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Chapter 1

     The Story The Authors
God, it was tough being Geraldine today. More so than yesterday or the day before. She took another slug of beer and listened idly as Adam yammered about the new carbs he'd put in his Camero. A warm glow from the lukewarm beer started to spread through her. It helped a little. The various people gathered in the graveyard wandered through her vacant stare as she nodded at Adam's banter as if she really gave a shit. She didn't but he was cute. Had nice hair and good hygiene.
And he had his own car. There was something to be said for that.
"Do you...uh... wanna go and look for headstones with me?" he asked.
"Yeah, sure"
Her heart pounded a bit. Not so much from Adam's offer. She'd expected that. But she heard the tapping again. Faintly and muffled, but still quite distinct.
So off they strolled into the darkness, down the marble boulevards, old headstones willy-nilly as bad teeth, cenotaphs crowned with angels of mercy or death presiding over god's little acre.
"Hey, look at this one," exclaimed Geraldine, bending low to scrape away the thick stubble of ivy with her flashlight from the jowls of a particularly decrepit tombstone. A stylized old winged death's-head grinned malevolently at them from the stone's crown; beneath was carved the legend:

our beloved son
Lars Ginchell
April 1, 1666 September 21, 1673
who fell asleep.

"God, but that's fucking creepy," said Adam.
"True, but it's also kind of beautiful... Because it's true, ya know?" She turned up and toward him then. An awkward, beatless silence. This was when he was supposed to kiss her, right? She half-closed her eyes. My name is Geraldine and always will be so don't call me mosquito...
And then there it came again and again more loudly that confounded tapping! What in God's name could it be? She shivered, and as she looked at Adam, she realized he was more scared than she she was.

"You hear something?" he said to her in a rasp tinged with fright. Geraldine was becoming a bit exasperated, spooks or no, she was expecting a passionate hormonal buss about now. "Wind, I guess, banging some branches or something." My name is Geraldine, so don't call me Scooby.
"Yeah, yer prob'ly right. Just gets kinda spooky out here, you know, 'round Halloween 'n shit. What's it say again on that stone?" The pair bent down to look at it again, almost bumping heads. The ice was broken and they both chuckled softly. "Yeah, that's definitely fuckin' creepy" said Adam in the hearbeat before their eyes locked and the making out began in earnest. While deep in the back of their heads it began again
tap, tap...tap, tap, tap,...tap...tap,tap...
It was the ghost of Stephen King and Marley, leering neatly thru the sinister crevice in the hollow tree where the thing shaped like a thing dwelt on alternate Tuesdays. Would Adam implode suddenly? Wiser heads than Geraldine might wonder indeed. Who could stand this ghastly onslaught? Adam winced as Geraldine hissed, "Who can that be?" The back of their heads again tapped, this time to the unspeakable beat of the unmentionable song sung by the unspoken terrors in the tiny area slightly above the fissure of Sylvius and one millimeter to the left. "It''s," choked Geraldine pallidly as she grasped Adam slowly by the nether portion of his left ear, "It's..." M. Lindsay
"...Assistant Principal Hadley is right, and I'm afraid you two kids are in a lot of trouble." He clucked his tongue and shook his head sadly. "That's why this town has a curfew. To keep you from getting into things you shouldn't be getting into. To protect you from yourselves, from all your zippy little hormones. It's too bad, too, that it had to be you two. I knew your father, Adam; we played football together. And you, I've always been fond of you, Geraldyne..." He held her chin lovingly in the cup of his hand.
"It's pronounced Geraldeen, Mr. Hadley," she replied. And I ain't no guacamole...
Guacamole indeed. From behind the tall figure of Assistant Principal Hadley they could hear the distant, sibilant syllables of Spanish and the rhythmic skwuushk! of shovels sinking into and raising up the loose, sandy dark loam along the banks of Black Creek...

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