Having been warned not to, the four of us set out in pure defiance. There was no reason that we could see, for “them” to stop us, except that “they” did not want us to have fun. Pure and simple. Grown ups are like that you know.
The game was one that had been going around the school for quite a while. It was exciting in some ways and could be quite humiliating too. That is if everyone was honest. Of course, not everyone was. This night there would be no reason for concern. We had all made up our minds.
The rules would be challenges in the form of dares only, no truths.
It was a couple days before Halloween in 1964. The sky was a lot darker than it had been during the summer. It was as though the sky too, was setting itself up for that night. Above us, we could see the moon half covered by a drifting haze of clouds, adding to the sense of possible doom ahead. Across the street was the cemetery. What better place for a game of dare?
The game started with the little dares. A run through the neighbor’s yard. Knock on the other neighbor’s door and hide. Things of this sort, then suddenly you could see the light go on in my cousin’s face!
Being the oldest of the four, one would think that I would have known better, but given my age, daring was so exciting especially with younger children involved. I was oldest and most certainly the braver of the four, I had nothing to be concerned about. Flipping a stick high into the air the choice was made. The next dare would be made by my oldest cousin. She looked around and her eyes locked in on my little brother. “I dare you … to go over to the graves and lie on one!” she spoke in a very demanding tone. As he looked over into the graveyard, I could see his eyes had widened. “I’m not afraid!” he retorted as he stood up and started for the graves. My heart began to race. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was actually doing it! The three of us, girls I might add, watched as he did what he was dared to do. He laid down on the first grave he came too and then leaped to his feet and ran back to the front porch where we sat waiting in awe. Something told me, this was just the beginning of our doom.
The youngest cousin issued the next dare. It was a simple one, nothing frightening. One could see by the look on her face and the fear in her eyes that she was even afraid to say the word graves. Each taking their turn, doing as dared, the game went on. Finally, it was my younger brother’s turn to dare us. He turned and looked at our faces. As if seeking out his best victim, he spoke. “I dare all of us to walk to the back of the graveyard and then back here.” I remember turning and looking toward the house. If we were caught, there would be trouble to pay for sure, and with me being the oldest, I did not want the blame for this game. “I don’t know …” I said questioningly. “What? … Yer a chicken then!” my little brother retorted. “I am not!” I yelled back at him. “Are too! Are too! Yer just a chiiiiiccckkkennnnn!” Ohh I was fuming! I was not a chicken. “Okay, fine!” I said. “Let’s go!”
Ohh it was so creepy. It was far too dark to see well. There was absolutely no lighting of any kind in that old graveyard except for the moon above and it was half covered in a cloudy haze. Walking side by side, arms linked like a chain, the four of us started down the center lane of the cemetery. My heart was racing as my eyes searched for signs of ghost. My youngest cousin was shaking. I could feel her tremble with each step. This in itself added to my feeling of anxiousness. Slowly and methodically, we took each step. No army in cadence could have worked more uniform. The sound of the darkness and the crickets added to the whole creepiness of this adventure. Wind rustled the bushes and trees, as if giving off a warning. “Do not enter! ... Go away!” Each of us faced with determination to show our inner strength, trudged on willingly. Step after step, slowly quivering with fear. The adrenaline that was racing through our blood could have lit the entire town up. Suddenly I saw it! Rounding a small bend, my eyes locked in on a thing ... a witch ... a dead witches ghost! Kneeling from behind a bush, peering out at us, was the scariest woman I had ever seen! I screeched out loud still in a whispering voice, “Look!” All eyes were now focused in the direction that I was pointing in. There before each of us was the ghost of a woman all dressed in white. Her hair was very black and hung to the side of her face all the way to the ground. Her anguish-ridden face was ashen and paste white. Slowly she raised her arm and with one finger, she beckoned us to come.
I am not very clear on just what exactly happened next. I do know this, when faced with that kind of fear; there is no army that could stop my younger brother. I turned only to see the rear of him in the far distance. Screeching, gasping, and racing the three younger kids were now far ahead of me. I was being held by some witchlike force. Though my arms were wailing around in the motion of a track racer, my feet were not moving, with the exception of an out of control grinding in the ground. Finally, they took hold and off I went with lightning speed. I could hear the witch closing in behind me as my feet hit the steps of my aunt’s house! I ran in the house and straight for the kitchen, seeking the same help the other three sought. My heart was thumping out of my chest as I tried to get the words out. By the time my words separated into sensible dialog, my brother had the story out.
I will never forget that night. Mom and my aunt made it clear that those things are exactly why we do not and are not allowed to play in the cemetery.
Years later, long after we had quit playing the Truth or Dare game, (which I believe we all quit that night) Mom and auntie explained that it was, in fact, the two of them in the cemetery that night. They say that they had gone into the cemetery to ward us off and to scare us. I dispute this set of facts that mother so freely offers, even to this day. I know the witch I saw was the scariest of all witches, and well, my mother is not scary!
Halloween is nearing, and I for one, will not enter the cemetery under any circumstances … I highly recommend the same for you my friends. She awaits the fearless few that may dare to enter the domain of goblins and ghouls, ghost and yes, witches. Take my advice … beware my friends. Beware!