As a writer, I needed to work somewhere that could spark my imagination. So, I went to the most haunted hotels and applied to be a night manager, but nobody was hiring. Riding my bicycle to prospective jobs was exhausting and I decided to have lunch, but the roadside wouldn’t do. So, I rode down the nearest path, totally missing the GRAVEYARD sign. I sat in the tall grass and ate my sandwich, admiring the clouds overhead. In the distance, I could see the blue Atlantic and an island not half a mile from the mainland.
“Aint supposed to be here!”
I dropped my sandwich, seeing a wiry man with a shovel. “Oh, I was just having some lunch. I didn’t know I was trespassing.”
“We don’t get many visitors anymore. This here is a graveyard. Pretty near 400 years old. From time to time, somebody wants to get buried, but my arthritis is killing my back, so I can’t dig holes the way I used to.”
Seeing a need and a possible job I asked, “Could you use an assistant?”
“Well let me see… the hours would be late at night. You aren’t afraid of the dark, are you?” His grin revealed some cracked teeth and a gold tooth.
“Not the last time I checked, but I’ve never worked in a graveyard before.”
“Let me take you to the superintendent’s shack and have you fill out the requisite paperwork.” He escorted me over the hill and through several fields of holy stones. “Do you see the bell poles near the head stones? If the bell rings, I need to dig em back up. Sometimes the wind blows and the bells ring. It can give a guy an eerie feeling. Let me check on the superintendent. Sometimes he’s not partial to visitors.”
“Come in,” said a gravelly voice and I was confronted by a fat man with white whiskers.
“So, you want a job?”
“Well, this isn’t just any job. I usually don’t have people working for me and the work is rare. Everybody wants to be cremated these days. It pays 500 dollars a body. Do you still want a job?”
“Not very talkative, are you? That’s good because the dead don’t talk too much.”
A week past and I thought about the graveyard. My imagination was turning circles, thinking about what it would be like to put a body under. It was 10:30 at night and I got my first call.
“Gordon has your shovel and body ready. I’ve written some instructions. Get here as fast as you can.”
I rode my bike down the graveyard lane and the shadows looked like they could reach out and grab me. There was a lantern, a shovel and an X marking where to dig and the body lying in a wooden coffin next to the plot. I sunk my shovel into the earth when I noticed lights across the water.