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The Devil’s Work

Nestled deep in the countryside, the church of St Mary’s lay empty and abandoned. The farming community it had served had long since departed to pastures new. The ancient cemetery which encircled it held a serene air of despondency, a quiet acceptance of its fate. Crumbling gravestones and weeds entwined in a tangled web of decay; mice scurried anxiously between the thick tufts of grass, seeking fleeting sanctuary from the intense searching gaze of an owl perched silently on the gnarled branches of a nearby tree.

Nothing out of the ordinary one might surmise, a faintly depressing image that was repeated up and down the country. Desolate icons with neglected graveyards full of the forgotten and disregarded, a cruel parody of everything they had once represented.

However, there was something different about St Mary’s. Something dark and malevolent, lay deep beneath its unexceptional facade. A menacing power surfaced but once a year, when the forces of darkness were at their strongest…

On Hallowe’en; as the approaching darkness cast long shadows against the fiery crimson embers of the setting sun, a strange phenomenon occurred, rising from the newly ploughed fields, a swirling mist started to edge its way upwards, slowly spreading across the barren landscape. As the fog billowed across the countryside; a petrified stillness descended, birds in the hedgerows stopped chirping, even the rooks and crows were silenced and banished from the sky.

Without warning the mist cleared from the surface of the land and drifted towards the derelict church, surging up the crumbling masonry and silently engulfing the church tower. As night descended and darkness fell, the mist took on a different appearance, changing from a dismal grey to a vibrant emerald green.

Where once the mist had swirled lazily, now it seemed to have a new sense of purpose; flickering green flames licked up the side of the roof and bit relentlessly into the crumbling masonry. Suddenly on the stroke of midnight St Mary’s succumbed to the unyielding onslaught, shimmering momentarily before vanishing completely.

As the mist, dispersed blood curdling laughter pierced through the silence, and dark satanic creatures filled the skies in a gruesome celebration of triumphant glee. Slowly and imperiously a terrifying beast rose, and elevated himself above the ghoulish ensemble, his faithful paid homage to him, as he oversaw the night’s heinous events. Throughout the night the screeching and caterwauling resounded, as the evil entities rejoiced in their victory.

Eventually, as the first muted shades of dawn started to dissipate the seemingly impenetrable blackness of the night; a shroud of mist once again returned, indistinct murky figures appeared to reach out and grasp the unholy revellers, dragging them back down to the darkness below.

As the haze started to clear, all evidence of the night’s events had gone, as if melted back into the shadows from where they came. The derelict church and its ramshackle cemetery, had returned in their entirety, seemingly untouched by the night’s events. That is except for one of the gravestones, where a new inscription had appeared in bold capitals… SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!

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