All Hallows Eve, Murder in Grave

Door Made in America gepubliceerd op Saturday 07 February 13:51

All Hallows Eve, Murder in Grave

Grave has an illustrious history. People call it sometimes the most besieged town of the Netherlands. Did you know that Grave also has a history of murder? "All Hallows Eve", or Halloween makes it in this story a horror town with horrific scenes.

This story begins on the night of October 16th.

It had been a bleak, but beautiful autumn day. The weather is unpredictable this time of year. Leaves were falling from the trees and birds are beginning to wonder whether they should leave for warmer climates. It was quiet now on the streets of Grave. On the quay of the Maas water splashed against the stone wall. The water was high for this time of year. A long rainy period had preceded and the Maas flowed off the excess water to the sea. The cry of a lonely seagull broke the silence. Startled by the appearance of a person who walked along the quay, the seagull flew away.


This person was a young woman. She walked a bit hunched over, sheltered in an oversized coat and she had a scarf wrapped around her neck as if it was the middle of winter. A long mild period had preceded this clammy cold. To her, it felt as if she had wintered in a warm country and was now getting off a plane in the chilly damp Netherlands. She lived here in this old town. She thought about the history of this town how it had once started. At one point, Herman van Cuijk built his new burrow here. Around the burrow arose the current town of Grave. It remained the only fortified terrain in the area. The history is great. The influence of the Spanish occupation and later the French occupation gives the city its present appearance. Grave fought an awful battle to regain its grounds back. The French army lost over 16,000 men in the battle for Grave. The idea that so many had died, scared the woman. She often had the feeling that the spirits of the dead gave Grave a mysterious atmosphere in the night. She did not know exactly what it was that attracted her to make these nightly walks. She only knew that she could not sleep and had the urge to seek out the night.


Her parents had raised her with the Catholic faith. This town has a beautiful historical monument from the late Gothic basilica; St. Elisabeth Church. She had been here often with her parents and she fantasized about how this amazing structure was created nearly 800 years ago. Her mind wandered off to the beguine, which is located behind the church. Would the dead be wandering there? What happens there at night? It kept her mind occupied since childhood. She felt at home in the night. The fear of the unknown, the peace and the view. Even the thought of the sense of power she felt, made sure she was constantly drawn to the mystery of the night in Grave. She has lived here her whole life. She had attended school here and had a job now. She started working in the local supermarket three years ago. The wage was just enough to pay for her own apartment. Yet, there was still a void in her life. The only way to fill this void was by giving in to the urge of the night.


It was still 15 nights until All Hallows Eve, better known as the American Halloween. Especially tonight opened this young woman's imagination. She was an inconspicuous person in this community. No one really knew her. She showed little of who she really was. Only the night knew her through and through. Not even her family knew her that well. Each year All Hallows released a desire in her that was getting stronger and stronger. She had the desire for death. She wanted to stand face to face with the Grim Reaper himself. She saw how his long black worn robe, flapping in the wind along the banks of the river, would stand before her. His scythe gleamed in the light of the moon, reflecting in the water of the Maas. To her it would seem amazing to meet this mystical creature face to face. To her he was not fiction, no, he was a desire, a dream. She was not afraid of him, she had an appreciation for him. Who else, but this creature had the lovely task to provide the last guidance of the life of human beings? When would he come for her? When would she see his face in front of her?


Thoughts of the night had become normal for this woman. No one knew of her existence in the night. No one had ever seen her walk these streets. Never before had she encountered someone on her gloomy walks. She felt at home amongst the rats on the quay and the sleeping birds in the water. She liked looking around to see where she would discover a bat. Why did this suit her so well? Why wasn't she like any other person? Anyone else would be asleep right now and get some rest for another day's work. No, she had to seek out the dark. She was a stranger in our midst. Her thoughts could not bear the light. She had to do this in the dark, when no one could see her. She was safe here. This was her moment. No one was allowed to take this away from her or discover her. It was her terrain in the night. The quay of the Maas felt like home to her. She felt one with all the dead souls who still roamed here. So many people died here nearly a thousand years ago. They were at war. She could still smell the sweat of fear in the onshore wind. The fog that hung above the water, let her imagination go so far that she saw faces. Weird dead faces of roaming soldiers murdered in a distant past.


"Samhain" was the month following the night of All Hallows. The Month as the Irish called him. They believed that on the first day of that month, the spirits of all who had died in the past year, would come back and take possession of a living body for the next year. The British believed that the spirits of the dead people would rise up. They would put food by the door to attract them. Evil spirits were kept away by wearing masks. This mysterious woman, was not wearing a mask. She dreamed that an evil spirit would take possession of her in the night. Each year she dreamed of All Hallows and how her gruesome cry for evil would be answered.


It was still 15 more nights until she would experience her favorite day again. Something in her said she would get lucky this year. Her cry for evil was increasing each year. Her name was given to her by her parents, but she has always felt that it had been given to her by Death himself. Kamatayan is her name, thoughtlessly given by two naive people who unexpectedly were expecting a child. Kama, she called herself, abbreviated from her authentic name.

For the first time, Kama had the idea that that she was not alone on this particular night. The night brought a silence that was different. She could not concentrate well. Above her, a bat suddenly flew up from the leafy canopy from a tree. She was drawn to follow this animal. Like her, the bat only feels free to move in the night. It would not be long before this nocturnal animal would change itself. It would slow down its metabolism and go into hibernation. Loyal to its wintering location, he would soon be looking for the same place as last year. Kama would love to be like this animal. Waiting the entire winter for a new spring. No more cold nights outside. What could warm her up? What could make her happy?


Despite all her efforts, Kama never managed to open herself up to others. She lived isolated from everyone, as it were. Maybe she didn't want that? Was her fate already determined? Was she left to the night? Was evil her only companion, or the bat? She often asked herself this during her nightly walks. Yet something gave her the feeling that this night would bring her closer to her goal. She looked around to focus on the silence, which still seemed to be really different. She heard footsteps in the distance. Who could that be? She thought to herself. Quickly she searched for something to defend herself. She saw a big cobblestone alongside the quay. She bent down and picked it up. That felt good! The anger in her body made her feel warm inside. Kama heard the footsteps coming closer. She saw nothing, but she knew it was coming from a side street. Like an animal hunting in the night, she crept closer to the sound. The wind blew in her face. She realized that the person who approached her, could not hear her or smell her because of the wind. She could smell the aroma of a cigar. Was it a man? What was he doing out here in the night?


When Kamatayan got closer to the sound, everything went silent. She looked at the street and saw that the light of the lanterns projected a shadow on the street. It appeared to be a man. Kama was getting ready to strike. She stood around a corner waiting against a wall with the cobblestone in her hands. She looked at the shadow. He is coming closer! She thought to herself. The man appeared to have stopped to light his cigar again. When the man came closer, Kama felt something in her body that she had never felt before. Her breath quickened and her eyes were wide open now. She felt her heart pounding in her throat. What a wonderful feeling! It is taking hold of me!  Without realizing it, Kama hit the man on the head with the cobblestone. She hit the man so hard, he fell to the ground. No sound came after that. There was no movement that indicated the man was still alive. Kama just stood there watching. She still had the cobblestone in her hands and saw that there was a large amount of blood on the stone. Was he dead?

To be continued…            Part II

Translated from Dutch to English with permission of stormerwout

Translated by Niki (aka Made in America)


Made in Amerika

All Hallows Eve, Murder in Grave

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