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La Belle Rouge Poetess Of The Heart

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Day Of The Dead
By La Belle Rouge Poetess Of The Heart
Saturday, October 18, 2014

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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The Dead are fleeting memories to the living, whether good or bad.

Day Of The Dead
By La Belle Rouge

Itís cold in this gloomy place. No flowers to brighten the dreary landscape except fake ones left by those who miss their loved ones, or those who feel guilty because they donít. Itís late October and dead, fallen leaves cover the ground. There are still forlorn, artificial poinsettias and holly branches laying here since last Christmas. Theyíve faded to a somber grey to match the granite headstones they adorn. The dead, their lives, their graves, forgotten until the next Christmas.

People seem to enjoy walking here in the daytime. In Spring and Summer there is birdsong. In Autumn the rustling of leaves and in Winter the silence of snow. It is a quiet and peaceful place, no one to interrupt reveries or ask why you are here. They stop and read the epitaphs or sit on the stone benches. Occasionally they talk to those buried under ornate headstones or entombed in mausoleums. Sometimes, not often, they weep for those they have lost. Most of the time the dead are simply forgotten. They are fleeting memories to the living, whether good or bad.

At night this is a very different place. The living avoid it in the nighttime; they do well to stay away. At night when the living sleep, the dead awaken. In the dark there are calls of an owl, mutterings, whisperings, apparitions gliding between and through gravestones and standing in the doors of crypts. Ghosts wearing their best suits and Sunday dresses cut open in the back to facilitate dressing a corpse. Some figures without feet, their bodies desecrated by unscrupulous morticians willing to chop off appendages to make bodies fit into smaller caskets. Some of the dead weep, others seem apathetic and then there are those who smile. The smilers; they are the most dangerous of all. The smilers understand that death will always have the last say and the reward of revenge.

Today is a unique day in the city of the dead. Itís October 31st, Samhain. A time when the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlap and the deceased come back to life to cause havoc such as sickness, damaged crops, or even vengeful deaths. Samhain, to the ancient Celts, Dia De Muertos (Day Of The Dead), All Hallows Eve, Halloween, all names for this noxious day.

Mists are rising. Itís twilight and I sit on the ledge of one of the largest gravestones. It was erected many years ago by a young man who lost his wife to a violent death. On the apex was etched the word, ďNevermore.Ē It was said he died of a broken heart on Samhain long ago. His body was found in the mansion he had shared for five years with his young wife. He was seated in his bed, his back propped up on pillows. There was an expression of utter horror on his face and his mouth was opened in a silent scream. He was buried beside his wife beneath the impressive grave stone. No one ever really discovered the cause of his death. No one but the dead know the true story of how he died or that he had murdered his wife for her wealth. He will be here soon to sit beside me. I will ignore him as I always have for decades. I'll smile at his loneliness. He is destined to roam these grounds alone, unacknowledged by the living or the dead.

There is a sound of footsteps a short distance away. I can see it is Mr. Wethers, the mortician. A fresh grave was dug this afternoon for the funeral he will be overseeing tomorrow. He has come to make sure all is in order and ready to accommodate the dearly departed in the morning. We all know Mr. Wethers, he laid most of us to rest and cut off some of our feet for the sake of greed. Yes Mr. Wethers is well known here and disrespected for the defiler and crook he really is.

Night is swiftly falling. Mr. Wethers lingers. He had no respect for the dead in the past and obviously has no fear of them in the present. But Mr. Wethers is wrong. The dead are a force to be reckoned with. The mutterings and whispers begin as shadows quickly move between the head stones toward the wicked mortician. Screams, bloody screams sound through the cemetery. There are none but the dead to hear them.

Theyíll find him in the morning at the bottom of the open grave, a gory mess with bulging eyes and no feet.††††

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Reviewed by Chip Bergeron 11/3/2014
Oh my!!! That is a really scary story. This would be a super story to tell around a campfire.

Reviewed by Mary Ann Biddinger 10/27/2014
~Lady La Belle~
I'm cold and chilly now as I have read to the end now that Mr. Wethers lingers in the Hallow's Eve crypt. Brrr~ Great read.

Lady Mary Ann
Reviewed by Edward Phillips 10/19/2014
Perhaps it is the fiend in me, but I laughed out loud at your tale especially the ending. What a perfect little story as we draw closer to the end of October when ghosts and goblins and things that go bump in the night begin to stir and take control. Ghoulishly delightful!
Reviewed by Ronald Hull 10/18/2014
You have given a rather vivid description of what goes on in graveyards "after-hours." I do find the story plot to be a little bit flat in spite of the buildup. I actually was unaware of the practice of cutting off feet to make a body fit in a shorter casket. But then, I haven't been hanging around mortuaries or graveyards. Probably will be soon, like we all do. ;-)

Reviewed by Jerry Bolton 10/18/2014
Well put together story, La Bell. You captured the moment . . . twice . . . During the beginning you explained how the dead are basically forgotten, and maybe that is a good thing to not carry the burden for the rest of their lives. In the undead second half of the story you really shouldn't have slandered poor Edgar Allen Poe, but I guess it made for good Halloweenish ghoul-like person. Besides that fact I thoroughly enjoyed reading and digesting "Day of the Dead."

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