old cemeteryOnce upon a midnight bleary, while I nodded, drunk and cheery.

“No, no, no, that’s no good.” Edgar mumbled to himself. “Gads—this poem is dreary work.  I’m so tired of it.  I really should get off to bed.”

He took his quill pen and crossed his writing out.

“Hmm…dreary…weary.” Edgar pondered.  “Maybe my poem should be about that.”

Suddenly, there was a tapping at his front door.

“Oh, for the love of—!”  Edgar stopped short of swearing.

He had promised Lenore he wouldn’t swear anymore.  He hastened to straighten his night cap and gown.  Lenore was asleep, and he was afraid that whoever it was might get impatient, and rap louder than before. Then, he opened wide the door.

“Edgar!  You scoundrel!” Devin said, stepping into the candlelit room uninvited, “pack your bag.  I’m leaving town and you’re coming with me.”

Devin was dressed in traveling clothes and a cloak against the damp night air. Edgar straightened to his full height and looked down at his diminutive friend.  “And, pray tell, from whence to hence will you be taking me?”

“Foulness is afoot Edgar!  A boy’s gone missing. We’re going to Bogshire Cemetery to unravel the mystery.”

Edgar stared at his friend, and lifted one eyebrow.  “Let me get my coat. Wait here and be quiet. Lenore is asleep.”

On their way to the cemetery, Devin explained what had happened—

“It occurred a fortnight ago, at the crypt of the mad Duchess.  The groundskeeper heard sound coming from inside of the crypt; scratching, as if someone was trying to get out, and wailing, as if someone was calling for help.  But when the groundskeeper opened the crypt, there was no one there.

Word of it spread and Thomas, the young village fool, went out that night to hear the sounds for himself.  According to friends brave enough to go, Thomas entered the crypt, though none dared enter with him.

Next, they heard Thomas cry out, and then all was quiet except for the rattle of the trees in the wind.  His friends called out his name. There was no answer.  They waited until daylight to enter the crypt, and when they did, Thomas was gone.”

The night air was damp but pleasant and the horses made good time. After several hours they saw the cemetery sitting high up on the hill, its crosses and gravestones silhouetted against the moonlit sky. Stunted trees were bent over, shunning the sky, as if cowering before God.

Their horses grew nervous, neighing and bucking, backing away from the entrance to the cemetery. They refused to enter through the iron gate.  Edgar and Devin dismounted and they walked through the moonlit night to the crypt.  Icy coldness gripped both men.

“Well Edgar, what do you think?” Devin asked.

“I think Thomas was a fool to come here. Do you have a pen and paper, Devin?”

“I do. You have a plan then?

“If we are to find out what happened, perhaps the best way is to simply ask.”

Edgar wrote on the paper and then rolled it up and placed it, along with the quill and bottle of ink, in Devin’s travel bag, He tossed it far into the crypt.

“We’ll return in the morning to retrieve it.” Edgar said.

The following morning Edgar and Devin returned and they entered the crypt. The travel bag lay on the ground in shreds, as if some wild animal had torn it apart with its sharp claws. The quill and ink bottle were missing, but the piece of paper lay intact on the ground. Edgar picked it up.

“Last night I wrote two questions on this piece of paper and someone, or something, has written two answers.” Edgar said.

He gave the paper to Devin

It read:

Who are you?          I am the Duchess of Bogshire.

Where is Thomas?  Thomas is no more, he belongs to me now.   

Devin shuddered when he read the answers.

“Herein lies evil.” Devin said.

“Call for a stone mason, Devin.  We must wall off this crypt.  The mad Duchess of Bogshire must be stopped once and for all.” Edgar said.

“And Thomas? Can we not save him?”

“I don’t see how, Devin. The best we can do is to make sure she kills, nevermore.”

~DMelde