Tuesday, November 8, 2016
The Dark Heart ~ Part 21
“Amazing isn’t it,” said Emberly as she up looked at the trees.
“So should I be worried?” asked Jackson with a sly smile. “Are your guards around here somewhere, ready to pounce if I make a wrong move? This remote of a location, you could dispose of me without anyone being the wiser.”
“Now, why would I do that?” asked Emberlyn returning his sly smile. “You’re fun and the world is desperately low of fun people. When you stop being fun, I’ll have my guards dispose of you here, per your wishes.”
Jackson laughed and continued the joke, “Not sure those were my wishes, but I couldn’t think of a lovely place to be disposed of.”
“Regardless, you are safe today,” said Emberlyn. “It’s just the two of us.”
“So you’re vulnerable,” said Jackson with a sly smile, taking a step towards her.
“I assure you, I can take care of myself,” said Emberlyn, walking the rest of the distance, chin raised. “Even with the likes of you. Now come on, I’d like to show you something.”
She reached out her hand and Jackson took it.
“You look nice,” said Jackson.
“Thank you,” said Emberlyn, “I know it’s not the traditional wardrobe for a hike, but the path is an old road, so it isn’t much of a trek.”
“You’re not a traditional wardrobe kind of girl,” said Jackson. “I like it. I find it refreshing.”
“Why Jackson, that’s probably the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.”
“I hardly believe that,” said Jackson with a laugh. “I’m sure people say nice things to you all the time.”
“Oh, they do,” Emberlyn said with a sigh. “Doesn’t mean it’s the truth. People like to say what they think I want to hear. But I can tell your compliment is genuine.”
“Well, I’m glad,” said Jackson.
They walked along in silence for a while, letting the sounds of nature fill the air, instead of their words. Jackson was impressed that neither of them felt the need to break the silence with small talk.
“Here we are,” said Emberlyn with a smile.
Jackson looked around with astonishment as they walked into a very old cemetery sporting a couple dozen graves. The headstones looked worn and were surrounded by ivy and covered in moss. Large cottonwood and oak trees grew large in-between stones giving the Jackson the feeling he had stepping back in time.
“What is this place?” he asked.
“There used to be a house just up the road,” said Emberlyn. “Nothing left but the old stone fireplace and some of the foundation, but it stood for a very long time. These are the people who lived there.”
Jackson looked at the headstone and cocked his head. Each stone had a name, then death date, followed by an inscription. Most of the death dates were in the early 1900’s, but there were no birth dates or ages anywhere on the stones.
“Why are there no birthdates?” he asked, as he walked to each stone and read the etching.
“Rumor has it a witches coven lived here,” said Emberlyn. “Since witches live a very long time, it’s said they forgot the person’s actual birthday, but I would guess it had more to do with keeping their identity as a coven a secret.”
“They could’ve just lied,” said Jackson. “Back then, no one would have known better.”
“Witches don’t lie,” said Emberlyn, very matter-of-factly.
Jackson looked at her. “You say that as if you’ve met one.”
“Who says I haven’t?” asked Emberlyn with a smile.
“Yeah, okay,” said Jackson, “I’m sure you’ve met people of all walks of life, even those who call themselves witches.”
“You sound like you don’t believe in witches,” said Emberlyn.
“Oh, I do,” said Jackson. “I have a pagan friend who calls herself a witch, and I respect that. But I also don’t expect her to be casting spells or riding on brooms.”
“Well, no,” said Emberlyn, “brooms are very uncomfortable.”