Broommates: Grant’s Tomb

Part 20 of the serial Broommates. Start from the beginning or read the previous episode or click the “Broommates” link at the top of the page to see the full list.

* * * * *

As bleak as it had been during the day, at night the old cemetery was washed out under the light of the gibbous moon. All color had been leached away to leave mottled grays and whites, shadows pooling in corners and shifting as the moon moved through the sky. The newer graves were closer to the church and the road, as respectful distance succumbed to space constraints over time.

No shovel was needed; Grant was laid to rest in a family tomb barely within sight of the church, near a copse of trees at the far end of the grounds. After some argument about whether someone should go alone, or in a pair, and no Miranda most certainly would not stay behind thank you very much, it ended up that all five of them skulked about in dark clothes, hoping that no one was looking.

“Are you sure I can’t–” Parker began.

“No!” Miranda whispered. “No illusions. No magic. Grant’s probably laid alarms or traps for that. We can only hope he didn’t expect a more mundane approach.”

“Or that he hasn’t booby-trapped anything because he doesn’t want to draw attention.” Anthony tapped Kitty on the shoulder, and she squeaked. “Sorry,” he said. “See anything yet?”

She shook her head. “Just ghosts. They’re staying pretty far from the tomb, and from the trees.”

“Come on, then.”

The tomb itself was a stone mausoleum, with a single entry door flanked by Grecian columns. Slits carved in the stone on the front walls looked like windows, and the roof was pitched with a simple decorative border beneath. Bare trees reached bony branches toward the sky at regular intervals, but whether they were dead or dormant wasn’t apparent.

Miranda reached into her backpack and produced a packet of glow sticks, which she cracked one by one and distributed. Without a word, they stepped inside.

The first room was a kind of foyer, bare white marble starkly contrasted by a black obelisk in the center, figures carved into the slightly reflective stone. Anthony approached it, running the dim green light he carried over its surface.

“This isn’t any language I know,” he said. “Wish we’d brought Booker.”

“Not enough room in the car,” Miranda murmured, examining the carvings herself. “Looks like Enochian.”

“Do you speak it?”

“I don’t think anyone does.” She leaned closer, peering at the letters that were almost a cross between Greek and Cyrillic. “I had to learn to read it in school but that was years ago. Haven’t seen it since.”

Parker eyed her curiously. “Where did you go to school, anyway? Enochian wasn’t in our course catalogue.”

“Sherwood School for Girls,” Miranda answered primly. “Not that it’s any of your business.”

“Never heard of it.”

“I have,” Anthony said. Miranda frowned at him and he shrugged. “My mom went there.”

Before Miranda could ask, Beatrice held up her light. “Look.” She pointed at a door in the back of the room. Marble like the rest of the walls, but with the barest hint of an outline, and an elaborate iron lock.

“Allow me,” Parker said, producing a set of lock picks from the inside of his jacket.

“No magic, remember!”

He rolled his eyes. “I was doing this before I ever knew how to set a spell, princess prep school. Keep your pleated skirt on.” Within minutes, there was a muffled click and the door swung inward.

Inside was another simple room with a raised dais in the center. This one, however, had writing on the walls that on closer examination proved to be names.

“Bodies or ashes, I wonder?” Anthony whispered. The green light from their glow sticks cast eerie shadows even as it gave their skins a sick pallor.

Miranda searched the names for Grant’s, glancing up to see Kitty standing frozen in the doorway. “Kitty, what is it? What do you see? Is it his family?”

Kitty squeezed her eyes shut. “How could they?” she whispered. “Oh god, it’s disgusting.”

“We’ll be out in a second,” Anthony said soothingly. “We just need to find Grant. Can you see him? Is he here?”

“None of us know what he looks like, genius,” Parker muttered.

“They’re laughing again,” Kitty said. “He’s not here, not here, still not here after all these years… no, not us, too! It’s coming for us.”

The shadows seemed to close in around them, feeble light dimming even further.

“What’s coming?” Miranda asked.

“We have to get out!” Kitty backed away and the others, after exchanging a quick glance, followed her lead. The darkness had grown almost palpable, and now it thickened around them so that every step was more difficult than the last.

Outside, a mournful howl pierced the air.

* * * * *

Part 21: Black Dog

Tags: , ,

6 Responses to “Broommates: Grant’s Tomb”

  1. Wow, so NO ONE’S buried in Grant’s Tomb! Now we know the answer to the age old question!

    The description of the dark closing in, slowing their movements was excellent. Great job of lulling the reader and springing the new pacing on them. Amazing piece.

  2. Xanto says:

    AHH! So if no one is buried there, where is he? I shudder to think about it! Great job! Can’t wait for next week!

  3. Gracie says:

    Eek! Now what? I love the tension you build, and that cliffhanger!

    Another great episode, Valerie. Chewing my nails for the next one now.

  4. ganymeder says:

    I should be mad at you for keeping me in suspense but I’m not. Well done. 🙂

  5. Lena S. says:

    Great descriptions and I’m desperate to know what disgusted Kitty so. I’m looking forward to the next installment.

  6. Dad says:

    Run Forrest Run!

Leave a Reply