Grave Conversation (The Origin of Drayven Dolor)

The man was making his second circuit around the graveyard before the gravedigger noticed. The man was on his third before the gravedigger, a wizened old man named Michael, got out of bed. It was the fourth time the man walked by Michael’s hut before Michael worked up his courage, lit his lantern and walked out the door after the man.

Michael took careful steps around the various headstones, through rows and rows of the things, and he somehow managed to make it to a clearing without falling, for it was hard for Michael’s old eyes to grasp things in the lantern’s low light. But, subsequent to Michael’s delay, the man had walked long ahead of him, and Michael had to spend several more careful minutes trying to find the man.

At length, Michael found the man kneeling in front of a tombstone in the oldest part of the cemetery. The man was wearing a black robe, which swayed slightly in the wind, his face was quite pale and gaunt, framed by chin-length black hair on both sides, and it too was moved by the slight breeze, and in front of him, lay a black cane, topped with a metal skull. His eyes were closed, but still he knew of Michael’s coming. “Good evening, sir.”, spoke the man.

With a sharp intake of breath, Michael took several large steps back from the eerie scene. It took Michael a moment to again work up his courage, and in this time, he took in the creepy scene before him; A mysterious man, kneeling in front of a grave in his graveyard, hours removed from closing, with wind striking his person and light from a red moon shining down and tainting his unmoving face an eerie shade of red.

At such a time as his courage returned, Michael moved foreword to address the man, “The cemetery…”, the strange man finished for him, “…is closed?” The man’s cryptic laughter pierced the air, and he spoke again, “No matter. I will take my leave.” The man stood and began to walk past Michael, who said, “Wait. What is it you are doing here?”

The man looked at the man for a long moment with a frightening gleam in his eyes, but, at length, at he spoke. “Visiting.” Michael swallowed, hard, and continued his questioning. “Visiting whom?’ The strange man again took a long while in silence. Finally, he spoke.

“A long time ago. There was a man. His name was Drayven Dolor. He was a gentle man, he hardly ever fought, even in his youth. Through these ways, he met the love of life, a beautiful woman named Gabrielle.”

“She was comparable only to an angel in her appearance, her skin had the color of milk, and so easily could one get lost in her jade green eyes that oftentimes Drayven would bid her to keep them closed, for the sake of his concentration.” The man smiled here, then continued, “Her figure was small, frail, but not lacking where it needed not be, there was almost a perfect hourglass shape to her frame.”

“Soon after Drayven met Gabrielle, they were married. And soon after they were married, they settled into a small home and decided to raise a family. Gabrielle found herself with child late in the winter of that same year they were married. Though the pregnancy was not without complications, Gabrielle gave birth to a male child in October of the next year.”

“Drayven thought his life was complete. But his good fortune would not stay long. He came home from his work as a miner, to find his beloved wife and newborn son, laying in the parlor, dead.” Here, Michael narrowed his eyes, slightly, and doffed his faded hat at the sadness. The man seemed to breathe heavily before continuing, “He, of course, ran for help. But there was none. The local gravedigger held mirrored glass in front of their mouths, and the nonoccurrence of fog sealed their fate.”

“Their graves were hallowed out, as the bodies were prepared for burial. A storm brewed on the horizon, and it urged the gravedigger onward, as, under the gaze of Drayven, he lowered the coffins, and began to fill the graves in with soil. Rain burst forth from the skies, as if the gods themselves shed tears over Drayven’s loss. The graves were more than halfway filled when Drayven, for the first time in hours, heard a soothing and comforting sound; The gentle voice of his wife, Gabrielle.”

“But the voice was cracked with fear, and worry, and the man rushed forward to the graves where the gravedigger was toiling, and heard not only the wails of his wife, but the screaming of his infant son. Though his vision was significantly marred by rain and tears, he clawed through the earth with his bare hands until he reached the coffins of his two most loved creatures, and with bleeding hands, he pried the lids off of them to find, first, that his wife was dead, and then, even as he held in his arms his wife’s corpse, he dropped it in exchange for that of his son.”

By now, Michael’s face was contorted in utter horror, and still, the man continued, despite of the fact that, in his horror and shock, Michael seemed to have lost his touch with reality, if only temporarily, but still the man continued. “By now, many members of the town had gathered, even in the storm, to see what the commotion was. The man wailed at the seemingly demented sky, his hands bleeding, the fingernails removed, the fingers themselves badly broken. Even still the man managed to kill the gravedigger. Several men from the town subdued him, and he was taken to the town for trial.”

“He plead guilty to his crimes, and even went on to proclaim that he was not in the least bit sorry for what he had done.’ Here the man smirked, “And honestly, would you be?” Michael came out of his stupor, somewhat disoriented, as the man continued. “It was decided he would hang at dawn, and it was so. Drayven was taken to the gallows, and the hangman’s noose was placed about his neck, and the man was asked for his last words, and with those precious last mutterings, he swore to have revenge on every gravedigger he was to meet, and he swore that he would return every night that there was blood on the moon.”

Michael hadn’t retained much of the last part of this narrative due to its outright horror. He retained something about a ghost returning when there was ‘blood on the moon’ to kill gravediggers. Michael looked at the sanguine moon, and he laughed. “So you mean to meet a murderous ghost, here tonight?” The man’s enigmatic laughter again perforated the air, as he stood from his kneeling position and leered at Michael. “I seek no specter, spirit, or ethereal fiend.”

Michael laughed and asked, “Then what are you looking for?” A smile played, again, across the man’s crimson-stained face as he drew a long, thin blade from his skull-topped cane and ran it through Michael’s stomach. The man laughed and replied, “The gravedigger.” Michael fell, gasping, against the tombstone that he was only now close enough to read, and he saw;

Drayven Dolor

1888-1907

HANGED

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