They always warned us not to go in there after dark. But what is the one thing you can say to an adventurous, rebellious kid to make him break the rules? “Don’t do that.” Of course I wasn’t going to listen to them and neither were my friends. We had to see it for ourselves and see if all the rumors and legends were true. There was never a moment to stop and think about what it is we were going to do if it turned out those rumors and legends weren’t myths at all. It’s something I can’t stop thinking about now though, even though I wish that I could. Every time I’m alone and it’s dark, I close my eyes and I see that face. And I hear that awful sound all over again.
It was a dark, cold night on that fateful evening that I sneaked inside the old Penbroke Cemetery. I went inside alone because I didn’t feel as though I had anything to worry about and none of my friends had the guts to do it. And I think that part of going in alone involved my ego; I wanted to be able to tell everyone that I went all the way in and saw the famed howling headstone all by myself. It’s that very mistake that I’ve been living with now for all these years ever since. I wasn’t sure where the headstone was actually located, but I always heard that you would know it when you saw it. And they were not lying about that.
It wasn’t long after darting my way through a multitude of plots and grave markers that I knew I had found what I set off to see. It was larger than the other markers in the area and seemed to glow in the dimness of the moonlight. It was as brooding and ominous as the stories said and even though I went in a skeptic, I had to stop in my tracks in awe of the sheer feeling of intimidation the thing gave off. The legend says that it was the final act of revenge by a man that was ostracized from the town for being rude with everyone else in town for most of his life. It was pure black stone, cut in the form of snakes, crows, vines, and one very large skull near the top.
I couldn’t break my eyes away from the space where the eyes would sit in the skull; that’s why I came to such a sudden stop. It was like it had some kind of hold over me and I could only just stand there in the dark and stare back. Deep down I knew what was going to happen next and I did not have to wait long. The jaw of the skull began to move down, somehow, though it was made of stone. It was dark, but I could still tell that it was moving. And from somewhere deep inside of that now open stone mouth emanated a rumbling, terrible guttural scream. It was the worst sound I’ve ever heard and I had to grab ahold of another headstone just to keep myself from passing out and falling over.
The next thing I remember, I was running full speed back the way I came, and doing my best not to trip over other grave markers. The entire time I ran, I could hear that horrible yell coming from that skull from somewhere in the darkness behind me. I kept running even after I got back over the fence and never looked back. My friends had no idea what happened and caught up with me down the road. I couldn't explain what I just saw and none of them had heard the sounds. I wish I could keep on running now, but it’s going to stick with me for the rest of my life. That horrible sound did something to my mind that will probably never be fixed.