Rise of the Dark Souls
Charlie Ackerman stood over the freshly covered grave. Sweat beaded on his brow, and his arms were screaming for rest, but it was done, finally, and again. Reaching around, he coaxed a handkerchief from the back pocket of his trousers, regarding it idly as he brought it towards his face. He paused to consider the bloodstains on the cloth, before mopping his brow with the rag.
Charlie was alone at the edge of the cemetery. He could see his breath in the moonlight, hanging heavily in the dense October air. With a scowl etched on his aging face, the gravedigger took one last look around before turning on his heel and heading back to the shed. His footsteps hammered loudly into the stillness as he plundered across the gravel path.
Inside the shed, the glow of Charlie’s lantern revealed the dark and twisted world that he lived in. Amid his spades and shovels were the prized possessions that had been buried with the cemetery patrons, now part of his sinister collection. In a dirty cracked jar on the shelf was old Mr. Baker’s glass eye. Behind the jar sat two stuffed teddy bears that had once belonged to the young Gallagher twins. Slim Jim’s rifle was propped in the corner. There were books, lockets, jewelry and photos. All bits and pieces from another time, another place, now scattered about in the cemetery shed.
Charlie recalled the object he had retrieved earlier that evening and was overly eager to add it to his collection. He had never taken anything quite like this before. Reaching deeply, he dug his left hand into the breast pocket of his shirt and pulled out a long, meaty tongue. He stared at it with dark admiration.
Charlie stiffened. The voices had started, as they did every night he returned from the graveyard with a new possession. Only this time the malevolent tone was undeniable. He felt dizzy and gave his head a quick shake.
“We’re coming to get you, Charlie …”
The voices were many and were getting much louder. They pounded in his head with the force of a sledge. He clapped his hands over his ears, the voices now becoming deafening.
A wave of panic swept over Charlie. He could barely feel his legs when he bolted out the shed door. From the corner of his eye, he could see the angry mob of spirits rising from their graves and coming towards him. His heart jumped up in his throat, knowing they were seeking revenge for his indiscretions. He fled toward the forest, and could sense them getting closer, their eyes burning into the back of his head. But the woods did not provide protection for Charlie. Rather, they trapped him like a vulnerable fly in a web, the merciless spirits the spider.
Years later, despite the small town being warned by officials to stay out of the woods, some still dare to enter. Many locals have reported hearing eerie noises … weeping, wailing, screaming. Others have reported sightings of the spirits, in their darkest, most evil form, still angry with the disturbances Charlie caused. And a few of the curious locals … have never returned.