Midnight. Silent. Remote. A full moon shines on a lonely ridge shrouded in fog. A stone shape protrudes from the earth. A feeling of movement where there should be none.
The moon beams illuminate the scene that lies beneath as un-flickering candlelight. Towards the heavens the trees eclipse the pale moonlight as the rays dance and flicker while one mundane tree is close to death and another thrives. On the first, the branches create points like the crooked nails on a witch’s hand but on the second, dark green leaves camouflage secrets beneath the roots. Shining through the leaves, the moon is perhaps willing to unveil the secrets it is keeping. The brightest part of the moon remains clear, fighting the mists which threaten its purpose.
In the faint distance, the jagged rocks are broken glass stacked high like a tower, their peaks razor-edged, they descend like an indistinct stairway into the inky blackness: An insurmountable barrier blocking the way ahead.
The gnarled branches of the thick tree trunk thrive, growing almost horizontally, as a body asleep with a bitter scent. Something has disrupted its growth. The witch’s fingers and the evergreen leaves almost shake hands. There are twists and turns in the trunk as the tree meanders towards the lunar luminance. Nothing else grows here.
Just below, A word long-erased by the mystery of time is sculpted upon the stone. There are holes, as if full of horrid warning, gaped wide, inflicted long ago by the shots of a musket. Time has softened the wounds. Above, a sheer line, a divide, separates the stone, its crest a chiselled unbroken herald to the moon. The stone bears the horizontal lines of age, slowly losing the battle against the mindless weather and unforgiving time.
Upon the rock, the first raven holds its head down, as if in mourning. His pointed beak is snapped shut and his black wings are placid. He sits upon the sepulchre. He is not alone; the next bird is in flight, swooping and soaring, hiding the brittle black branches under black wings like a mountain. His beak opens as he calls. The last raven is perched on the sepulchre, where a human visitor would lament the passing of a loved one. He elevates his gaze to the moon like a wolf howling, yet no sound emanates. The stone he stands on, with feet like needles, is overgrown with black moss, as if never having borne a guest from the human world.
The third raven’s wing emphasises a mark deeply embossed onto the stone. Unworn and unbroken, it is as an ancient rune of power; the mark of an eternal fire, like a brand upon flesh. An inky black halo undiminished by time, its strange symmetry seems foreign in this place. Alone, it resists.
The earth in the grave is disturbed as if there’s been movement within. Perhaps something that has rested inside has longed for a glimpse of the world they no longer share or perhaps something from the outside had been attracted by what was laid inside. Stunted plants emerge from the soil like spiders in the dark.
Upon the sepulchre, a lady, untouched by her surrounds: Her dress, unstained and unmarked by time, falls crumpled around her, the creases and folds sweeping against the stone as she sits, all her weight on the side as A bend at her knee flows the length of the deep, violet fabric touches the earth around her. The moonlight illuminates her sickly features yet her face, pale as ivory, is partially covered by tatty ebony waves of soft locks hanging to her waist. recoiling from the subtle light, her eyes are closed and thick with dark black that streams down her cheeks; tears on a porcelain doll. Her lips are full and blood red, as if painted. Her arms are as ice, long and thin, holding her figure as she leans to climb from the grave, her slender form braced against the force of her removal.
A deeply etched scrawl harshly severing the stone covers most of the words once written on the tomb.Untouched by time, beast or element, the numbers “1721” shine out from within the rock.
The year she was laid to rest, or the year she was to rise?