A silver wolf head glowered, half-covered in dirt, from the bottom of the pit. The coffin had been torn open, bones strewn about as though by animals, the human corpse’s skull half-smashed. A corpse demon sat in the shadows, shivering, a skinny little thing, toothy and hideous. At the top of the dirt hole, half-in, half-out, lay a couple of grave robbers, entrails ripped open. They had a burlap bag up on the grass spilling out gold and silver artifacts. An old witch observed the scene, elbow on the gravestone. She spoke in a very deep voice: They didn’t get far, did they?

They broke his skull. Can’t get into heaven looking like that, said the sexton, puffing on a long pipe. That one was never on his way to God, said the witch. And he left behind a corpse demon. It’s down there in the hole.

You take the demon, I take the silver wolf head. Then we toss these two into the pit with him. We cover it over and no one’s the wiser, what do you say? the sexton asked the witch. The witch’s eyes twinkled.


It was dark and raining as the witch and the sexton shoveled dirt, refilling the grave. They watched as the disemboweled remains of the gravediggers and the skeleton with the mashed skull disappeared under shovel after shovel of wet dirt. The silver wolf head now glinted in the grass over by the gravestone. The corpse demon lay outstretched a few yards away, frozen by a spell.

When the grave was covered, the sexton held the wolf head like a football and shook hands with the witch, her huge hand almost crushing his. She laughed an unnaturally high-pitched laugh. Behind her the corpse demon reanimated and floated a few inches off the ground, glowing pale green. Leaving… So soon? the witch asked the sexton. The sexton tried to pull his hand back but her grip was too tight. As the corpse demon floated closer and closer the sexton gave his hand another powerful yank and this time it came free but as it did the skin of his hand ripped right off, leaving the sexton gasping at his skeletal hand, rivulets of blood coursing down his arm. The witch giggled, sounding now like an infant. The sexton turned and ran but stumbled on a tree root, falling onto the silver wolf head he’d been cradling with his good hand. The wolf head squirmed to life in his grasp, the jaws opening and closing, biting into his chest. The sexton screamed, trying to pull the wolf head away but it slipped through his fingers and ate through his rib cage and bit right into his heart. When the wolf head had eaten its way out the other side of the sexton’s torso, the corpse demon lifted the wolf head up, dripping blood, and brought it back to the witch. The witch took it and let out a broken laugh.

As the witch walked away, the corpse demon dragged the sexton’s body back to the newly covered grave. He sunk slowly into the mud like it was quicksand, pulling the sexton after him until both had submerged and the grave was closed up again.

The witch carried the silver wolf head with both hands out to one of the graveyard roads where a town car waited for her. The back door opened and she ducked inside. The door closed and the car pulled quietly away, driving out through the cemetery gates as the rain came down in torrents. Then lightening flashed on the cypress trees, causing shadows to lengthen and twist for a moment like screaming faces. Thunder growled across the valley and more rain and more rain came until it was over and finally the cemetery got quiet again.



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