The Sinking Gravestone
It was a Friday, the day we had to hand up our photography assignment. My friend, Josie, had not done hers, making our teacher very unhappy, but he still granted her the weekend to complete her assignment.
Josie was in a tight spot; she couldn't do her project on the weekends because she had to work on those days to pay for her photography lessons. Today was the only day available to her, but it was already nearing dusk.
Right after our Friday lesson, I suggested to Josie we shot some gravestones at a nearby cemetery. She was apprehensive at first but relented after a little persuasion—provided I accompanied her.
We reached the cemetery just nearing sunset. The sky was darkening every minute, so we had to hurry. Josie picked the very first subject she saw—a well weathered stone sculpture of Mary. She put her bag down on the tarmac and began setting up her tripod.
While she was busy, I scrutinised the workmanship on Mary. Such dedication, such beauty, yet the artisan is totally unknown, I thought. I felt kind of sad thinking about the lives of artisans who work on gravestones like that. It made me feel lonely and depressed.
Suddenly, the sculpture move! It tipped a little to the left. I felt a sudden chill ran up my spine, giving me goose pimples all over. Not wanting to freak out, I denied what I saw. I didn't even tell Josie about it. I knew she would surely freak out.
When Josie finished photographing Mary, we walked around a little more, and Josie shot more gravestones. After spending about 45 minutes at the cemetery, I realised enough was enough. Even though I tried not to think about Mary's tilting figurine, I still sweat about it.
"We should get out of here, Josie, before it gets too dark," I said, and nudged her.
"Okay, you're right. It is getting dark."
I was glad she thought so too. She began to pack her things into her photo bag.
"Hey, I can't find my 50 millimeter lens!" she said, spinning around on her heels.
So, we backtracked. Luckily, we did find her lens. Sighing with relieve, Josie bent down and picked it up.
I looked around and realised that we were at the very spot Josie had shot Mary's figurine earlier. But there was no Mary!
"Maybe this is not Mary's spot," I said without believing it.
"Can't be. I only used the 50mm on Mary. I used the 150 on the others. I know this is where I shot Mary," Josie said.
Puzzled, we searched around a bit for 'Mary' but couldn't find her. Then I saw a dark patch on the ground. I walked toward it. It was a hole.
Had Mary sunk? I wondered.
Looking behind me, I saw the fence that led to the cemetery gates. I knew for certain then that the spot we were at was indeed the spot Josie had shot Mary earlier.
Then, I heard a rustling sound coming from the hole. Startled, I leaped backwards. Seeing me leaping back caused Josie to shriek.
"What's wrong, Shan?" Josie rushed to me and grabbed my arm.
Then, we heard a low rumbling voice belched out from the hole. We didn't make out what the voice said because Josie was kind of wailing a bit. She then tugged me away from the spot.
"COME IIIIIIIIIIN," the voice said.
Josie screamed. I screamed too. We turned around and bolted out of there as fast as we could, dropping Josie's water bottle in the process.
We were so fear stricken that we both just sat silently in the taxi. When we got to Josie's apartment, she made coffee, and we sat down to drink. I realised my hands were shaking when I picked up the cup. We just stared at each other without saying a word about the incident.
Oh yes, about the film—all other gravestones were exposed well except for Mary. I'm puzzled to this day why Mary's frames on the film were totally black.
I went back to the cemetery on Monday with a few classmates. Mary was still standing at her spot. And Josie's water bottle was standing by her feet; as if someone had carefully put it there. It was totally spooky because I knew we had dropped it midway to the gates while running out.
I went over to Mary's stone figurine and pushed it, but her base was firmly set in the ground. I couldn't move it an inch.
I don't know what to make of this phenomenon.