It's always been the little bumps to the usual whispers in the night. The clowns in 2016 were the only chilling event I worried about as they were quite popular around the cemetery. Walking home from the Teen Center, siding along the cemetery has been a common thing since middle school. The most common question I get is if I can sleep at night living next to a cemetery. It really hasn’t flashed into my mind till recently.
It started out as louder whispers and heavy breathing in my ear.
I told my mother on these occurrences. She’d always play it off as paranoia, handing me a crystal-beaded rosary, “ He’ll protect you,” she reassured. The material was glossy plastic and twine.
Laying in the dark, I tried not to have my eyes wander to my closet or the corner of my room. A surge of anxiety caused shivers down my spine. Loud, heavy breathing in my ear and a cold breeze down my neck. In panic, I grabbed my pillows to clog my ears, panic stricken praying as I started tearing up. My vision blurring and blackening started to appear as I kept going. Tightening around my neck...The adrenaline pumping through my body suddenly stopped. The silence was unsettling.
“Your God can’t save you now”
The voice hushed right before I blacked out. That morning, I woke up with the rosary wrapped around my neck.
These nights occurred frequently: paralyzed in fear until passing out or having dreadful dreams of a black silhouette coming closer each night. These dreams would be as if I was in my room and this figure would start off at my doorway, but as the nights go by it gets closer.
“Don’t go to church”
I woke up in a gasp. It was 6:45am. In the car, my mom told me about what we were doing that day, but it turned to static as I look out the side window facing the cemetery. A glimpse of a dark shadow appeared. Blinking, as I rubbed my eyes in dismay. It can’t be real. The moment ended as we drove off.
The mass ended with the usual shaking hands with the priest. He looked into my eyes and dipped his fingers in the holy water, crossing me while whispering a prayer. He took a beautiful pearlescent rosary out of his pocket and put it in my palm. “Remember to say your Hail Marys.”
The breakfast at Grand Burger was a conversation on school and life. My tías laughed as my mother enjoyed time with her sisters. I felt uneasy but I didn’t want to bother her. I toyed with the rosary in my hand thinking, why would he give me it?My abuelita gently grabbed my hand. “¿Estas bien?” my abuelita asked worriedly. I nodded and drank my water. My mind wandered to the figure. I kept my focus down as we passed the cemetery.
After watching another Produce X 101 move stage, I had put my phone down and started to get ready to sleep. It was awfully quiet. Too quiet. I lay in my bed.
“I’m still here”
Emily Mendoza is a junior and has always enjoyed a good horror story. This story is actually one of the first times she has written in the horror genre. Her motivation was from the podcast Something Scary by Snarled and she is honored to have her story read by her peers. Stan NCT!