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Beyond The Cemetery
Beyond The Cemetery
I became somewhat ill after writing this. A mysterious house next to a cemetery. Strange shadows . Feel free to criticize.
Published by Mr.Plores
Beyond The Cemetery

The location had been visited by me several times during my adolescence, as it was located between the decrepit apartment complex in which I grew up and my high school. The particular neighborhood, had wide streets that were flanked by rows of oak trees planted on each side of the road, which in summer made for a shady place to walk and forget the foolish and (in hindsight) insignificant perils of young age. The houses were big and decadent. Dilapidated Victorian villas and baroque mansions of theatrical grandeur adorned the wide streets. The inhabitants senility and dementia infused the houses with an aura of innocent insanity. This was apparent in many ways, some of them subtle, like an abandoned teddy bear in an unmowed, brown lawn. Others, way more obvious, like the low moans that could be heard from the resident’s houses sometimes, calling for families that had all but forgotten them. The majority of the people that lived there were old and very taciturn. Very few times do I remember seeing one of these residents, cast so much as a glance towards me when I made my trips to and from school through those enchanting streets. For some people, that type of evasiveness in the part of the neighbours would have been seen as nothing but a sign of open hostility, but for me, a passionately withdrawn person, it was perceived as a graceful sign of welcoming. It was then, as a consequence of the reserved nature of the residents of the area, that an eerie stillness, a cryptic silence was created, which made the buzzing and noise of the city dissolve into a hypnotizing humming in the background. Thus, I could enjoy the singing of the birds and appreciate the beautiful decadence of the neighbourhood in peaceful quietness. But it was not the quiet atmosphere itself that attracted me to this peculiar place, but rather, the interesting feeling of desolation and abandonment that surrounded many of the houses, and specially, the condemned old graveyard behind the house I bought.

I had visited the graveyard many times. Specially during the autumn, when the trees were bare and the dilapidated headstones were covered in yellow and brown leaves. I used to sit in a wooden bench, next to one of the mausoleums and read the work of my favorite fiction writers. I remember warmly those evenings after school when I would read for hours and during small breaks, I would lay my book aside on the bench and watch the small birds, flutter their wings and clean themselves on a puddle of muddy water, which had formed under the monotonous drip of a rusting faucet or perhaps admire the crumbling statues of cherubs and angels which adorned so many of the graves and mausoleums. The statues, still maintained their essential shape after centuries of decay. Half a wing there, half a face there, a moldy stone arm lying lifeless on the grass. It all made for a particularly grotesque but beautifully engineered vista. A shrine to forgotten lives. I often thought, even as a child ,of the many ways in which we in our civilized society, use foliage and nature to hide the grim reality of our own mortality. As if planting trees in a burial ground, in some way diminished the horror that death induces in our minds. That fear of eternal non-existence. With foliage around, it was as if life and death were intertwined forever. A permanent cycle of mortality and birth.

The cemetery was located in such a position that it was mainly surrounded by the villas and mansions. It looked as if some supernatural and willful entity had one day, in a spur of creative madness, had placed a burial ground there, one night, hundreds of years ago. I can only speculate, given the almost non-existent amount of historical data that I could find on the origins of the cemetery, that when it first was built, no one thought that the area around the cemetery would end up as residence for a decaying aristocracy. Most of the people that lived around the cemetery constructed high and solid walls in the part of their backyards that faced the cemetery. I can only assume that people never had the ability to feel joy at the vista of a burial place, so close to their homes. They built walls to hide that terrible reminder of their mortality. But who can blame them?
However, there was one particular house in which its residents never erected a solid wall to hide the headstones and the decrepit mausoleums. The house had nothing but a normal chain link fence, through which one could easily admire the eerie calmness and solitude of the place where the dead rest.

The real estate agent, had at first tried to downplay the existence of a condemned graveyard, on the other side of the backyard. Stupidly arguing that the city had planned for it to be demolished in order to make place for a new residential area. Saddened by this fact, my conviction grew larger in the fact that the house was indeed the correct investment, as life is too short and one must try and enjoy the beautiful things in life when the possibility arises. The real estate agent, seemed especially eager to emphasize the fact that the person that had lived there before had been a bit of an eccentric. The previous owner had been a renown professional taxidermist and practiced his work at home. Proof of this was the peculiar and pungent chemical smell which covered the house. I noticed that this smell, bothered most people, as many visitors during the open houses I attended when evaluating my purchase, had to cut their visits short, due to strange and unexplainable, sudden illnesses which affected their bowels and head. This was a highly unfortunate downside, the real estate agent explained, but it could be solved effectively by contracting a company to do a thorough cleaning of the house before my arrival. I quickly shoved aside those recommendations as I, if the reader has not understood it yet, saw it as another perfectly good excuse for keeping people outside rather than inside. I explained the real estate agent, that any cosmetic or odour-related inconveniences that clearly affected the residence were nothing but mere details, compared to the great affective value that I had for this area, and its special atmosphere. That said, we closed the deal that same day.

Opposite to what most people do, I did not hire a company to move in my belongings the day I moved in. The little I owned could easily be handled by a few car trips. The former owner of the house had left quite a deal of his belongings and furniture left, as he was heirless, no one ever claimed any of his earthly possessions. The furniture that was in the house was in a very decent shape, although it would certainly not live up to the standards of modern homes, it still emanated a feeling of decades old coziness and abandonment, which in my mind only added to the house's special charm. The kitchen was practical and spacious, the living room was adorned with wooden panels in the walls, upon which several shelves filled with dusty books rested. The couches and tables were all covered with dusty sheets. In the weak light of early morning, they looked like sand dunes in a desert or perhaps protoplasmic shapes, created during a spiritist seance. There also was a fireplace and a rocking chair on which I sat for a few minutes and whimsically whistled a tune while rocking back and forth like a child in a sugar rush. The second floor had no furniture, except from the one room, which I assume was the taxidermist’s private sleeping quarters. It was spartanly adorned, besides from the obligatory bed and closet which still contained his clothes and shoes. I gazed upon this man belongings for a few moments and I immediately felt a voyeuristic shame. It was a shame or obfuscation which came from the fact that the man’s most private belongings had not been removed and there I stood, looking idiotically at them. Filled by this sense of post mortem snooping, I quickly grabbed a garbage bag and filled it with the man’s clothes and shoes. I disposed of those items. After some thought, I decided that it would be better if I threw away the bed too. Who knew were the taxidermist had died and I did not specially cherish the thought of sleeping in a putrid corpse’s dried fluids.

It is strange, the way in which objects and environments look when you are left alone in their presence. The objects seeming somewhat larger and menacing, as if they were invigorated by the lack of human presence. I stood at the top of the stairs, about to go back to the first floor and continue unpacking. I glanced down at the entrance hall and saw the strange geometrical and coloured shapes that came through the glass in the windows. Strange triangles, circles and rectangles, intermingled with the shadows of the trees outside reflected on the dirty wooden floor. I finally realized that the house was mine, and that I was at its mercy. Its existence seemed so much bigger than my own. I felt as if the walls had hundreds of years worth of stories to tell me. An atmosphere of perpetual movement existed in this house. It was movement that existed independent of human eyes and cognition. I felt that each room of the house hid secrets I would never see, and whispered strange sounds that I would never understand. From inside the house, the colored glass on the windows distorted light and shapes so that they lost their normal appearance but retained their initial form. The cars and houses looked like a blindman’s vision of a car and a house. Misshapen, distorted. Even the few people that walked by the front of the house, walked following a spasmodic, uneven rhythm, as if it was a parody of bipedal movement. A couple of times I had to venture outside and take a good look up and down the street, just to make sure that what I saw from the inside was not reality, but merely a mirage created by my overactive imagination.

I checked the basement, which I had seen together with the realtor a few days ago. Again, that thought from earlier raced through my mind: “*It is strange how different things look when you are alone in their presence*”. The door to the basement was close to the entrance hall. A chain hanging from the ceiling turned the lights on and the stone staircase took me down that barely illuminated grotto beneath the house. My imagination, ran wild with each step I took. Childish thoughts of black hands grabbing my ankles from the solid stone as I walked, appeared in my head. I thought of images of disembodied, diamonical, white faces floating from the darkened pit below, laughing maniacally. Not strangely, I did feel a slight shiver down my spine when I turned around and saw that the door behind me and out of the basement had closed itself, not completely, but just enough so that the only light that illuminated my path was from the old lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling.

Once I stepped into the basement I saw the metal table which had been there before. The basement felt oddly colder than a basement should be. It smelled sweetly of humidity and immediately noticed small drops of condensation dripping from the walls. The presence of that metal table was seemed as unnatural as the artificial light that illuminated the room. With careful steps I moved towards it. Its surface was polished clean, and above it, there was a special halogen lamp, hanging from the barren stone ceiling from a single wire. It too was turned on by a chain hanging to the side of it. I turned it on and I was partially blinded as the strong light reflected from the polished surface of the table and into my eyes. I closed my eyes and covered them with my hands, quickly turning the light off. I looked around me but I could only see dark spots. I stood there rubbing my eyes, listening to the faint electric humming coming from the light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Once I regained my ability to see, I noticed a peculiar round hole under the table in the floor. It was covered by a metal grill. It was a drain. Perhaps, this was the place where the taxidermist used to work? it certainly appeared so as I realized that the smell of the chemicals I mentioned earlier was much stronger here. I must have trembled and lost my composure there for a bit, as the realization of where I was started to sink in.

Why was the table big enough for a person to lay on it?

I ran out of that basement and as I walked up the stairs, I prayed for that door to be open. I did not dare to look behind me and see those black hands shooting up from the stone or the disembodied faces laughing. My imagination was indeed working very hard.

I quickly closed the door behind me. Made sure the bolt had been locked in place firmly. I decided to walk to the backyard and admire the sight of the cemetery for a little while while I regained my composure. I poured myself a glass of whisky and sat down on an old sofa on the porch. The day had developed into an early midday and as the hot autumn sun, moved slowly across the sky, I could feel the heat warming my hands and slowly working its way up to my face. After some minutes, the alcohol and the warmth from the sun must have dulled me into some kind of drowsy stupor, because I fell asleep. During the minutes I was asleep, several visions appeared in my subconscious. I will not call them dreams, the use of that word, I believe, is reserved only for sequences of actions where I could at least to some extent interact with the pictures in my head. These visions were vignettes. Still pictures of some alien dream-world.

The first picture represented an embalmed corpse, dressed with a yellow blouse and a long wooden skirt. From its head, where white bare bone is visible in patches and the skin is thin as paper,there are some threads of wispy black hair, it barely covers the corpses head. Some of the hair falls down lifeless and covers the empty eye sockets. The corpse is sitting in a wooden chair, which substance is of such feebleness, that it looks as it would crumble with the slightest wind. On its lap, there sits the mummified corpse of an infant that sits grotesquely, with two bony arms holding around the first corpse. It is dressed with a bonnet and a stained, brown child’s gown. The child mummy, is seated in such a position in which it embraces the first corpse and appears to be suckling on the first corpses dried breast, which I now notice is uncovered and bare. Both figures are mother and child, grotesquely and post-mortem posed in an abhorrent mockery of love.
The image disappears and a new one appears in its place. This picture is more like a short film. It is shown in the first person. In which I see through the eyes of some unknown entity. The first feeling imposed upon me during this vision, is heavy, uneven breathing, as if looking through the eyes of a moribund. It starts with complete darkness. The only thing I can feel is a slight movement as if walking up some stairs. The air is thick and foul. A miasmic smell emanates from whichever putrescent abyss this vision is from. After some minutes of motion, I see some stone stairs surrounded by grey walls, which are illuminated by the glow of a weak light. The image walks towards the light. The sensation of going up those stairs continues and I see that when the top of the flight of stairs is reached, there is a dark room. The details of the room are at that moment unknown because the vision is only fixated on that single metal door. Through a small rectangular opening in the metal door in front, weak daylight pours in and showers the room in a sad and pale yellow light. The images show the inside of a mausoleum, in which there are four niches on each side. On each niche there is a coffin on which each lid has been opened to some extent. From some of them a bony hand can be seen hanging, from others, the pale contour of a skull can be seen, remnants of clothes, the withered glow of a caskets lining. Strewn around on the floor there are black and white pictures, framed in rusting metal. There are dried flowers and an old shoe.The vision moves towards the metal door, which is slightly opened, leaving just a thin gap. Daylight floods the mausoleum and the images show a very familiar view. Dilapidated headstones, crumbling statues and in the distance I see the backyard of a house. In that backyard, there is a man sleeping on an old couch. It is me.

The vision instilled in me a feeling of total confusion. I blamed them at first on the alcohol, from which I had not consumed that much, as the glass was on the wooden floor of the porch, barely touched. I sat up and felt the sun warming my face, I looked at the eerie stillness of the old graveyard. I looked at the trees that danced so elegantly, pushed around by the warm summer air.
I thought about the taxidermist and I thought about his loneliness. I did not know the man and I had never seen him during my periods of vigil and reading in the graveyard, many years ago. But I could feel that something separated us, that we were not the same. When I bought the house I felt a connection with the former owner, a connection that evoked feelings I could not piece together to a coherent thought, but perhaps I wanted to think that somebody who owned a house which lay next to graveyard, perhaps had that same innocent love for that which is unseen, but felt, for the uncanny and the absurd. But it was not the case. The taxidermist had a wish that had not been fulfilled. He had been a lonely man, not because he wanted to, but because his abhorrent thoughts made him so. Whatever the taxidermist had done while alive in this house, it had permeated the walls and the floor, the windows and the living room. Every nook and cranny of the house was drenched in an astoundingly perverse aura which I did not feel completely comfortable with.

These thoughts raced through my mind while I sat in the porch. I looked in front of me and past the fence and the first gravestones and looked to one of the mausoleums in the distance. I felt a cold shiver, when I thought I had seen a dark shadow in the distance looking at me, from the half open door of an old, crumbling mausoleum.

I decided I had enough for one day, and retreated to the house. Back to the dusty furniture, and the strange geometrical patterns on the floor.

It was later that day. The sun was a lot lower in the sky and the strange colors and patterns had moved across the living room floor and were now showing the artistry in all its splendor on the walls of the house. I was in the kitchen when the doorbell rang. I could barely hear it at first, as my mind was fixated on clumsily trying to fix a dripping faucet. I had put on some music on my little portable radio, trying to dim the encroaching feeling of anxiety that the house had evoked in me.

I went reluctantly to greet my first visitor. through the colored glass of the entrance door, I could see a disfigured shape of unknown sex. I opened the door just a few centimeters and showed my face through the small gape to my visitor.

A woman in her sixties or seventies was standing in front of me. Her face was deformed to an absurd extent by the heavy makeup. An obvious red wig was on top of her tiny head and in one of her hands she held a burning cigarette. She was dressed extravagantly, as if she had decided to wear all her jewelry for this meeting.

“Hello Dear!” the woman said with a coarse feminine voice, dulled by years of what probably was chain smoking.

“Hello..” I uttered through the crack in the door.

“I wished to welcome you to the neighbourhood. I saw you carrying things back and forth from that little car outside. May I come in?” The woman said and as she finished the last sentence, a smile appeared that showed crooked and yellowing teeth.

I hesitated for a couple of seconds. But her slender frame pushed past me and shoved me inside. The door closed behind her. I stood motionless during a couple of seconds as I realized that I had let an old hag destroy the peacefulness of my new home. Annoyed at the stranger and confused by her rudeness I said, not without sarcasm and annoyance: “Hello there, my name is John” I stretched my hand but she did not extend her’s.

“Hi John, good to have you in the neighbourhood”. She looked curiously around and continued. “I see that you bought Paul’s house, he was a lovely man, although a little bit strange”. “So I’ve heard” I said unconvinced and followed the old lady to the kitchen, she moved around with nimble movements, despite her advanced age, and she walked with a strange, unnerving confidence.

“My name is Cynthia” as she said this she took a seat by the dinner table on the kitchen. “I knew Paul very well. We were close, many years ago you see?” I nodded silently. Her face turned solemn and melancholic. I had was disarmed by that specific change in her body language. All of a sudden I did not any longer feel violated, but rather honored that another person would open themselves up to me in such a manner. Any intentions I might have had about throwing her out, dissipated in a cloud of shame and curiosity.

“Me and Paul were together for many years” she lit up a cigarette. “But Paul had many issues, too many issues for any sane man to survive. Mainly I think it was this house and that horrifying abomination behind it” I assumed she was referring to the cemetery and I cast a quick glance to the wall on the backyards direction, as if I could see through it.

“What makes you think so?” I asked, sitting on a chair across the table. “He changed, we had a fine relationship, but he had so many obscure interests. At first it was taxidermia, that I could live with just fine. It is a pretty grotesque profession if you ask me. Trying to maintain alive that which has died..” I could not have agreed more with the statement. She took a long drag from her cigarette, looked at me with sad eyes and continued, “Then, after some months, he wanted a family, but I could not give it to him. My womb is and has always been barren. When I told him that, he went into a deep depression. You must understand, Paul was a good guy, but he was not handsome and he knew it, he knew that I was pretty much the best he could do. When I met him the first time I felt sorry for him, so lonely… it was just him and his books. He hated people but there was something about him that made me feel in love with him from the moment I saw him. He did not have much self-esteem. Even if he was a highly regarded taxidermist, the best in the state… But something changed when he realized that I was not able to give him a family. He started reading these terrible books about incantations and necromancy...terrible things. He started wandering alone on that cemetery, talking to the headstones, to the statues” She started sobbing and the charms and rings on her hands made funny clinking sounds as she held her clown face in her hands, again, I felt nothing but sorry for the old woman. “He started to say things about stealing a baby and running away, to Canada or Mexico” She was crying loudly now “He even said that he wanted to revive a dead baby. A dead baby!” As she said those last three words she looked at me and I could see her tear-stricken face, the runny makeup that made ghastly cascading shapes down her old, leathery cheeks. I must have been paralyzed by the absurdity of the entire situation. Yet, despite the absurdity and awkwardness of the situation I could not help but feel that this conversation had a deeper meaning, as if the same force that attracted me to this house had also attracted this poor woman to me and that together we were playing our parts in a bigger scheme.

“I am so sorry, I didn’t know...I just bought the house..” I clumsily replied, and as if following the instructions in some manual for human relationships, I awkwardly tried to put an arm across her shoulders and handed her a handkerchief to wipe the tears. “No I am the one that should be sorry, I shouldn’t have told you any of this” As she said those words, she stopped the sobbing and grabbed my hand with one of hers firmly. She grabbed my hand with a strength that I did not think possible with those fragile, veiny and wiry hands. “You must never, do as he did. When I saw what he had done, I wanted to kill myself. I could not live through it any longer. Paul had gone too far. He had seen beyond the cemetery and beyond life. He found consolation in depravity, pleasure in the unspeakable. Whatever he brought back from the cemetery, permeates this house. Do not do what he did” All the time while those words were uttered I looked in her eyes and she looked into mine. I was hypnotized by some remnants of beauty that laid hidden beneath layers of horror and sadness. I heard her message, but I could not really understand it. The only sound to come out of my mouth was a pathetic and dishonest “Yes”. As if out of some trance, the woman rose up from the chair. With her hands she wiped the last remnants of tears from her face. The make-up had been smeared so badly that her face looked like a living Picasso. She hugged me and before leaving me alone in this house, a few words came out of the dried hole in her face “I will be better now, you will be better now. Paul, wherever he is, he too will be better now my dear.” She waved a hand at me and a feeling of horror and disgust filled me when I saw her smeared face, the yellow teeth, the crooked wig on her head.
I sat there in the kitchen by myself. Confused and disoriented. Wishing my presence somewhere else, in some other life in another world. With an unconscious movement I grabbed my handkerchief from the table. For some moments I stared at it and then the horror sank in. It materialized in the shape of a gaping mouth and wide-open eyes. I suddenly realized that the door had not made any sound when she exited the house. The horror became greater once I saw that my handkerchief was perfectly clean when I looked at it. .

I ran up and down that street for hours. Unhinged, crying and screaming. Knocking on doors, asking the neighbours about this extravagantly clad woman which had visited me earlier during the day. The only response I received from my dear taciturn neighbours, were muted faces, empty eyes staring aimlessly past me, gaping imbecile mouths, mumbling incoherent words. I was dominated by a terrible sense of fear and confusion. But even worse was the horrendous and macabre curiosity that the recent encounter and the visions I had earlier during the day had awakened.

The days passed by. Each moon would fade into a sun and the stars disappeared into the grey dullness of the sky. I barricaded myself in the loneliness of my house, protected by the dancing colors that adorned my walls. I felt tainted by something. But that was only the feeling I had at first. That same feeling then morphed into a cheerful acceptance of coming enlightenment. Any desire I might ever had about leaving leaving my new house had disappeared. The heavy and electric psychosphere of this structure had taken a hold on me and it felt right. It felt completely adequate to be numbed by wandering thoughts and isolation . My daily routine mutated into some kind of absurd and futile attempt at a normal life. But part of me knew that sitting on the porch, looking at the cemetery from dusk to dawn, dreaming of subterranean miasmic chambers and bone-filled niches was not something a sane man would do. Neither was it normal to stand in the middle of the living room, drooling, as I stared at the ever shifting geometries of those wildly colored shapes formed on the wooden floor of my house

At least I got some reading done, as I soon found, as if guided by a force wiser than me, Paul’s taxidermia books. The intellectual growth I experienced through that period was unparalleled with anything I had experienced before. Never did I think that I could find such pleasure in a task so mundane, as the manipulation of dead matter. I immersed myself in the beautiful art of bringing back life from rotting flesh. I honed my skills practicing with the plethora of wildlife that could be found meandering the house and the cemetery. I learned how to get rid of the fat so just the hide would be left. I learned how to quarter and skin, how to boil the bones and clean them. After some time, I had managed to pose squirrels and rats in many positions. Sometimes I would pose them wearing tiny hats and suits. Rats were my favorites as their small paws are so nimble and fragile that they are almost human-like, allowing me to manipulate them you see, in the most human forms and poses. It is the details that really make all the difference. The small nuances in the positioning of the limbs, that really bring forth the vividity and beauty in the finished product.

My many works of art soon adorned every corner of the house. To this day I wonder, how I managed to sleep well, despite the horrible croaking and moaning that sometimes came from the cellar and the attic. It all started that same evening in which the old woman visited me. Something changed in me that day. I finally felt as I belonged somewhere. But it felt as if she had left something behind her. A remnant of a past life. A ghost from another time.
It was then, only during the night. That I could hear the croaking and moaning coming from the basement and the attic. Sometimes very vague, almost a low moaning, hypnotizing, like the wail of a siren. Other times it would be a shrill scream, piercing through the concrete and wood that separated me from the source of the sound itself. Most of the time I would just lay in my bed, with the covers over my head, giggling with joy as those signs of life that existed where they should not. Signs of life and its unavoidable suffering.

The visions and vignettes too appeared more often in my dreams. At first, only sporadic, intermingled with the normal vague images of the subconscious. Sometimes I would see myself riding a bus to some unknown place. Through the windows I could only see a grey fog that covered what looked like ever-green foliage. For some reason I would walk to the driver to ask him where we were headed. Almost all the time, the only answer that came from him, were the dry groans of a mummified corpse dressed as a driver. Other times, the dreams would develop into insanely unreal sequences of nightmarish pictures in which decomposed bodies danced to the sounds of a carnival or they sat in a restaurant, immaculately dressed, dining in what looked like pinkish flesh.

It seemed, for a while, that these terrible visions and nightmares were the horrible price I had to pay for my newfound knowledge. I investigated the attic, from which haunting sounds had been coming from for a some time now. Daylight came in and illuminated the closed space in the ceiling with feebleness and grace. What I found there I will never forget, because what was there were the remnants of an artist's innocent beginnings. In the attic I found the hazy and nebulous shapes of an artistic mind’s first steps. Sitting on top of crates and hanging from the crooked ceiling. There were the amalgamated remains of human and non-human. A mummified corpse with the legs of a dog. Dog faced women, sitting on antique chairs sipping tea from the finest china. Squirrels with human hands as heads. Smiling human heads hanging from the ceiling, with horns protruding from the yellowish skin. It was the most beautiful sign of prodigious artistry I had ever seen in my life. Perhaps in another time,under other circumstances, I would have been sickened at this sight, but it was thanks to my newfound knowledge and appreciation for true art, that I could admire the Paul’s work in all its splendor.

It must certainly have been placed there by Paul for me to find. Every statue, *every exhibition* in this private gallery of mine showed the gradual progress from clumsy experimentation, to masterful expression in the most imaginative ways. Still, it was an unfinished exhibition. It subtly insinuated the existence of some other, far more enlightened and masterful expression of artistry. Its location was unknown. That night I slept in the attic because I wanted to be permeated by this inspiring, magical place. I still heard the moans and screams coming from the exhibitions around me, but as always, I just giggled for myself in placid complacency and fell asleep.

Despite my efforts to understand Paul. I still struggled trying to understand his original inspiration. I still could not really visualize the real reason for his art. It seemed futile to try and imitate the author, because the idea of making figures of the nature found in the attic, had occurred to me, but I had not dared to cross that border. It was obvious that the source for his materials had been the fauna of the area. The rest, had come from that handy source behind his backyard. The cemetery.
I had started to feel, during this period of discovery, as if all of this was Paul’s orchestration. From an overwatch position, in another time and another realm, perhaps very close to me but still highly invisible and intangible, he was manipulating the only *strings of reality* available to him, in order to convey his message. Those strings were so elemental yet incredibly elegant. It appeared clear, after some reflection, that the strange colorations formed by the light entering this house, through colored windows, that so many times had me contemplating them in bouts of idiotic dementia was indeed one of those *strings* which he had used. The other ones had been the images in the attic, and the fear conveyed by the solace in the basement. Their message however, was still clouded. It was a message of empowerment. A message of being able to defy life. It was apparent that life itself had not ever been of Paul’s liking. The atmosphere that emanated from the works in the attic, with their grotesquely disfigured amalgamations of the flesh, was an atmosphere of defiance towards that life that *thinks*. It seemed that given the knowledge Paul had acquired, he had been able to spit in life’s face, sort of speak. By deforming its work, by mutilating the dead.

It was then, after hours of reflection and gazing at the cryptic movements of the colors and the shadows. After hours of looking at strange vignettes of macabre design. After hours of being tortured by dancing blue figures among the crypts and headstones in the cemetery. That I decided to live by the most primordial feeling that the house was trying to convey. Which led me, to walk out towards the cemetery.

It was early dawn and the sun was still low on the horizon. The day seemed to be clear and only a thin layer of fog covered the neighbourhood and the backyard. Typical for the area, there was a stillness in the air that was only, sometimes interrupted by some humming noise, coming from the distant civilization not far away. I grabbed my flashlight and walked towards one specific mausoleum among the tombstones and crypts.

As I calmly walked on the wet, soft overgrown grass, I noticed the peculiar state of many of the tombs. I felt as if the cemetery had earlier been covered by a hazy cloak, that showed it embellished by some gothic romanticism for death. The tombs and all their paraphernalia had earlier looked in a state of putrescent beauty but now I realized that I had been blinded by those feelings of death-adoration. I saw myself surrounded by desecrated tombs. The state of which I found to be abhorrently disgusting. Skeletal remains littered the grass, withered clothes and small metal fragments that seemed to have come from rotted caskets adorned the the ground. On top of some tombstones I could see skulls gaping at me. They had been gaping like that for many years. None of the artistic beauty I had seen in the attic was present here. All that reigned in that cemetery was abuse and neglect. I looked at my hands and I saw that they were covered with sores. I looked at my clothes for the first time in perhaps months, I noticed that they were in tatters. My fingernails had dirt in them and my beard was covered with pieces of caked dirt. For some reason that I did not remember, besides my flashlight in right hand, I held a femur in the other. To this day I fear scrutinizing my mind with semi-futile attempts at trying to remember the specific reason for my appearance. But I assume that those reasons better remain unknown, for what I later saw, would explain so much more.

I noticed that a padlock of newer design hung clumsily from the door of the mausoleum. It was a stark contrast to the corroded rust that covered the once elegantly adorned steel door to the structure. I walked in and noticed a vista which was terribly familiar. Because it was a vista I had seen so many other times during my dreams. The same niches adorned either side of the mausoleum. The same withered flowers adorned the floor, the same black and white picture and that terrible pungent miasmic smell that emanated from that grotto in front of me. That horrendous gaping mouth that led down a stairwell to abysmal darkness.

I walked down the stairs with hesitating steps, because my heart was full of terrible misgivings. Premonitions of nightmarish and haunting nature. I saw in the near distance the dancing glow of a fire, reflected on the lichen covered walls of that stairwell. In front of me, displayed with the extravagant artistry of a mind that had seen beyond life and death, beyond the cemetery, there were two figures sitting next to each other. The vault in which this exhibition was displayed had earlier, from what I could assume been used as a family grave. The remnants of which had been stacked vertically next to each other in open coffins, as if they were puppets posed as a mock audience. Their gaping expressions and horrible hollowed eyes looked at me, judged me. The main attraction was however, that short man, whose body had been perfectly embalmed, its skin removed with such precious craftsmanship that it seemed as if he was about to speak. In his expressionless face he had glasses, and the face was that of a homely man. Holding a newspaper, looking to his companion next to him. She had a crooked red wig and in her mouth there was a cigarette. The ghastly face was disfigured by melting make-up which had defaced her in such a way that she looked like some perverse clown. In her lap she had the mummified remains of a baby. The baby was posed in such a way, that it was suckling on the mummified breast of that red-wigged woman.

I laughed maniacally at this sight and my voice echoed through the cavernous passages beneath the cemetery. I felt to my knees and gazed in awe at that perfect exposition of life’s idiocy. I had finally understood Paul’s message. He had finally gotten the family he wanted. Displayed together for eternity. Death was their only witness. What happened to me later, what happened to that house and that terrible cemetery, I do not know. They call me insane because of the things I speak during terrible attacks of anxiety that I suffer. They call me insane for talking to the walls and covering the small windows in the asylum with any colored paper I can get, Just so I can still talk to Paul. I need to see the shapes again, I need to see the colors and the shadows. They think that I am crazy. Perhaps I am. All I know is that I still see the happy family, every time I close my eyes. The drugs they give me only enhance dream-like quality of the the horrifying vignettes of dancing corpses, that still appear from time to time. The memories of that beautiful house and that burial grounds are my only companions. They say there never was a house. But they lie. In hindsight, I can say with all honesty, that I am glad I saw beyond the cemetery.
3 Thanks From:
Doctor Dugald Eldritch (11-18-2015), Druidic (10-28-2015), miguel1984 (10-29-2015)



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