Paupers Graveyard

Paupers Graveyard by Gemma Mawdsley Read Free Book Online

Book: Paupers Graveyard by Gemma Mawdsley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gemma Mawdsley
Tags: Horror
then there’ll be hell to pay.’
    â€˜There’s no secret.’
    â€˜If there is, I’ll learn about it soon enough. I can wait. I have all eternity.’
    Timmy sank down into the grass. He would have much to tell Elizabeth come morning.
    ****
    There was great confusion and shouting the next day when the workmen discovered the remains of the fire. By nightfall a small cabin had been placed at the end of the building site. When work finished for the day, a machine drove up and a man got out. He wore a uniform with a peaked cap that reminded the children of the officers they had seen in the workhouse. He went inside the cabin and immediately it lit up. He came back out and went to his machine. Doors on its back opened and two large dogs leapt out.
    The children jumped about with excitement at the prospect of new playmates. Elizabeth had to stop them from running forward to embrace the animals, whose huge mouths and sharp teeth could have easily snapped their thin bodies in two. Instead she made them wait as a chain was hooked to each of the dog’s collars and the man began to walk them around the site.
    Black Jack went right up to the animals and was delighted by their reaction. They snarled and growled, their hair standing straight, eyes wide with fear, as they backed away, dragging the man with them.
    â€˜Butch, Sandy, what’s wrong?’ He spoke firmly, his eyes scanning the field for whatever was upsetting them. Black Jack stood inches away from him, laughing. Then, turning to the dogs, he stamped his foot at them. Instantly they cowered and the man had to drag them on their bellies back to the cabin. They almost knocked him over in their haste to get inside. The children ran to the windows to see what was happening. Both dogs were hiding under a table and no amount of coaxing from the man would get them to come out. After a while he gave up and took to patrolling the site alone.
    Black Jack had grown bored with tormenting the dogs and walked back to the graveyard. He would have to think about this. The dogs could see him, but not the man. He stood behind the bushes and watched as the children went inside. He heard them talking softly and petting the animals. Soon they came out, closely followed by the dogs whose eyes darted furtively around the site as they sniffed the air. When they realised there was nothing to fear, they lay down and allowed the children to rub and hug them. The animals licked at the ravished hands and faces as though they were living, breathing children.
    Black Jack didn’t understand. Why weren’t the animals afraid of them? He studied the children’s hands as they glided over the soft hair, wondered as they picked up small sticks and threw them for the dogs to fetch. He tried to pick up a twig time and time again, but was unable to. There had to be a way. Groaning with anger and frustration, he brushed at a moth that fluttered by his face. His hand came in contact with the soft wings and the moth fell injured at his feet. He had touched it. Without even trying, he had touched it. Kneeling down, he ran his fingers lightly over the injured insect. He could feel its wings soft as gossamer beneath his fingers, feel its tiny heart throbbing in terror. He allowed his hand to glide over the twig and gasped as it appeared between his fingers.
    Timmy and Elizabeth watched as Black Jack stood, triumphant, and crushed the moth with his foot. He had just learned what they had known from the start. They belonged to the soil, were one with the air and could become part of anything they chose. For the next few hours he roamed the graveyard picking up whatever he found lying about, growing bolder and more confident with each new action. He threw stones against the trunk of the trees and revelled in the small thunking noise their contact made.
    Elizabeth called to the children and they came running. It was best that they should not witness this, and she had seen quite

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