It’s become something of a nightly ritual.
As the sun begins to set, I embark on a forty minute dog walk down the road, through the cemetery and into the fields outback. It’s normally pretty quiet and I take pleasure in the stillness and calm that emits from this place of rest.
There’s nothing more inspiring for a horror writer than a casual stroll through a graveyard.
This particular evening, it was unusually quiet. Normally, there would be a slight breeze rustling the leaves or the birds would begin to cease their daily chatter. Not this night – there was a stillness quite unlike anything I had experienced before. If I wasn’t walking at a leisurely pace, I would have been quite easily convinced that someone had stopped the clocks of time and the earth had paused its continual orbit. For the average person, this may have been considered eerie or creepy, I however, found the experience verging on the side of pleasurable. This was the perfect atmosphere that I’d like to create for a future scene in a story I’d like to write, I thought to myself. I attempted to soak it up and find the words that would perfectly recreate the scene for the reader. The sights, the sounds, the sensations. My mind conjured up various descriptions and I cursed myself for not carrying my notebook. Serene, unearthly, spectral, vast.
I was too busy allowing myself to absorb and remember the words and the feelings that I hadn’t realised that the dog, a two month old cocker spaniel with a more-than-vivacious form of character had frozen still. He was staring at something in the far distance of the cemetery and in that very moment, I felt a cold chill pass through me. I’ve rarely had any supernatural experiences and I have longed to experience something paranormal for as long as I can remember. This could be it, I thought to myself. My dog, who I had by then, proceeded to call his name and lightly tug at his leash remained fixed in his position. His tail, normally held high had fallen in between his legs and he was emitting a soft growl. I stared into the distance, trying to determine what it was that he had spotted, a fellow dog-walker? A grieving visitor? A squirrel?
All I could see were the memorial trees and the graves adorned with flowers and items of comfort. I took a few steps towards him in an attempt to try and pinpoint where it was that he was looking. Yet he continued to stay in his defensive posture, eyes unmoving and staring at something that I was unable to see in my peripheral vision, no matter how hard I squinted. I wanted so desperately to see something to at least explain what it was that was causing him so much of a distraction. The atmosphere in that cemetery was one that I had not experienced before and unfortunately, I lack the words to convey exactly what it was that was occurring in that particular space at that point of time. The event itself may have lasted no longer than five minutes but one thing is for certain, the memory of it will last much longer.