Thursday, December 23, 2010

Walking with the Dead (a short story by D.L. Siluk)

Walking with the Dead

(A Minnesota short story of suspense)) I once heard, or read, “The dead are dead, leave them be.” Indeed I thought, I shall, but how dead can dead men be, I would learn soon (and they all laughed as I said that).
I saw what I saw, down they marched down a low path in a silent procession to the sea, these ghostly figures with stern like faces, the spirits of earth, air and water, old soldiers marching; amazed I was to see through the fog like mist, see these phantom ghosts, this evening along the Icelandic coast (I had come here from Minnesota, to visit, a weekend, come by myself to get away from my tenants, I had 21-tenants I rented my houses to, 21-families that is, and I often took a long weekend, or a short one and few here and there, Iceland, was my selection this time, outside of its capitol city Reykjavik; of which I was some forty miles out, and on a cliff, I was I say, for now I was walking down this path to its sea with them.)
I could see these shapes, by way of the moonlit sea, the rocks and cliffs all about had a gleam to it; they had grim eyes, with no blinking or lids, ghosts with an uncommon gray to them, lamp lit crimson eyes. Long stringy hair, some naked, some with old garments on, some almost demonic like, all primitive looking, some even with primate tails, so it seemed, akin to slaves, Moors, Crusaders (from the 11th Century), barbarians, even some WWI soldiers, some Saxons, Romans and Greeks; all marching lordly to the sea, as if they had been lost, and now found. Someone was leading them, in this long thin line that stretched out for several hundred feet, perhaps two to three hundred of them. The figure leading them looked physical, I saw him turn about a few times, briefly saw him; men of the past great wars. I myself was a war veteran, Vietnam was my war. It all was so very strange, why could I see them? I was aghast. I told myself: get out of here before I get caught in some web. The leader again looked back at me, as if he was trying to see if I was following him because I could see the dead, or perhaps out of simply walking to the sea, for personal reasons, and not able to see the dead, thus, he stopped the group, and I stopped. His eyes opened wide, as if surprised, as if he was astounded I could see these so called wondering spirits. Then he started back up again. A few of them watched me; put really paid me little attention, and continued on their way.
I couldn’t stop, I found myself walking with the dead out of intrigue almost. With wondrous uncertainty I hurried along behind this long line or procession of ghostly spirits, sea bound. My feet got weaker and my knees heavy the closer we got to the sea. Then I started to hear voices in my head, as if the leader was talking to me, paranormally—, the jest of it was, under the sea there was a porthole for lost souls on earth, and these were souls that had been lost for centuries, and had found their way to this location, one of several throughout the world. And evidently, the scout, or reconnoiter in front was leading them to their fate, the door to their next beyond.
Amongst themselves the spirits, these two-hundred souls, marching onward, talked in diabolical whispers, social talk to a certain degree, in all sorts of languages. The closer I got to the sea, the dimmer they became. As they reached the sea, evening turned into twilight, and twilight into night-night. There was a chill to the night all round me, and it was summer I’ll have you know, hot nights normally, but with all these walking dead, I felt like I was in an ice-box, then there was a stillness that prevailed on the shore. The water receded, and the spirits quickly walked into the sea, and in a moment’s time, sank into the waters, as the current rebound. Next I noticed the hissing water bubbled, souls murmuring echoes that seemed to fill the night air, then I figured they must had found the door, for their prevailed a stone-silence all around me, as I stood in the water up to my knees, the tide out, yet coming in fast.
The tided then came upon me, like a black vulture, unrepentant, and covered me, and when I caught my breath, and the tide moved out again, I found myself buried up to my next in sand, and a man peering over me, the very man that was leading the dead this location, and when he spoke, his voice was that very voice that I heard in my head.
“You will be perfect,” he said to me, as if he had designs on my future. Then he added, “You could see the dead, there are not many of us that can, you are one of the few…!”
I was confused with all these happenings, to say the least, my mind in a chaotic whirl. It was almost impossible to believe this man, whom said he was walking with the dead, to their porthole of entry on earth, to join the dead beyond it. But I had seen it with my own eyes, and so what could I say. I even thought for a moment, this was all a dream (I did suffer from the lack of sufficient sleep), and then got thinking next, was he not going to unbury me?
Then like a worm stuck in a hole, he pulled me out easily, and I found myself standing next to him. “You are my replacement.” He said, humorously, but with a serious enough face to make me believe he meant it.
“No…!” I said, “I don’t think so…!”
He then told me, he had been walking the dead for over a hundred and fifty-years, and before him, there was another fellow, and before him another, all the way back to the days of the Vikings, and then some. I said nothing more for a few minutes, letting him explain to me what he felt he had to, watching the blaze in his eyes, as if he was tired of the job, and wanted to get on with life else where. I assumed he must had been close to 200-years old by the way he was talking.
“You have a gift, and you will have to use it for the next hundred years or so, walking the dead, how else will they find their way to the porthole in the sea?”
To be frank, I didn’t really care, I wanted to get on out of there, and started to walk away.
“Wait a minute,” he said, “if you leave, I will have to put you back where I dug you up! I only saved you to take my place.”
Revenge is sweet I thought, now he threatens me, but I PAID HIM NO HEED, AND IN A FLASH, something hit me from behind, on the head, when I woke up, I was back into my cramped quarters in the sand, and the tide was coming, I could hear it, and the old man standing over me like a prison guard, smirk on his face.

Conclusion: “That is really all I remember folks, because when I woke up, I was down here with you, standing at this porthole, waiting.” (Then all the newly arrivals, started laughing over my story)) all the dead, that surrounded me in the deep of the sea; we all laughed together then, as the old man—so I could see afar —was bringing in a new load of lost souls.))

Written 4-18-2007/edited 4-21-2007