It was a rainy and cold afternoon in Emerstown. The streets were empty and most houses dark. The heavy rain was the only motion. People driving through the town on their way to the big City would probably have increased the speed. People know there is no such thing as a ghost-town – but tonight, Emerstown proved them wrong.
Inside one of the houses, four boys in their teens stared out the window. Cursing the rain. The boys used to stay outside till late, skateboarding. But not tonight. Bill, Tom and Liam had come over to Matt’s only a few hours earlier – now they had to stay and wait for the rain to calm down. They didn’t want to walk back home in the rain. No one in Emerstown wanted to take a walk that afternoon.
“Alright. I’ve got an idea,’’ Bill said. The boys looked at him. Waiting for him to continue. ‘’Let’s play a game.’’
‘’What sort of game?’’ Matt asked.
‘’I dare you,’’ Bill replied. Liam started shaking his head.
‘’No. It’s boring,’’ he said.
‘’I have never played it, explain it,’’ Tom said, looking interested. Bill grinned.
‘’It’s simple. For example – I say, Tom, I dare you to go out in the kitchen and tell my mum she’s hot.’’
‘’Sounds alright,’’ Matt said as he pulled the curtains down. He had gotten sick of watching rain-drops fall. Liam sighed.
‘’Alright, let’s play,’’ he said and instructed Tom and Matt to sit in a circle.
After hours of playing the game, the boys started running out of ideas. They all became quiet, thinking. Then Bill finally came up with a new one. He smiled as he pointed a finger at Liam.
‘’I dare you, Liam, to go to the grave-yard. Right now. Alone.’’
Liam raised his eyebrows. The others looked at him. Waiting.
‘’Guys. Have you never been to the grave-yard in the dark before?’’ He asked. Bill bit his lower lip. Embarrassed.
‘’Wait. I wasn’t finished,’’ he said. ‘’You also have to…umm…hammer in three nails on top of a grave!’’
Liam frowned. Matt, not quite sure if he would do it himself, swallowed hard. Tom started biting his nails.
‘’Are you serious?’’ Liam asked Bill, hoping he wasn’t. Bill grinned and nodded.
‘’Yep. I dare you.’’
Liam was glad the boys agreed on waiting for the rain to stop. Last thing he wanted was to get soaked on his way to the grave-yard, it normally took about five minutes to walk there from Matt’s place. Liam opened the door. The cold wind instantly made him shiver. He turned around to look at his friends. They were standing behind him. All with a smile on their face. Bill had his arms crossed – Liam thought it looked like he was proud of himself for coming up with the idea.
‘’Come on guys, its bloody cold!’’ He pleaded. Bill shook his head.
‘’Just do it!’’ He laughed. Liam sighed and stepped outside. Bill, Tom and Matt followed him.
Darkness had fallen over the town. The only way one could tell it was a grave-yard they saw in front of them was by the deep black shapes of the church, as well as the headstones. Bill, Tom and Matt stopped as they reached the gate. Liam continued walking.
‘’I can’t believe he’s doin’ it,’’ Matt said.
‘’What if someone catches him?’’ Tom asked. Bill laughed.
‘’No one is going to catch him in the dark silly,’’ he said.
Liam quickly chose a grave and took his hammer and three nails out of his pocket. He got down on his knees and started hammer the nails into the ground. He then raised and noticed he couldn’t move. Frightened – he turned around to see what was holding him down. Nothing. Something or someone was holding his coat, dragging him back. He started to sweat, his heart was beating fast and hard in his chest. He struggled to get his long black coat off him, but he kept on getting stuck.
The remaining three waited for Liam to get back to them. All they could hear was the heavy wind. All they could see was darkness and the shapes of the church. The boys started to get cold and impatient. Bill started walking towards the gate.
‘’What are you doin’?’’ Tom asked.
‘’I’m gonna go get him. I’m freezing,’’ Bill replied and continued walking. ‘’Liam!’’
Matt and Tom waited for what seemed like a very long time before they spotted Bill running back towards them. He looked frightened.
‘’Ok, I couldn’t find him. I’m going back,’’ he said when he had reached them.
‘’We can’t just leave him,’’ Tom said. ‘’Liam!’’
‘’Liam!’’ Matt yelled. Bill shook his head.
‘’He must have gone home. He somehow got passed us, and now he is at home laughing at us. I bet ya!’’ He said. Matt nodded as he tried to warm up his hands by blowing warm air at them.
‘’Ok. Let’s go,’’ Tom said and they all started walking back to Matt’s place. They all went to bed, without knowing what had happened to Liam.
The next morning, Bill could hear his mother cry while she was on the phone. He took his eyes away from the TV and waited for her to come and tell him what was wrong. He had heard her say ‘’I will talk to him straight away,’’ and he knew she meant him. Just as he thought, his mother came out from the kitchen with tears running down her cheeks. She sat down next to Bill on the couch.
‘’I have got horrible news Billy,’’ she said and blew her nose. Bill waited. ‘’It’s Liam, they…they found him this morning,’’
‘’Found him?’’ Bill asked. All the sudden he felt guilty.
‘’Dead. Billy. They found him at the grave-yard. He was stuck to a grave, because someone had hammered him down to the ground, with nails.’’
© M. M. Wedin 2017