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Back when I was little, every time my grandfather saw me and my brothers pick on some new kid in the neighborhood, he would whisk us away into the living room to, once again, tell us the story of Devin.
Grandpa was old. Like, really old. The story always started with him in his late teens, back in like, 1917…or something liked that. He lived in France with his parents at the time. He always explained to us how simple everything was back then, and then he'd take in a breath and detail the arrival of the Jervaine family.
The Jervaines were a noble family from England. The two parents had immigrated to France with their little boy, Devin. Devin was thought to be some kind of child prodigy…but by the way Grandpa described him, it sounded more like he just had autism. By Grandpa's description, he was a little ten-year-old boy with light blonde hair and pink cheeks. He had "some of the biggest blue eyes you'd ever seen", and his lips were always positioned in such a way that it looked like they were always quivering.
Devin was also very ill, apparently. He had some kind of kidney malfunction that kept his stomach from working properly. He was always vomiting out of nowhere, and his mother would often order him to take nature walks in an attempt to steady his health.
In character, Devin was this really creepy kid, apparently. He was pretty religious…a little too religious, actually. And he always was talking to himself and whispering things to 'angels'. He was really weird, so he didn't have that many friends.
Grandpa and his friends hated Devin Jervaine. In fact, most people did. Back then, the French and the English didn't get along very well. Every time Devin took his little walks, Grandpa and his friends would hide in the bushes at the edge of St. Marguerite Bridge. When Devin had crossed the bridge, they would jump out and grab him. They'd swing his little body over the side of the bridge and punch him in the back until he threw up. Then they'd just leave him there, with nothing to do but continue his walk. Devin never tried to fight them, nor did he try to avoid the bridge that he was always mugged at. He just accepted it.
One day, Devin was walking towards St. Marguerite Bridge like always, and of course, Grandpa and his friends jumped out at him. However, this time Devin started screaming and wailing like a madman. He started talking all the weird stuff about angels and prayers and stuff, but Grandpa and his friends paid no attention to it. They threw his body over the side of the bridge and punched him over and over. Devin gagged and sputtered for a second……And then there was blood. Devin began vomiting blood. Grandpa and his friends were pretty surprised by this, and so they dropped him.
Devin fell twenty-six feet into the river below and hit his head on a rock.
Grandpa and his friends started panicking…and so, out of fear, they took Devin's body and dragged it to a little prairie in the middle of the woods. There was some kind of graveyard there, but it wasn't very big. They dug up an old grave and opened up a coffin. They removed the skeleton that already resided inside and threw Devin's body in.
As the weeks went by, the people in the little French town started to notice Devin's absence. The Jervaine family fell into despair, and a few townspeople even started searches…but only a few. Like I said, French and English weren't very good pals back then, so the Devin affair wasn't that big of a tragedy.
Grandpa and his friends got more nervous by the week. They were so afraid of getting caught, and their parents even had to pull them out of school because they were too distracted in class. Private home studies help a bit, but not much.
It was two weeks after Devin disappeared, and the town was shocked by the news that Grandpa's friend, Phillip, had disappeared as well. The town searched in vain for Phillip, as he was actually very well liked in the community…but they never found him. He slowly faded into the background.
But just as his disappearance became ancient history, he was found. An old woman who lived by a cemetery in the center of town had been hearing strange noises from within one of the tombs. The police waited a day to obtain permission to open up the crypt. When the police looked inside, they saw a small wooden coffin in the center of the room. When they opened it up, Phillip was found inside of it. At first it was assumed he was just murdered, and then placed inside. However, scratch marks on the inside of the coffin proved that he had been buried alive.
Two days after Phillip was found, another one of Grandpa's friends, Gustavo, also disappeared. He was found six days later in another graveyard, also buried alive.
Emilio. Richard. David. They all disappeared and reappeared the same exact way: buried alive. Grandpa was the only one left. He lived his days in so much fear that he couldn't even dress himself properly. Late at night he wouldn't sleep; he would just wait for fate to take him as well. Every little noise in the night made him jump, and everything he did just reminded him more of Devin.
Finally, he came to the conclusion that there was something he had to do. Grandpa took a shovel from his father's workroom, and headed out for the forest. After six miles of trees and bushes, he finally came to Devin's grave. He worked two hours to dig up the old coffin, and when he opened it, he found Devin.
The next part of the story never made sense to my brothers and I, and to this day it still doesn't. It didn't make sense because when Grandpa found Devin…he was still alive. Devin looked up at my Grandpa, and then just began coughing and dragged his limp little body out of the box. He sat down in the grass with his big eyes…glaring at my grandfather.
Of course Grandpa was afraid. He felt like he had gone insane…but he pushed all of his feelings aside and took little Devin into his arms and carried him back to the Jervaine house. His family was overjoyed that their son had been found, and Devin never told anyone what happened to him.
Devin died six days later, due to the severity of his disease.
Grandpa never gave an epilogue to his story. He just left it with that ending. It used to be a chilling bedtime story when I was young, but as I grew up it turned into what seemed like a fable…a little fairy tale designed to scare me away from bullying.
One day, when I was fifteen, Grandpa just…disappeared. He just vanished one night, leaving no note or anything. The family was a wreck. My sister, who was visiting France at the time, called me, saying she was going to visit Grandpa's old home town.
The next day, the family received word from France: my grandfather had been buried alive in a small graveyard in the middle of a wooded area in France. To this day, we have no idea how this happened.