I peered through the rusted wrought iron gate to the hill with the cemetery. I had no intention of walking up there, but it did call to me in ways I preferred to ignore. The tangle of tenoned vines surrounding the ancient graves seemed a warning not to approach. I turned back to the home my ancestors had built, now only a fragment of its former splendor. My job was to clean it up, research any items of value and find a buyer. No one in the family was available for this chore, so it was up to me. September found autumn this year beautiful and cool, so working in the stuffiness of the old building was not unpleasant.
I did find a few items of value, a supposed elaborately framed Monet, probably just a copy, a vase of possible Ming decent, and a collection of framed epigrammatic embroideries. None of these would bring a monetary reward I thought, but someone might be enchanted enough to pay a small sum with the oblivescence of any real historical value.
It was in the midst of adjusting these items to be cleaned or repaired for sale, that I felt a presence. Could it be that a ghost of a distant relative didn’t care for my intrusion? The feeling left as quickly as it came. I finished part of the arduous job and crept into my sleeping bag hoping to get an undisturbed night of rest. After shaking off the earlier feelings of the eerie presence, I finally fell asleep.
Sun streaking in the dusty windows found my eyes and I woke up with a start, wondering where I was. Realizing I was where I had to be and all was well, found my phone to check the time. Of course I had overslept, lacking the usual noisy atmosphere of the city. I decided to drive into town and get coffee before tackling the house again. As I drove the winding road it caused me to pass the cemetery again. An unexpected shiver as I once again observed the entwined vines around the graves.
Caffeine urged me to tackle the task of sorting once again, but this time there was a lingering presence that seemed to be actually engulfing me, pushing me in an unwanted direction, out towards the iron gate. It was almost a trancelike feeling, as I numbly proceeded to the gate, opened, and walked up the hill. It was as if I had no control, I just kept on walking up to those very graves that were encrusted with vines. I tried to stop myself. Suddenly the pressure ceased as I found myself in front of a small, but prominent gravestone. I read the inscription and it made clear, why I was the particular person chosen for the job of clearing the old home. Before me lay a fairly new marble block with inscribed words: “Welcome home, James”, and below: “James Arthur Anderson, April 1, 1980 – October 1, 2018.”