Ghost stories on Christmas. It used to be a tradition, and I don’t pretend to know when it fell out of favor. I bring this up because there are little hints left, here and there, in our modern traditions. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is such a holdover, and I suppose it survived because of its direct Christmas link. Another example is this line from the song It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year:
There’ll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago
Of course you rarely notice the lyrics of Christmas songs when you’re busy rotating the radio dial. (Or pressing the button if your car radio was built after the bronze age.) At any rate, I kinda wish we’d bring back that old tradition. Halloween ghosts aren’t enough as far as I’m concerned. To that end, I present to you a ghost story for Christmas:
In 1996 I rented a house with 3 dudes so we could save money for school. We saved a lot of money those years, in fact, because the house sat, more or less, in the middle of a graveyard. I couldn’t tell you when it was built, but it wasn’t as old as the cemetery. There were two floors, an attic, and a little tower sort of thing you could stand in and survey the grounds from. Apparently, in olden times, the groundskeepers lived in the house, but eventually people got to where they wouldn’t tolerate that. So, they started renting it out rather than tearing it down. Although it looked like no one had rented it in years when we started living there.
Like I said, it was cheap. They knocked off a little more even since we were 4 dudes and we could serve as de facto security for the place. At first we were all creeped out, but after a few weeks we realized that the only activity in the graveyard was shithead kids looking for excitement. Some former resident had installed a spotlight in the tower, so we took endless delight in scaring trespassers with it.
There were a few problem areas in the oldest part of the cemetery. People were drawn like magnets to any marker with a creepy angel carved over it. That was super popular back in the day whenever a kid died. Depending on how the kid died the angels would be posed in different ways and stuff. At least that’s what I heard someplace. Anyway, people were always screwing with the angel statues. We all kinda got used to cleaning up the crap they left on, or around those stones. We even memorized the names on them so we could tell each other what heinous crap we found on them.
There was one old grave that had a giant angel on it that was shrouded and had a sickle. It was supposed to be the angel of death, I guess, but it didn’t look like the way you’d think it should, since it had “skin”. It sat way back in the oldest part of the graveyard, so it only got screwed with by the most determined of vandals. Anyway, one night some stupid bastards knocked over the marker, and destroyed the angel. It turns out though that the guy whose grave it was left, like, a trust fund for it in case something happened to it. So after we told the authorities what happened eventually some people came and gathered the bits up to fix it.
One night, after the cloaked angel had been taken to be fixed, I woke up to the sound of distant voices coming from the graveyard. My girlfriend heard them too. She hated sleeping in that house, cause it freaked her out, and only slept there if she had nothing to do the next day. It was, like, one or two, so you just knew it had to be people up to no good. So I climbed up to the tower and listened to hear where exactly the sounds were coming from. My girlfriend hung on me the whole time, so it was hard to pinpoint the location because of her breathing. When I was pretty sure I knew where the sound was I aimed the spotlight and clicked it on. For just a second I thought I saw figures in the light, but as my eyes adjusted to the brightness it seemed like they faded away. I scanned around after that but apparently anyone who was around ran off. Since it seemed like things were taken care of we went back to bed, but I stopped to call the police to do a drive through in case people were still screwing around.
We hadn’t been in bed long when we were woken up again. This time it was the sound of knocking on the door, but it was loud and insistent. When I came out of my room I found everyone else meandering out of theirs too. I told everyone I called the cops, so it was probably an officer who found something, but when I opened the door there was no one there. We all went back to bed, but after a little while the knocking came again. So now we all thought that whoever was in the cemetery earlier was fucking with us, so we all armed ourselves in various ways and went out into the yard. My girlfriend went up to the tower and shone the spotlight around. The four of us together can cover a lot of ground, but we couldn’t find anybody. We went back inside, but waited around for a bit to see if anyone was going to try something again. My girl and I were up in the tower so if anyone knocked we could catch them quickly. Then suddenly the knocking started again, but it was from several places at once. We clicked on the light, but the knocking didn’t stop, and we couldn’t pan the light close enough to the house to see who was doing it. Plus it sounded like we were outnumbered by quite a bit. If these people wanted to start something we could really be in trouble. Then the spotlight went out and my girlfriend screamed and ran downstairs. I followed in a controlled panic. We gathered in the front room, trying to decide what to do, when we noticed a voice accompanying the knocking. It was hard to hear, but we were all pretty sure it was saying “Where is my stone? Where is my stone?” Over and over again. Now we were all freaking out. My girl was screaming, and I had no idea what to do. Then a light moved past the window and the sound stopped. We ran to the windows and watched as a police car drove lazily along the pathway through the graveyard.
After that night the knocking never happened again. We called for drive throughs for the rest of the time the stone of the cloaked angel was being repaired anyway though.