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Sam, Tales From the Graveyard

An excerpt from


Sam

Still of a winter’s night, they say

When the wind is in the trees

When the moon is a ghostly galleon

Tossed upon the cloudy seas

When the road is a ribbon of moonlight

Over the purple moor

A highwayman comes riding

Riding, riding

A highwayman comes riding

Up to the old inn-door.

—“The Highwayman,”

Loreena McKennitt

Before

The rose over her head was so lovely.

It had never looked as lovely as it did today.

It had been years—five years now—since the latest incident at the house.

The grass had grown over the ugliness.

The roses were growing strong.

The community had just begun to forget about what happened at the house on the hill.

Of course, at Halloween the legends of the haunted graveyard and the spirits that lurked beyond still came up.

But other than these faint whispers, it was time to move on.

The little league games continued.

The newspaper cranked out its mundane community news.

The library got back to the business of lending books and opening minds.

It’s a survival instinct: people always forget.

Well…most of them, anyway.

* * *

A figure stood in the familiar grass, breathing in the air of spring.

He looked at the yard with all its mixed memories—so good and bad.

His hand reached down to the lovely white roses.

He bent to breathe in their heady scent.

His fingers went to pluck one of the fuller, more lustrous blossoms.

“Shit!” he said.

The thorn pierced his skin and, almost in slow motion, a drop of blood fell toward the ground.

He gazed into the rose’s core. It almost breathed with life.

A sound from the driveway snapped him out of his reverie.

“Sam! Saamm!”

“I’m up here, honey!” he said.

“The moving truck is here!” she cried.

“Okay! I’ll be right down!” Sam said. “You shouldn’t be lifting boxes in your delicate condition!”