Pairings/Characters: Kristen Bouchard, Old Woman In Cemetery Office, Calvin Boggs
Genres: Angst, Drama, Holiday, Horror
Warnings: Author Chooses Not To Warn
Spoilers: For October 31 (1x5)
Summary: Kristen tries to find the mysterious little girl from Halloween night.
Date Of Completion: April 10, 2020
Date Of Posting: April 24, 2020
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Robert King and Michelle King do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1394
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author's Note: Have some Halloween in April! Hey, we're wearing masks! ;)
In an innocent’s smile,
The wolf wearing
The lamb’s skin.
Edward Addington Edwards
"The Faces Of Evil"
Kristen walked to the open grave in the quiet cemetery. Usually the day after Halloween, decorations on the houses and in yards looked a little sad and forlorn, but in the light of day this year, the decorations looked almost…sinister.
Kristen crouched by the grave. This is where her youngest daughter Laura had been enticed into entering. The soil smelled rich but also a little moldy, like death.
Kristen shuddered. What kind of mind did that mysterious little girl have, to suggest such a thing?
She called herself Brenda, though it was another little girl’s name. The real Brenda was home sick, they learned later.
The morning was cold, leaves blowing by in the wind. November was the Month of Melancholy in Kristen’s mind, a time when most of the glorious leaves had fallen and the trees were bare. Everything was gray and brown and Nature prepared for sleep.
The grave smelled damp and claustrophobic. Okay, you couldn’t smell claustrophobia, or could you? Kristen pulled her coat closer around her body. She remembered her girls’ story:
“She told us a story about a little girl who was burned badly by her parents.”
“She said it was all just supposed to be a game.”
“She never took her mask off.”
The fake Brenda had disappeared. No one knew her, or had ever seen her before. It was all very unsettling.
After last night’s exorcism, everything’s a little shaky.
Kristen remembered the sight of Laura in the grave, and anger welled up in her: anger at her mother’s negligence, anger at the girls letting Brenda lead them here, and anger at Brenda.
The kid’s a sociopath, or maybe she needs an exorcism.
Kristen glanced around the cemetery. This section was old, the headstones small and the etched names were starting to become indistinct. The dates were from the 19th century.
“Why would there be a fresh grave dug here?” she muttered. Unless there were descendants using the plots, it was unlikely.
Kristen stood and noticed a small stone building several yards away. She trudged over and went inside, a sign indicating by the door that it was the administration building. The date 1843 was etched into the stone.
The vestibule was tiny and a small office not much bigger was off to the left. The paint was bilious green and the counter was ancient wood. Metal filing cabinets were set against two walls, piled high with old ledgers, and a battered old wooden desk took up most of the space behind the counter. A wizened old woman sat in a chair with casters in front of one of the cabinets to the right. Smoke drifted up from a cigarette resting in an ashtray on the desk. The place smelled a little musty.
“Excuse me, I need some information.”
The old woman was pudgy and wore dark-blue sweatpants and an aquamarine sweatshirt with an illustration of a black cat. Short white hair was barely combed and she peered through wire-rimmed glasses. She tapped a sneaker-shod foot on the cracked linoleum floor.
How long has she been here? It’s like she’s part of this place.
“There is a freshly-dug grave in the oldest section of the cemetery.”
Kristen blinked. Not exactly A-1 customer service. “Will there be an interment there soon?”
The old lady rolled her chair to the opposite set of filing cabinets.
She looks familiar. Have I seen her someplace before?
The woman coughed while she took down a ledger with an impressive stretch of her arms and carefully leafed through the fragile book after setting it on the desk.
Kristen racked her brain to try and remember where she had seen the woman before. She almost snapped her fingers as it came to her.
The woman who gave out candy at that spooky old house last night!
She frowned. No, not the same woman, but she looked like a twin, only the other woman had been smartly-dressed with combed hair and no glasses.
The woman closed the ledger. “No interment scheduled. I’ll have Boggs fill it in.”
“Do people usually dig graves for no reason around here?”
“Honey, it’s a cemetery. Stuff happens all the time.”
Kristen grimaced. “Have you seen a little girl around here, maybe eight or nine, wearing a Halloween mask?”
The woman stared at her blandly. “Just a couple hundred or so. Last night was Halloween.”
“She was wearing a blue dress. Her mask looked like Cinderella.”
The woman replaced the ledger on top of the filing cabinet. “Again, hon, not uncommon.”
“Yeah, I guess so. Thank you, ma’am.”
Kristen left the small building while the old lady smiled with yellowed teeth. She picked up the dormant cigarette and its tip burst into flame as she smoked.
Kristen left the cemetery and walked around the neighborhood. Where was this little girl? Kristen had no name or description. She had just popped up, pretending to be Brenda, a classmate, and never took off her mask.
Lexis said the story she told was about a girl whose face had been so horribly disfigured in a fire that she could never go out except on Halloween.
Kristen doubted that Not-Brenda was disfigured, but keeping the mask on probably helped sell her story to her audience. She was pretty calculated for a grade-schooler.
Eric McCrystal was a grade-schooler, and he tried to murder his family more than once.
Kristen shivered. She looked down and saw a discarded Halloween mask. She picked it up. It did look like a Cinderella mask.
I’ll take it back and see if the girls recognize it.
The wind picked up and suddenly Kristen was pushed hard in the back and lost her grip on the mask. A huge gust of wind snatched it away and it was gone. Kristen turned around in fury to chew out who had hit her.
No one was there.
She had not heard anyone run away. Had it been the wind? It had been a pretty hard thump.
“Hmm, it flew off in the direction of the cemetery,” she muttered.
She went back to the cemetery and was drawn back to the empty grave. Was there something down there? The mask?
Kristen scrambled down into the grave. The smell of damp earth and moldering leaves was strong. She reached for the mask and grew dizzy. The walls seemed to be closing in.
She pitched face-first into the dirt. The wind howled over the grave and Kristen mumbled, clawing her fingers into the dirt. Confused, she felt too weak to stand, feebly moving her limbs. She drifted in and out of consciousness, and was nearly passed out when she felt dirt thrown on top of her.
Panic surged up and helped her to stand up. “Hey!” she yelled.
“What? Lady, whatcha doin’?”
Kristen glared up at a skeletally-thin man in overalls, T-shirt, work boots and a dark-blue stocking cap. He clutched a shovel and his beady eyes glared back.
“Trying not to get buried alive!” Kristen tried to climb out. “Help me out of here!”
Grumbling, the man helped Kristen out, his skinny arms shaking. She guessed he must be Boggs.
His name sounds like a Dickens character. He looks like one, too.
“Lady, we get enough kids playing pranks around here, especially last night. You gotta fool around, too?”
Kristen brushed hair out of her eyes and coughed. “I was trying to get that mask.”
Boggs peered into the grave. “What mask?”
“The Halloween mask!”
“Lady, there ain’t nothin’ in there.”
Kristen looked down into the grave. Empty.
Boggs shook his head. “You need to go home and take a nip. Or a nip.”
“You might be right.” Kristen shivered as the wind blew hard.
Boggs stuck his shovel into a wheelbarrow of dirt. He resumed shoveling the dirt into the grave.
Kristen watched in numb fascination. Boggs was efficient, shoveling with shaky precision. When he was finished, he shook his head in her direction and wheeled the empty barrow away.
Kristen stared at the filled-in grave and wondered at the way her life was going.
Maybe it’s a Halloween hangover.
She left the cemetery as the wind gusted with strong force as the day began to wind down.
This story can also be read on AO3.
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