13 - Stones

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     "S-stones!" you say quickly.
     The creepy woman's eyes widen slightly. "Interesting," she says.
      Suddenly, the dark room flickers away and you're all standing in a dark, cold graveyard. Your companion panics, tears coming from her terrified eyes.
     "I hate graveyards," she says.
     "Of course you do, Kelly," the woman says.
     Your eyes narrow. "That's your name? How does she know your name?"
     "I don't know," she replies with a shrug. "I don't remember my name. I did, but...this place...I keep forgetting-"
     "Okay, it doesn't matter. At least we're out of that room."
     "Don't get excited. You're not free yet, little mouse," she says with a loud cackle. "There's a barrier around the cemetery. To get out, you must find Lowell Thornton's grave stone, dig up the grave, and present to me what you find."
     A sickening feeling creeps into your stomach. "You want us to dig up a-a grave? That's sick!"
     A gothic looking clock appears in the air and starts ticking. Two shovels appear at your feet.
     "Better get started! Lowell likes to move around. He's a restless kind of spirit," she says and laughs loud. Then she burst into smoke and her mirth lingers a moment before fading out.
     You stand rooted to the spot for a moment, looking around the dead silent place for a way out. The ground is uneven, as if it's shifted and sunken in through the years. The stones are old, mossy and hard to read. There are so many, you don't think you could find any specific one. Kelly is whimpering and your breaths are uneven. 
     Soft moans begin to sound from somewhere below. In the split second that realize it's coming from beneath the grass and dirt, hands plunge through the ground and are grabbing at the air. One happens to grip your ankle. Kelly screams with you and helps pull you away. More hands dig their way out of the ground and the moans grow louder all around. You back up and almost fall over the shovels.
     "Get it," Kelly sobs. She picks up her own shovel. "If these things get out of the ground, I don't think I can stand it. Let's get this game over with."
     You agree. "But what's the name again?"
     "I think it was Lowell Thornton."
     "He's the first owner isn't he? The one whose wife died and he went insane and killed all six of his kids, right?" you ask while you weave in and out of gravestones. Your path is cut off when a new pair of dead, dirt caked hands shoot up from the ground.
     "W-w-wrong way?" Kelly guesses shakily.
     Meanwhile the clock seems to follow you wherever you go, hovering above, counting down. You assume the only red mark in a sea of black marks is your time limit. You've got a little under a few hours to find and dig this grave up. You look out into the sea of gravestones again. It looks hopeless. Then the ground begins to shake. 
     Both Kelly and you are knocked off your feet as the earth beneath you grumbles and shifts. A decrepit hand mere inches from your face grasps at the ground around it, almost touching you. You shout and roll over out of it's reach. The ground finally stops moving, leaving you with a renewed need to get the hell out of there.
     "Lets get started," you say.
     You search grave after grave. The stones are hard to read. You're squinting at a tough one when you hear Kelly gasp.
     "What?" you ask. She's standing stock still and doesn't answer. You waste no time in rushing toward her.
     She's standing at a gravestone. It looks newer than the others. Likely because it's a better quality. The name reads Thornton. They were loaded with cash when alive. The condition of the gravestone isn't what caught Kelly's attention, however. There's a photo at the top. It's behind a frame, but still has a slight weathered look. The image is of Kelly. The name below says Kelly Thornton.
     "You've got to be kidding me!" you shout. "What are you?"
     Kelly looks at you, fear in her green eyes. "I'm dead," she says. "I...I don't remember anything!" She's clearly upset and on the verge of a breakdown. But you don't have time for this right now.
     "Please, help me," you say. "Please, let's just get out of here, then I'll help you find out what happened to you.
     She's clearly still upset, but she nods in agreement. "I know where he is," she says. "I just remembered that his favorite spot to lay is near the rose bushes."
     You try to ignore the odd way she phrased it and the fact that you're hanging out with a ghost or ghoul...or zombie? Whatever she is, you need her to dig now. You run over to the graves near the rosebush and sure enough, there lies Lowell Thornton. His photo is of a hardened looking man. Stern jawed and cold eyes. His stare makes your blood run cold.
"Do we really have to do this?" you grumble.
Kelly starts to dig, though she looks troubled. You start digging as well.
"Hey," you say. "Are you...okay? I mean except for...being dead?"
"I will be okay," she says, hardening her stare at the task at hand. "Let's just dig this asshole up."
"Is he-is he your dad?"
"If that's what you want to call him..."
By now, your arms are already getting tired and sweat is starting to form on your forehead. You push on, digging quickly while the clock ticks loudly. The moans continue all around you. Hands are still reaching out of the ground all over the place, their owners still smothered in dirt and worms. It's hard to ignore them.
Finally, your shovel hits something hard.

     Finally, your shovel hits something hard

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Please wait for chapter 17 - Stones cont.

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