Drama Fiction Inspirational

This tale opens on a foggy October afternoon in the year 1921 inside of the massive Erie Manor. A monumental estate made of stone and situated upon the 125-acre grounds of the Erie Cemetery in the Village of Erie in upstate New York. Our players are Mabel and Herman Morgan a lovely young couple and caretakers for the Cemetery. Mabel is a pale faced freckled girl of 28 with auburn hair.

Mabel peered out of the gothic shaped windows of the Erie Manor she called home. It was a gloomy autumnal day. Thick mist snaked through the abundant foliage, and she could barely see. Her eyes strained as she pulled her black shawl tightly to shield her bones from the chill. Just as she gave up looking Mabel felt a hand on her shoulder. She let out shrill shriek! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

“Mabel are you okay!?”

She slumped into the wooden window seat.

“Herman, you scared me half to death!”

“Darling, I didn’t mean to. You’re so jittery lately. I just wanted you to know I’ll be busy on the grounds till dusk, we have an early committal service in the morning, and I’ll need to prepare for the burial.”

“Oh dear, I was just looking for you when you crept up on me. I wasn’t expecting you. I’m okay though, just a bit startled. There is bowl of vegetable soup for your lunch in the kitchen.”

“Mabel you should be taking it easy. The Dr. said you shouldn’t be on your feet too much. Please get some rest and I’ll be back in the evening. A warm meal will suit me just right though. Thanks. Now off you go!”

Herman motioned Mabel up the stairs. She reluctantly clambered up the squeaky staircase. As she reached the landing, she turned to look back at Herman who stood watching her imperiously. Mabel let out an irritated sigh and continued up the stairs. When she got to the landing, she skirted the corner and stood waiting for Herman to continue. She heard his footfalls in the kitchen for a few moments as he grabbed his soup and took it with him. He was always in a hurry being one of a small team of grounds keepers at the Erie Cemetery. Even though Herman was the caretaker in charge he still put in twice as much work as any one man on his crew. He took pride in keeping the cemetery manicured and beautiful. 

           Mabel loved this about him, but she also enjoyed doing as she pleased and was especially headstrong. Today she had planned to crochet a sweater, but she was restless. Deciding she needed some fresh air even though a heavy mist clung to it. Mabel clambered back down the stairs and grabbed her hooded cape. 

She poked her head out the heavy oak door to survey the land for Herman. He was nowhere in sight, so she scrambled down the stone steps and out onto one of the many bricked pathways that lined the 125-acre cemetery. Knowing where the newest interments were going, Mabel went the opposite direction to avoid Herman. She headed south towards a gradual incline. She admired all the brilliant autumn leaves that had collected at the base of the trees and around some of the tombstones. The brick path led her way as she waddled along. Mabel loved her home inside the cemetery grounds. It was hauntingly cozy. She knew that most of the town's folk from the village of Erie thought she was a very strange woman. She had never minded what people thought of her before, and she wasn't about to start now as she embarked on a new life. There was a new life inside of her. It had grown every day for the last 9 months. Her belly was swollen, and she was enormous. Having spent the last part of this year nesting, Mabel was grateful for the fresh crisp air. Her black leather boots clicked on the bricks as she continued to meander along.  

Granite mausoleums dotted the winding path up the grassy knoll. Gnarled branches of enormous elm trees reached into the fog as if beckoning the tomb stones.  The mausoleums were extraordinary. Each crypt more impressive than the last. Doors embellished with brass ironwork in art nouveau and delicate stained-glass windows. Mabel wandered up the hill admiring each beautiful monument to the dead. She reached a massive vault at a plateau with a small grove of oaks surrounding it. It was a two-story structure made of a dark granite stone. No name was carved on the exterior. A covert monument to undying love. The enormous crypt held only one casket, that of Pearl Dust. Pearl was a scandalously popular silent film actress who died prematurely when she inadvertently drank poison. It was her husband’s medicine for syphilis. She thought it was sleeping tonic. She went to her early grave in agony the year prior, 1920. Mabel stood admiring the granite tribute. The mausoleum was commissioned by Pearls husband Max Bradford. They were both wild silent film stars. 

Lost in thought, Mabel pondered how awful it was for Pearl to have died so cruelly and so young. She was only 25 and in the prime of her career.   Her eyes drifted to the imposing brass door. She jumped back suddenly aware that it was open. There was a large metal key in the lock. Unable to control her curiosity Mabel walked slowly towards the door and peeked in.  There were stained glass windows on three of the walls with a motif of beautiful blue birds. A large alter was filled with burning candles. Two large cement urns flanked the alter and were overflowing with wildflowers. A massive, framed photo of Pearl in a white dress and smiling serenely was above the altar. 

“Hello!?” Mabel called out.

           “Yes, I’m up here.” A woman’s voice echoed.

Mabel started climbing the stone steps. She walked carefully and clung to the metal railing with one hand and placed the other hand protectively over her stomach as she ascended. As she reached the top, she surveyed the room having never seen the inside before. A balcony style room overlooked the alter room. There were French doors of glass and brass to the left. A large cement casket was in the center of the room with stone benches along the walls. A large circular light with candles all around it hung above the casket. The woman beckoned. She was clad in a loose bohemian dress in a burnt orange with navy embroidery. A navy scarf was wrapped around her head and her dark bobbed hair stuck out slightly. She stuck out her hand, but when Mabel stuck out hers the woman felt her stomach. Mabel stepped back quickly. 

           “You are with child. And it is coming soon. Your son will arrive in 5 days’ time. Your labor will be long and arduous, but you and your baby boy will both be healthy and live a long joyous life. You surrounded by children, many children, grandchildren too. You will be the center of a vibrant amazing family. Your family will be prosperous. Your husband will take a risk investing in additional land and that risk will turn into a bountiful reward. I see your family joined with a powerful family, be careful this union is unavoidable, but it could bring a darkness with it. Temper the time spent with this family by helping those less fortunate as much as possible. This will offset the negativity. Stay away from the seashore in the month of August or you will regret it.”

Mabel swallowed trying to comprehend all the woman had said. She stared deep into the woman’s dark eyes.

Suddenly her mouth broke into a sheepish smile. 

“I am sorry, my name is Mia. I am Pearl’s mother, and I am a bit clairvoyant. I cannot stop the flood of visions once they start, and it is easier to acknowledge the vision and move on than to suffer it in silence. I hope you don’t mind. I must say that my visions are highly accurate. I even knew Pearl would die young, I tried to warn her, but Pearl was nothing if not headstrong, she didn’t heed my advice ever. She called it hoodoo. If only….” Mia trailed off. 

“I don’t mind at all. That was lovely. Truly lovely. I’ll take any reassurance I can get.” Mabel said rubbing her stomach. “I am so sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you, it never seems to cease being painful.” Mia said quietly as she placed her hand on the cement casket longingly. She seemed lost.

           “It was such a pleasure meeting you, Mia. I’ll leave you to your visit now. Thank you for your kind words. I can’t express what they have meant to me.”

 “Likewise.” Mia replied.

Mabel set off excitedly towards the Erie Manor. Only 5 more days! She felt a kick in her stomach as she walked through the overcast cemetery. A tombstone caught her eye. Memento Mori read the epitaph. How odd Mabel thought. A life was about to come forth from her and yet here she was surrounded by all this death.

September 30, 2023 03:46

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Kathryn Kahn
20:32 Oct 05, 2023

I like the image of the pregnant woman in a cemetery, such a rich metaphor. I liked when she entered the crypt and suddenly had her fortune told. That really carried me along.


Luna Newman
23:03 Oct 06, 2023

Really!? I'm so incredibly flattered by your kind comment. You really made my day :) thank you so much 🖤


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Rose Lind
23:02 Sep 30, 2023

Death and new life come from the same place.


Luna Newman
23:41 Sep 30, 2023

So true. A circle. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Your too kind.


Rose Lind
23:59 Sep 30, 2023

I'm trying to connect to writers of similar style. I think ppl when they are pregnant are more open to spiritual things and other worlds.


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