right, somebody else was lurking here. Why would they have Halloween decorations in this crumbling place though? No sane kid would ever come into this saintless church looking for treats. Flashing his light about the chapel he saw an old sleeping bag and filthy rugs amid a load of beer cans, rotting takeaway bags and other detritus. There was drug paraphernalia including used needles and blister packs as well. Somebody was living in the chapel and they were clearly not in a good place. They may not be an unrested ghost, but they appeared to be in need of help all the same. 

Riley stepped out of the chapel and focused on the tower. Jared had to be in there now, there was nowhere else he could have gone. When the naïve was demolished nothing was done to stabilise or seal the tower. They’d just left a gaping-holes in the flint wall where the two joined and steps resided. Work complete, they abandoned it, in its forlorn dilapidated state. It smelled of fetid damp and urine here too. 

“Jared!” Riley entered the Tower and realised it had become a hollow shell of what it once was. Directing his light above him, he could see the odd beam sticking out of the walls. They indicated where the wooden steps to the belfry and battlement used to be. Moonlight poured through the window and entered long-missing roof space. Many bats were going in and out, their guano adding to the rotten stench permeating the thick air.

Inside the ruined tower.
Inside the ruined tower.

“Nothing. Where are you?” Riley turned a circle picking out illegible graffiti on one of the walls, and a few more beer cans on the weedy rubble-strewn grave slab beneath his feet. Another larger hole in the wall presented itself as the only way forward. A mental calculation of direction revealed that he’d entered the back of the tower. He reasoned the lower half of the staircase must have been built into that wall. Removed for safety reasons it left his entry hole behind. This new opening had to lead outside to where the naïve used to stand. 

“I can’t take much more of this.” Riley recoiled from a scratching noise, only to find a rat climbing the vine by his head. He felt as if the tower contained no oxygen, he was panting and feeling very closed-in. With a groan loaded with fear and determination, he pushed himself out of the wall into the overgrown naïve space. If he didn’t know better, he’d have said nothing but impenetrable walls of brambles lay here. Nothing was visible of the church, aside from part of the grave slab at his feet. 

“Jared!” Riley picked his way through the lethal vegetation, looking for signs of his friend. The moonlight found it before he did, drops of blood shining on leaves. There was not much, but enough to indicate a naughty wound. Riley kept moving, his eyes and light roaming the area. Where was Jared? An owl hooted shattering the silence. Riley flinched and spun into a face full of batwings, he cursed and shrugged free. His trouser leg caught in the brambles, the thorns dug in seizing a tight grip on him. Stooping to free himself, he caught sight of a wisp of mist rising before him. It looked like a cassocked figure and was staring straight at him. 

“No, the darks’ playing tricks on me.” he tried to calm himself, but the spectral figure turned and raced at him. Riley swore and wrenched free of his bind. The figure ceased to exist and yet the damage was done.  Riley was off-balance, stumbling into the unknown. A rumble filled the air, the ground collapsed swallowing him alive. 

Lauren had managed to extract herself and Emmy from the horrors of the graveyard. With her phone in hand, she led the way a few meters along the road toward the village.  

“I have no signal here either. I… Ahh, there it goes.” Lauren half smiled as the bars filled up on the screen. She sat Emmy on a grass verge which was home to a magnificent parasol mushroom and dialled the emergency services. 

“They’re already dead, I know it,” Emmy said with her head in her hands.

“No, listen. Riley’s calling for Jared in there every once in a while.” Lauren spoke while listening for an answer. “They’ll be fine I… Er hello… Yes, ambulance and maybe police please.” 

“Oh, I hope they’re okay?” Emmy rolled to her left and vomited into the grass. 

Lauren knew what that meant. “My friend Emmy got hit by something heavy, she’s concussed… No that’s not all, my friend Jared went nuts in the old All Saints church. He’s lost in the ruins and my boyfriend Riley is trying to find him. They might be hurt, oh please hurry… Calm down! I don’t think, I’ll ever be calm again! … Sorry… Okay, thank you.” 

Emmy saw Lauren hang up. “Is help coming?” 

“Yes, they’re sending you an ambulance and some police officers for Jared and Riley to begin with.” Lauren sat beside Emmy and cuddled her shoulders as Riley could be heard shouting in the ruins. “You and the boys are going to be okay- I know it.” To herself, she added. ‘At least I hope they will. I only just found love with Riley. I haven’t even managed to take him to bed yet.”

Riley had fallen ten feet into a rubble-filled nightmare. Wracked with pain, he rolled onto an elbow with a pained groan. He shook loads of dust and dirt from his head, opened his eyes and felt cold terror pounding in his ears. 

“Ahh. Oh, shit!” he’d looked straight into the dead eye sockets of a human skull. He smacked it away and looked about him, his phone had landed a few feet away. It’s light beaming running up a wall of burial niches. Most were sealed but the smashed one had skeletal feet and several large cave spiders roaming about within it. “Ow, bloody hell! Looks like the vault exists, then.” Riley sat up feeling like a broken punch bag. His left wrist was oozing blood from a laceration. Ignoring it, he crawled through the remains of the ceiling and picked up his phone. It was then he heard groans echoing out of a passage leading from the vault. He glanced up and knew he couldn’t climb free without ropes. The one time all those blasted vines could be useful, they were out of his reach. 

“Ah, no! Please don’t hurt me!” The cry had come from the darkness beyond the passage opening. 

Riley spun to face it, his light showing him nobody there.

“I’m not goin’ to hurt you. For hurtin’ Emmy, I’m goin’ to kill you!” 

“Jared, wait! Don’t hurt him,” Riley breathed as he felt something crawling on his leg. There above his shoe was a fat-bodied cave spider. Riley wasn’t usually scared of arachnids, but he was already a trembling mess. Repulsed by the creature, he shook it off and stomped it into a pulp. “I’m never leaving the house after dark again- if I survive this.”

“I saw you, Demon. You attack vulnerable girls. Now, I vanquish you.”  Jared’s furious words were punctuated by gurgled cries from his victim and something smashing to the floor. Riley lowered his head and ran through cobwebs into the passage. His light sending spiders and other insects scuttling for cover as he hunted for his friend. The passage was short, turning ninety-degrees left past more occupied funerary niches. Then left into a vault on the opposite side of the church. Riley entered and grew wide-eyed at what he saw. 

“Woah! Jared, put the man down, now!” he demanded with a calming hand out in front of him as he passed a rectangular sarcophagus that took up much of the space. It was clear by the circle in the dust that a pottery vase used to reside upon it. Now it was smashed to a million sherds around Jared’s feet. His cheek was bleeding into his collar making his zombie get-up look truly grotesque. He was covered in dust and still raging mad. The latter had apparently increased his strength to frightening levels. He’d caught the vagrant owner of the bedroll in the chapel and pinned him a full two feet up the wall by his Adams Apple. His dirty face was rapidly going shades of red and purple as the pressure increased around his neck. He was choking out gurgled breaths and kicking his worn boots in a desperate yet futile bid to escape. Jared was not relenting, his hands were whitening as he tightened his throttling grip, strangling the man with the now bulging eyes. Something cracked in his neck as his life was squeezed away and he began to go limp. 

Riley seized his friend’s arm and tried to release the pressure. “Jared, stop this. I order you to release the poor man!”

“Nooo! He’s a demon. He hurt Emmy. He will die!” Jared swung an arm at Riley knocking him off his feet. He was so strong that he never let the man drop and inch on the wall despite holding him with just one arm. 

Riley was both impressed and scared of his long-time friend. “Listen to me, Jared. He may have hit Emmy but he’s not a demon. He’s a human junkie with an alcohol problem and the creepiest bedroom on the planet, but that’s all. Let him go before you kill him, you idiot!” Riley scrambled up and thumped his forearm. He may as well have punched the stone wall for what good it did.

“He must die!” Jared yelled again. 

“Emmy wouldn’t want that. You love Emmy, don’t you, Jared. You know this beautiful girl in vampire outfit on here. You’ve been friends with her since middle school. You brought the four of us together as great friends. If you kill him, you’ll break us again. You don’t want that do you?” Riley showed him a picture from earlier in the night, on his phone. Jared blinked for the first time as he looked at the girl on the screen. 

“Emmy, my friend.” Jared stared a hole in his victim again. “He hurt her.”

“Yes, Emmy is your friend and she’ll be ok, I promise. Listen to me, mate.  Emmy can’t hug you if you’re behind bars for killing him. Put him down now and let the police deal with him. Then we can go to Emmy and Lauren and take care of them, okay?” 

Jared’s grip lessened, the man spluttered and began sucking in ragged breaths. Jared looked at Riley, then around him before nodding his head. 

“That’s it, my friend. Let him go,” Riley urged with a hopeful sigh. 

Jared took a long deep breath. Turning on the man, he hurled him like a ragdoll. The suffering vagrant flew over the sarcophagus and landed in an explosion of dust. Jared became stock still and just looked at the wall. “He hurt Emmy,” he said, his voice toneless and vague. 

“I know. She’ll be okay; I promise. Just relax awhile, please?” Riley gave Jared shoulder a squeeze then went over to the man. At once he was overpowered by the stench of sweat, stale alcohol and urine that clung to his torn jeans and grimy grey jacket. This man had lived here and suffered greatly for too long- before Jared went berserk on him. Riley placed his fingers on the man’s bruised neck and felt relief flooding his body. He looked to Jared in time to see him violently shake his head and sit down hard. Riley was worried for him. “He’s alive, mate. You only half-killed him,” he said.

Jared sat rubbing is head in some discomfort. “How’d I get here? What happened to him, mate?” 

“I knew you weren’t you.” Riley exercised great care in putting the man flat on his back to protect his neck. “What do you remember?” 

“I— Emmy was stood behind a gravestone… Her light went out an’ I saw a white shimmerin’ figure… Then she’s layin’ injured at my feet. Next, I know, I’m sittin’ in here.” Jared rose to his feet with his features twisted in a bewildered expression. “What the hell happened?” 

“I think you were possessed by the energies in this place.” Riley heard the man cough and put a hand on him to stop him rising and hurting himself further. He was still unconscious so that wasn’t going to be an issue yet. “You didn’t see this man attack Emmy, did you?” 

“No— I… I don’t know what I saw. Oh, no. I did that to him, didn’t I?” Jared came over. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you; I didn’t know what I was doin’.” 

“He’ll be okay.” Riley looked about for an exit. He spotted a narrow passage with steps heading up just inside. “Go up those steps and see if we can get out that way, will you?” he instructed. “See if the police are about. Lauren was calling them for us.” 

“Alright. Will you be okay down here with him. I mean if he did hurt Emmy and he wakes up… What if somethin’ else hurt Emmy and it comes here while you’re alone?” 

“Shut up and go please, Jared.” Riley nodded to him. “I’ve had enough of this horror show.”

“I hear you.” Jared ran up the steps without another word.

Riley was alone with the unconscious man and a heavy silence for company. It wasn’t long before his hair began to tingle and icy fingers ran down his spine. He just knew he was being watched from the shadows. His ears told of footsteps taken by unseen figures in the darkness. 

“Damn it! churches and graveyards are not supposed to be haunted. Dead people are only supposed to haunt places they love or become trapped in – not their final resting places,” he whispered with his eyes on a large rat who was investigating the broken vase. 

“The wanderers here are not of the buried kind,” said the man coming around and trying to move. He was well-spoken, his voice deep and sandy-dry, the latter caused by the damage to his throat. 

Riley jumped having been caught off guard. “Hey, keep still for me. You have neck injuries. Help is on the way for you.”

“Thanks. Your friend is damned strong.” 

“No kidding. You have a name?”

“They called me Charles when I was part of society. I was a wealthy bank manager you know.” Charles coughed and groaned through some pain. “They fired me for something I didn’t do. My wife wanted money, she divorced and took me to court leaving me a penniless street urchin. Those that reside here took me in.”

“I’m Riley. Sorry, you suffered all that.” Riley took his hand and shook it gently. “My friend went mad when he saw something hurt out friend Emmy. He—” Riley’s head snapped to the passage he entered by. Something had moved sylph-like there in the entrance.

“What do you see?”   

“Sorry Charles, I saw a mist form by the passage. It seemed to go through the wall.” Riley shook his head as if trying to clear it and stay calm. “Jared didn’t see you hit Emmy, did he?” 

“No, there are two. One occupies the overgrown graveyard. The other stays within the church’s footprint. They are more than spirits. Stronger than any bodiless soul could ever be.” Charles coughed again. “I’m sorry, I scared you while I was talking to myself in the woods earlier too.” 

“Ha- that was you?” Riley chuckled. “The two you speak of. Why don’t they hurt or possess you as you live here?” 

“I’m devoid of my sanity most often. You no doubt saw my cans and needles. Even demons cannot possess an already befuddled mind.” 

“I see.” Riley’s head snapped back to the passage. Something had fallen in the vaults. More footsteps seemed to come from that direction too. He felt his mouth go dry and his adrenaline coursing through his veins.  He felt he was waited for the presence to appear. To tear him asunder and drag him to hell. The demon was closer than he ever imagined. 

“Do you?” Charles sat straight-up without using his arms. An inhuman growl left his lips as he seized Riley around the neck in a vice tight death grip. “Now, you’ll join us, hahaha!” he laughed with demonic glee. Around him, the walls began to shudder- Riley knew no more. 

Front of the ruined tower.
The front of the ruined tower.

Lauren dragged her eyes from the milky visage of the moonlit tower. Church Lane was ablaze with blue flashing lights. Two police patrol cars and an ambulance had pulled up a few minutes ago. 

“The police have been in the graveyard a while. Do you think the boys are alright?” Emmy asked from her perch on the tailgate of the ambulance. She was wearing a wound dressing on her head and looking brighter.

“It takes a while to move through that thorny nightmare. I’m sure the boys are fine.” Lauren stopped pacing the road before her. “How are you doing?” 

“I don’t feel sick anymore, that’s a good thing.” 

“It sure is, Miss Wilders.” The green-clad paramedic with the long curly blond hair came around from the front. He gave her a smile while using a torch to assess her eye focus again. “I think you have a very mild concussion. We still need to take you to the hospital to be sure though.”

“Thank you, Jessie. I’ll come with you when I know the boys are okay.” Emmy gave him a bashful smile as he continued to study her closely.”     

“Well, if I were in your er… stunning boots. I’d be saying the same thing.” Jessie grinned and made to leave. A police sergeant prevented him. 

‘Tazer stun gun deployed for the second time to subdue one resistant suspect, over.’ came a male voice over his radio. 

“Jessie, we have three people in there. All of them will need medical attention. Can you summon more ambulances.?”

“Sure. I’ll get on the radio.” Jessie gave the girls a concerned look and walked to the front of the ambulance. 

“Please, they aren’t stunning the boys, are they?” Lauren asked with her trembling hands clasped before her. 

“I don’t believe so. Excuse me, I must be there when they emerge from the graveyard.” The sergeant gave her a nod and disappeared around the side of the ambulance. 

“So, there was somebody else in there with us, then?” Emmy saw a tear roll down Lauren’s face and took her hand. “You okay?” 

She shook her head. “He said, they all need medical attention. I’m so worried for Riley and Jared. We should never have gone in that place.” 

“I think, it’ll be okay this time. But- lesson learned about going into scary dangerous places at night, right?” Jessie remarked having returned. 

“No kidding! We’re never going out after dark again. Are we Emmy?”   

Emmy shook her sore head in a slow but deliberate gesture. “No, this night-walker Vampire, is being rebirthed as a day-walker. Don’t you worry about that!”

“Glad to hear it.” Jessie chuckled and left again. 

“You’re weird. You know that, Emmy?” Lauren said while smoothing her ponytail with a nervous hand. 

“I—” Emmy stopped and beamed. 

“You’re right, Lauren. Our Emmy is a little weird, but we love her.” Riley stepped around the ambulance door with a wound pad affixed to his left wrist. His neck showed bruising and he looked a little dazed. He was smiling above all else. “As much as she’s weird, you’re beautiful and I love you,” he added as Lauren burst into tears and threw her arms around him. Jared came around the couple and shared a hug with Emmy. 

“Jared, you do realise this is the last time we’re ever doing anything you suggest,” Emmy warned with a chuckle before giving him a kiss on the cheek. 

“Good. I’m not doing anything I come up with either!”  Jared replied making everybody laugh as Jessie and another paramedic came into the group. Jessie put a gauze to Jared bleeding cheek. Emmy held it from him with affection twinkling in her eyes. 

“What happened in that place?” Lauren asked. 

“Well, I don’t believe in demons, but this saintless church seems to have its share.” Riley allowed a female paramedic to assess his neck and check him over. All while keeping an arm around Lauren. 

“I got so angry at seein’ you hurt, Emmy. Something fed on that an’ possessed me.” Jared went on. “I saw somethin’, an’ then I knew nothin’ else until Riley calmed me down.” 

“Thank you for finding and helping him, Riley?” Emmy pulled Jared down beside her making it easier for his paramedic to assess him. “You’re a hero.”

“I take friendship seriously. So, I had to go and help my mate.” Riley knocked knuckles with him. “There was a vagrant living in the tower rooms. We can’t be sure if he was the one who hurt you, Emmy. However, he is an alcoholic druggie. So, it’s likely he did. Despite Jared finding and half-breaking his neck, the mad idiot woke up and attacked me— Ow!” The paramedic had sharply removed the wound pad to clean and dress the wound better..

“Sorry, mate. You have quite a wound here. I have to clean and rebandage it for you.”  

 “It’s okay, I noticed,” Riley winced. “Anyway, the police had to stun him three times before they could get him off me and into handcuffs and leg restraints.” 

“He must be either psychotic or demonic, then.” Lauren faced him and smoothed his hair. “I’m glad he didn’t do you too much harm, sweetheart.”

“Yes, we’re both glad our boys are going to be okay.” Emmy agreed as frenzied screaming and swearing could be heard back at the church. Lauren was shocked to see, six officers having to manhandle the wrestling vagrant into a police van.   

“Well, that’s the hopping mad hermit under lock and key then,” Jared remarked.

“Thankfully. You know, I don’t think we’re finished with this place,” Riley said his voice becoming thoughtful. 

“You mean because we didn’t find the Staggard gravestone and the gold?” Lauren gave him a fearful look. “I’m not going back in there to find it.”

“The gold is beside the point now. You said it yourself, Lauren. It’s so sad to see the place in its current state.” 

“Yes, I felt like crying when I saw some of those gravestones being eaten by the vines, or fallen over and broken.” 

“Exactly. There’s a great disrespect being shown to the interred here. Graves are becoming forgotten and desecrated by those rotten brambles in there.” 

“What are you saying, Riley?” Emmy looked to Jared for answers. 

He grinned and put an arm around her. “Demons only reside here because nobody has given All Saints any love for a long time. It’s become saintless for that reason.” Jared looked to Riley and received a nod. “Riley and I intend to appeal to the village for help to heal this place. We want to get a group together. To come back here durin’ the day an’ restore the graveyard an’ chapel to a serene state.” 

“Aww, that’s such a sweet idea.” Lauren beamed. “We can vanquish the demons by showering love and respect upon the graveyard and those who call it their last resting place.” 

“Exactly. Let’s heal up and get to work.” Riley locked lips with Lauren for a long moment. His kiss tinged with relief at surviving the nightmares within All Saints church. There was much more passion for his new love in Lauren though.

In the coming weeks, the four would return to the church with a team of helpers including the local Vicar. What would they discover beneath the brambles? Would the demons be pleased, or would they reap vengeance upon those trying to lift the darkness from their evil home? Only time would tell, but you can be sure the Vicar’s presence would be a blessing.

The End


That was Saintless. Wishing you a perfectly scary Halloween and thank you for reading my friends.

Don’t forget to check out my Short Stories Archive.

23 thoughts on “Saintless

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  1. What a wonderful story. I liked all four main characters a lot and the pictures were a nice touch. My friend and I enjoy exploring cemeteries so reading this was especially enjoyable. It’s been a good way to usher in Halloween. I hope you have a great day, Mason. Thanks for this story which has helped make this Halloween extra special!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jim. I’m having a great night, hope you are too. Cemeteries always hold a place of intrigue, don’t they? There’s always a mystery, a secret to be found. The one I pictured here is in the village of Hainford where I live. It has been in ruins for a hundred years now, it still has special energy beneath the brambles though. Cheers, Jim, Happy Halloween.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Gill. I had fun with one being able to go to the church I was describing, really helped make it come alive in the story. Glad you loved it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, Jane. Thank you so much for visiting my site and reading the story. I loved this one especially being able to visit the church I wrote about. It was a great experience, and I’m glad you loved it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent story! I prefer slow burn with my horror, and this fulfilled that perfectly. I really liked the main characters, and the deep friendship between them was wonderful to see. I loved the ending and how positive it was, too! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading, Haley. This was my most favourite story as I was able to actually take the photos for it, and sit in the graveyard to write the tale. I’m glad you loved it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course, you’re most welcome! I was immediately drawn in by the title and pictures. They screamed horror, which I love. I was happy to read it! It’s so cool that you got to write it in the actual graveyard!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I took the pictures in colour and then in black and white to see, with no colour they’re much creepier, aren’t they? Writing on location definatelt helps get the feel of the story down well. Thanks again for reading.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. They turned out so well! And yes, the lack of color definitely makes them more spooky. The pictures went with the story perfectly. I imagine being able to write in the graveyard really helped influence the creepy nature of the story. It resulted in such a great tale. You’re very welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh it really did. Lucy dog was crackling about in the undergrowth like a ghostly presence. The wind was whispering int he trees and as it got dark it felt perfectly spooky. The best writing experience ever!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Aww, how cute. A spooky dog, haha. 😄 That sounds like the perfect environment to write a horror story in. I can definitely see how it helped with the story. And yeah, what a cool writing experience! It must’ve been such a neat opportunity!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. You’re right, I should! Visiting a place like a graveyard would probably spook me, haha. But, I’m sure it would be wonderful for my creativity. I could probably come up with all sorts of ideas in an environment like that. And yeah, it sounds fun!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. It doesn’t have to be a graveyard. Choose a place that’ll fit the story or poetry you wish to write and go there. Preferably, somewhere without too many people so you can concentre and then allow the place to inspire and drive your writing.

        Liked by 1 person

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