O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?
Moonlight streaming through stained glass awakens me in the empty church. The dregs of sacramental wine slosh around my insides. With a heave, I lurch to my feet and stagger around the tomb-like place.
“Hello? Where’s everyone gone off to?”
My voice pings around the space and chases me into humid night air. Footsteps ring on cobbles as I hurry through the marketplace. Twice, I feel eyes rake over me and stop to look back, certain I am being shadowed.
No one is there.
I finger the deed to Read’s land. My land. Still in my vest pocket. He didn’t manage to win it back. A positive outcome of the wine-stained game is that I won even more, another swath of Read’s dwindling acreage.
With another glance at the red moon, I head through the low trees to view my new property. Seeing it lit by the stars will make it real. Only, I step into a void and land hard on my side in the mud. I hear a rhythmic picking at the dirt, and a darkened face looms over me.
“Oh, it’s you. Help me out of this ditch, man.”
I catch of whiff of his fermented breath as he pulls me to stand in a shallow hole in the ground. I take in the symmetrical sides of the impression, and my throat starts to close. “What is the meaning of this?”
“You shoulda taken da root.” I hear the voodoo stained words of the black man whisper out of the darkness behind me, right before a shovel silences me for all time.
“Dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return.” The Vicar reaches into a grave to remove the land deed and pockets it, before waving the sign of the cross over three fresh graves, patting the gravedigger on the shoulder and wandering into the mist of night.
A Charleston series. The first post in the series is here, the second post is here, the third post is here, the fourth post is here, the fifth post is here, the sixth post is here, the seventh post is here, the eighth post is here, the ninth post is here, the tenth post is here, the eleventh post is here and the twelfth post is here. Thank you for reading.