Table tomb

It was a long walk through the village.  She paused at every entrance, every house.  Dogs barked as she passed.  The wind was high and there was a full moon, so that she could see the grim storm clouds sweeping by.  Her leg was hurting.

Light winked palely from one or two of the houses.  Odd that they were not shuttered.  She paused at the junction and braced herself to climb the steep hill to the church.  She hoped her leg would bear it.  She passed the Hall and then the home farm.  She had put every vestige of light behind her now.  There was nothing but the long dark stretch past the yew hedge to the churchyard.

She was walking more slowly… and not only because of the pain in her leg.  She was not afraid of the churchyard, certainly not of death or the dead, but she felt an intense loathing for the place, a terror of returning.  It had been a very long time since she was last there, or so she thought; her memory played tricks on her occasionally; she knew that.

The path was bumpy.  The yews huddled together, dense gatekeepers of the consecrated ground.  A car rounded the corner suddenly, raking her with its headlights.  She could see the driver’s face; she thought that he looked startled.

She rested against the low wall next to the yews.  When she was a girl, people had said that they’d been planted here by Druids; that they had been here long before the church and were the reason that it had been built here.

She rubbed her leg; it did not help the pain.  She crossed the road, so that she was standing under the lych-gate.  She heard a strange noise – a squeak or a suppressed laugh – and it alerted her.  She peered into the grey of the churchyard.  The broken table tombs nearest the church door loomed out at her, but she could see nothing else.