Connor’s phone vibrated. A text message from an old friend, Nathan.
“We never did spend the night in the graveyard.”
“Bit random,” replied Connor.
“You remember though?” Nathan asked.
Connor Hamilton and Nathan Lambert, as children, were the best of friends. The boys had often discussed how they thought it would be fun to spend the night in a graveyard. It had started when they were eleven, They knew about a graveyard not too far from school, all the kids knew about it. Everyone at school would think they were so cool if they spent the night there and Nathan would love that, Connor didn’t care about that though. He just wanted to do it for the fun of it. Had they not been separated, they may have gotten round to arranging it. Back then they were inseparable, but then Connor’s mum died under tragic circumstances. Connor, a boy of only thirteen when she passed. It hit him hard, but there is no word that could describe the turmoil in his father’s very being. He couldn’t let his son see how broken he really felt though, he had to be strong for Connor. A fresh start was just what they needed. And so Connor and Nathan parted ways. Time passed, and the boys forgot one another, those boys disappeared and two men took their places. Fifteen years later Connor found Nathan on social media and the two became the best of friends once again. They chatted often about old times, and what they had been up to since. They kept saying to one another that they would meet up in the real world, a long overdue reunion, but life kept getting in the way. Another five years passed. Connor still kept in touch with Nathan on Social Media. The two didn’t chat as often as they once had, but they would catch up every few weeks.
A week passed since the text conversation between Connor and Nathan and now here they both were. Two men in their early thirties sat in the aforementioned graveyard at two in the morning. What were they doing? Revisiting their childhood? Maybe. Freezing their arses off? Definitely. Connor couldn’t help but wonder why he agreed to this. Nathan convinced him into driving fifty-five miles to revisit the home town he grew up in, and his old best friend, that in itself was something he couldn’t fault. It was long over due, but sitting in the old graveyard in the early hours of the morning, the very same place that they often passed as kids, it seemed ridiculous to him. They both switched on the torch functions on their phones and were sat against the wall near some old gravestones which were almost impossible to read.
“Why did I let you talk me into this?” Connor asked, exasperated.
“Because you, my friend, could never resist an adventure.”
“We are grown men now, things have changed.”
“Are we? Separately sure, but together? No. We’re still thirteen.”
“How did you come to that conclusion?” Connor asked, fighting off laughter.
“It’s hard to explain but to me, it’s like we started but we didn’t finish.”
“You’ve lost me.”
“Snakes and Ladders, we played that all the time.”
“So if we had started a game in my house and then you went home...”
“We carried on with the game another day.”
“Exactly, cos our pieces were still on the board.”
“Is there a point to all this?”
“This is our childhood, the game that always mattered the most. Our pieces are still on the board and we’re gonna see it through til the end.”
“I don’t know who’s crazier. you for that speech or me for...”
The conversation was cut short. The two men heard an almighty crash which sounded like a falling tree, but while shocking on its own, what really made Connor and Nathan fearful was the sound of something very large dragging itself across the ground. The sound reminded Connor of a rake being forcefully dug it into the dirt, but it wasn’t quite a match. This didn’t sound metallic, and it seemed much larger. The fear they felt had power, but not enough to paralyse the two men. They headed towards the sound of the dragging with their phones pointing out into the graveyard. A few minutes later they were back at the front of the graveyard and were left scratching their heads when they discovered that the entrance was blocked by a fallen tree. It couldn’t have been there earlier or they wouldn’t have been able to get in. Where did it come from?
The silence didn’t last long. The newly reunited friends heard footsteps coming from the direction in which they had just come, and they were coming fast, they were heavy. This was the point where the men really felt like boys again. Terrified little boys. So frightened they were that they didn’t notice the fallen tree crawl away. It used its roots to pull itself along. Almost like a giant severed hand, but nobody noticed.
Connor and Nathan couldn’t take their eyes off what they were seeing. An old man headed towards them. His skin, pale white, matched only by his long beard, which ended at his stomach. He was dressed in a very smart black suit, emblazoned with shiny gold buttons. He held a large staff which had a broken Victorian style lantern at the tip. He would be a creepy man to encounter in the middle of the night in a graveyard, wouldn’t you agree? Well, take all about him I have mentioned into account and let me now add that he stood at over ten feet tall! Can you imagine such a horrific sight?
The time came when he was stood right in front of the two men. He crouched down on one knee so he could match them in height, or perhaps the lack of it. He smiled, it was an evil smile. A sadistic grin. He had very few teeth and the ones he had were broken and decayed.
“The Crawling came first.” He spoke. His voice was deep and unfriendly.
“Second, I. The Giant sadist from the old realm.”
The men were frightened and were shaking, but Nathan had to ask.
“Death!” Spoke the giant. “Death to all who enter here in the darkest of all hours.”
The two men ran. Connor was first, with Nathan not too far behind. They ran and ran and they didn’t look back and they didn’t look out for one another either. At no point did they think about the entrance, and of how it was suddenly unblocked, it had completely escaped their notice.
They had left the graveyard where they had hoped to spend the night, but had only lasted a couple of hours. The game that Nathan had hoped to finish would not finish that night, nor did it finish any night, for they never communicated again. Unbeknownst to them, they had subconsciously made a silent agreement. Never would they mention that night to anyone. Never would they mention their childhood and the plans they once made. Never again would Connor Hamilton mention Nathan Lambert and vice versa. If either man had been asked about his school days, he would say the past is the past, school time is for little boys, grown men only ever face the future.
If anyone passed the graveyard, the next morning they would have noticed no fallen tree in the grounds at all. They probably wouldn’t have paid any attention at all to the tree that was standing high on the other side of the road, and they definitely wouldn’t have seen anyone on the property. There was nobody around at all, no men and no giant entities either.