Vicki Liston, “Molly’s Grave”

“…and the pieces of her body slowly move towards each
other, worming and squirming underneath the surface of the dirt
until they can reconnect again.”
“Her ‘pieces’? Ewwww….” squirmed Shyloh.
“Well, that’s what they are”, I reasoned. “Pass another
marshmallow and I’ll finish.”
“There’s Bailey,” said Shyloh. “Hey, come over! Preston’s
telling a true Halloween story! Start it over. The real ones are the
creepiest!”
I began again. “Here in St. Charles, Missouri there’s a story
most kids hear in high school – Molly’s Grave. Back in the 1800s,
a woman named Molly Crenshaw lived by herself outside of town,
so people thought she was a witch. One winter, the ground froze,
and the farmers couldn’t get anything to grow the following spring.
They began to whisper among themselves, ‘It’s that witch’s fault!’.
They blamed Molly and grew angrier the more they complained.”
The breeze made us shiver and Bailey inched closer to
the firepit.
“One Halloween night, the farmers exploded into rage.
They banded together with pitchforks and stormed her home.
Molly refused to take the blame and argued with the mob. ‘This is
NOT my doing, I SWEAR!!’ But despite her cries, they dragged
Molly to the town’s square for a horrifying execution. A public
death would serve as adequate punishment! She pleaded for help
from the townsfolk who’d come out to watch. Wouldn’t anyone
stand up for her? But there was no stopping the farmers. As she
lay there, she realized that nothing would convince them of her
innocence. She was going to die! Mustering her courage, she spun
a bone-chilling curse. “Anyone who harms me! Or watching my
death!” Molly screeched. “YOU’RE CURSED! I’ll come back to
life and bring my vengeance! To YOU, your family, your children,
and grandchildren!”
The fire flickered wildly, and we all jumped.
“While they didn’t stop, the mob hesitated. How do you
keep a witch from resurrecting? Someone yelled, ‘Cut her in half!
She can’t come back if she’s not a full body!’ Molly screamed her
last words, ‘I’LL STILL COME BACK!!’ Undeterred, they agreed
on this solution and Molly was sawed in half.
Molly’s body was buried in separate graves. One at a private
cemetery near where the high school is now. The other, miles away
in an unmarked grave near the river. The town went back to its
everyday life and the farmers returned to their fields. But no crops
grew that year. And despite the miles between them, Molly’s
body started moving towards each other from the moment of her
burial. As if magnetically attracted back together, aching for new
life and a taste for revenge. Wiggling like worms underneath the
unsuspecting town. Once the pieces meet, Molly will live again and
wipe out all of the farmers’ descendants and of those present at her
death! How soon will it happen? How close are the pieces now?
How much time is left? Are YOU a descendent?! No one knows…”
“Let’s go!” blurted Bailey, already standing.
“Where???”, asked Shyloh, not wanting to know the answer.
“Umm, bad things happen to anyone who disrespects Molly,”
I warned. “Some kids went looking for her grave once…and the
police found them impaled on a cemetery fence. Like DEAD.”
He scoffed. “Scaaaaaaared?”
I rolled my eyes. “It’s just a story.”
“Well, if there’s nothing to worry about…”, Bailey taunted.
We piled into Bailey’s car, wishing for the first time that he
wasn’t old enough to drive. I wasn’t listening as he mapped to our
destination – a private cemetery near the high school.
As we pulled up, my stomach knots relaxed. ‘That’s it?!’, I
thought, seeing a chain link fence surrounding a dozen markers.
Bailey grabbed a flashlight as we stepped out into the darkness. The
crickets serenaded us, unphased by our intrusion. We hopped the
fence and Bailey lit each grave, mumbling their names. I held back;
the fence felt safer than stepping over graves.
Shyloh’s voice unexpectedly cut into the crickets’ song,
“Molly, we aren’t afraid of you!” The cacophony of crickets suddenly
died to a deafening silence. My neck hair prickled as I realized the
wind had abruptly stopped, too. We stood motionless.
Waiting.
Listening.
Petrified.
My stomach knotted as Bailey shifted his weight and a
stick cracked like an old bone. “Look at the ground!”, he sputtered.
“Something’s moving underneath!!” Bailey dropped the flashlight
and bolted. Shyloh followed but I couldn’t – my legs had hardened
into cement. She ran, leaping to clear the fence but caught a barb
and she crumpled with a cry into the rail before crashing to the
ground. Was she impaled?! I couldn’t see past the stinging tears.
Bailey made it to the car first, keys jangling as he shook.
The car simply clicked, refusing to start. I stood frozen solid,
watching Shyloh groan on her bloody leg. Bailey cursed at the car
as if that would convince it to work. Numb and blurry, all I could
do was watch the flickering flashlight cast eerie shadows on the
gravestones. Terror took ahold of my body, and I saw my breath in
the chilly air. Molly was here. We’d been disrespectful and there
were dire consequences in store. “I’m sorry,” I whispered, “I didn’t
even want to come.” I choked as panic engulfed my throat. “Please,
Miss Crenshaw! We’re sorry,” I pleaded with reverence. The words
hung like corpses over my head. Throbbing silence beat on my ear
drums as I held my breath, not wanting to see it billow out again.
Then, one lone cricket ruptured the nothingness. Then
another. The key clicked and the car struggled to life. “PRESTON,
MOOOOOVE!!”, Bailey screamed wildly, his voice octaves above
his normal tone. I exhaled; my breath no longer visible. “Thank you,
Molly”, I sputtered, shaking as the words tumbled off my tongue.
My legs, now complying, flew with newfound speed towards the
car, grabbing Shyloh and dragging her in as I jumped inside. Bailey
stomped the gas pedal to the floor. As I took one more look out
across the graveyard, the flashlight’s flicker caught what looked like
a woman’s shadow. I squeezed my eyes tight, whispering apologies
as we sped away.

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