by Araminta Star Matthews
When Rachel and I met in college, we learned that most of our small town assumed we were the same person. Our hair was the same uncanny shade of red, our skin was equally milky-white, and we both dressed in vintage fur and black velveteen. We became fast friends, counting the footfalls between our studio apartments, and spending late nights together drinking pink champagne in our apartment blanket forts. It seemed we had everything in common.
One Halloween, we decided to dress up and wile away the crisp New England autumn evening dressed in our Gothic finery. Rachel had found a Southern-belle style wedding gown that had been dyed an eerie shade of slate grey, reminiscent of a zombie having dug her way out of the grave. I sported an ankle-length, black velvet vintage dress.
The tower clock in the center of town approached midnight when a look of mischief ignited in her eyes.
“You want to go to the cemetery?” she asked.
Off a side street in this rural, tree-mottled community was a stone-fenced, 12-plot cemetery from the late nineteenth century with large marble stones, which had been nearly lost to the woods that surrounded them. It was a steep hill that led to the cemetery several yards from the road. Well out of view of the streetlamps below, we sat against the largest stone with our backs to the road. A handful of minutes passed when we heard a car door slam below, followed by the faint murmuring of male voices and leaves rustling.
Rachel grabbed my hand. “What do we do?”
I gulped. Two young women trapped alone in a secluded graveyard in the woods? We were both terrified of meeting strangers in a cemetery near midnight on Halloween.
Without a word, I rose, pulling Rachel up with me. Soundlessly, we stepped around the large stone and walked like a pair of bridesmaids in step down the hill. In the moonlight, I could see the two young men had paused, the shadows of their faces betraying dropped jaws and wide eyes.
At that moment, the tower clock chimed, announcing midnight, but we didn’t hear it. We were too frightened as we fled the boys. Reaching the road, we tucked ourselves behind the nearest building, gasping as we heard doors slam and the car peeling out on the road toward us. They didn’t seem to see us as they drove past, but as we made our way home, the car would circle around as if looking for us. We stayed hidden until we finally parted ways, and went to bed.
It wasn’t until the next day that I heard the rumor. I had gone to breakfast at the Student Center. As I speared egg scribbles onto my fork, I happened to catch the conversation of two people at the table next to me.
“. . . and then, at the stroke of midnight, these two pale girls in clothes from, like, a hundred years ago, got up from the cemetery and disappeared. Seriously. We couldn’t find them. Who does that? Do you think they were ghosts? Could that little cemetery be haunted?”
Araminta Star Matthews will be giving away one signed, paperback copy of Blind Hunger. To enter, post a message in the comments section below or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Winners will be chosen at random. Contestants may enter once to be considered for all giveaways, but multiple entries are permitted.
Araminta Star Matthews is the author of Blind Hunger, a zombie apocalypse novel for young adults from Dark Moon Books. She freelances for various publications, including horror shorts in Dark Moon Digest. She teaches writing courses at local colleges and adult education programs in Central Maine, where she lives with her partner, Abner, her whippet, Devo, and her cat, Pandora. For more information about the author or her work, please visit AramintaStar.com.