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Grey Mask

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I have always had a particular fear for burials. I don't know why, possibly because burials are full of dead people. Especially when it's dark those places are creepy. I usually avoid burials.

As fate would have it, me and my class went to a World War 1 burial site during an excursion for my class alone. The teacher had found a really cheap burial we could visit. Of course, when we'd get back at school we'd have to write an essay about it. Now for the sake of saving your ass I won't tell you which burial site it is. It looked kind of forgotten anyway. We arrived at the burial site late in the afternoon due to a delay we had while driving there by bus. The place was creepy as hell, even more so than it would have been if it was just a burial.

Me and my friend walked ahead of the class and were at the front gate of the burial site already, peering through the bars of the gate. It was a large, dark area CLEARLY showing its age. The gravestones were all crumbled, there was vegetation all over, there was this creepy crumbled chapel in the middle. The walls around the burial site looked pretty intact, save for some cracks and missing plaques. Everyone looked at the teacher with a "What The F-" expression on their faces. Understandable. The place looked haunted. The fact that it was situated in a surprisingly quiet forest didn't help me feel calmer.

"Now, stay together children! We don't want to lose sight of anyone, and please, tread quietly! Show respect for the deceased." our teacher said to the rest of the class. "Kirsti, Sinjin, get away from that gate and come back!", she suddenly called out to us. Oh, I am Kirsti by the way. Sinjin is my friend. He's kind of a crazy guy but that's what makes our friendship so strong. We're both crazy.

I am a sixteen year old girl with short blonde hair, and at the time I was wearing a grey t-shirt with a black vest, a skirt that fitted kinda tightly, and a pair of black shoes. Sinjin is a sixteen year old guy with sleek brown hair, and at the time was wearing jeans and hoodie.

Back to the story.

"Now class, is everyone ready?" the teacher asked, way too excited for something like this. The class nodded and everyone was clearly nervous, me and Sinjin included. Sinjin didn't know about my fear of burials, though. We were standing way back. We had to wait for a long time as the teacher was explaining us what to do. Me and Sinjin weren't even paying attention.

"Kirsti, this place is freaking terrible."

"I know... It gives me the creeps. What were they thinking when they brought us to this cheap piece of shit?"

"Yeah. This is like... Oh there we go."

Sinjin had to stop talking and so did I, as the headman of the burial opened the gates, which creaked ominously, after which the class proceeded into this dark place. The headman was telling stories to our class as we walked. The tension was rising and everyone was nervous. Except for the teacher of course. Despite my fear of this place I was tempted to investigate, and so was Sinjin. We wanted to know more, we wanted to see more. Fear is such a strange thing. Makes you curious and frightened at the same time.

We subtly moved away from the class slowly. The burial site had three sections lying beside each other, each of them separated by a wall. We entered the middle section with the class, and now me and Sinjin were proceeding towards the section on the right, when viewed from above.

"This is wickedly creepy and cool. So many dead dudes below us." Sinjin whispered to me.

"Yeah... Let's see what this place has to offer." I responded. My heart was beating wildly, both from excitement and fright.

From what it appeared, the section of the burial we headed to once was closed. There were bits of rope and cloth lying at the gates leading into the section, as well as footsteps apparently made with boots. Probably the headman who removed the rope but forgot to clean it up. There were hints that there used to be a sign above the gates leading into this section, but it was either removed or it just rusted off. We proceeded nonetheless.

This section of the burial was, well, different, and much more eerie. The gravestones looked even more neglected, some were lacking a name and there were even gravestones that were completely turned into rubble. There was no chapel here, only a small cottage, built from rotting wood. In the meantime, the sun disappeared behind a thick cloud.

I was starting to get nervous. This place had a really ominous feeling to it. Sinjin then tapped me on the shoulder and pointed ahead of us. "Daaamn Kirsti, you see that?", he whispered as he pointed. There, ahead of us, was a gravestone, partially shattered, but this one clearly had a name on it.

"...Let's see that from up close." Sinjin then said with excitement in his voice.

"Oh Sinjin, that isn't a good idea... Let's head back?" I said, my fear was getting the better of me. Heck, who wouldn't be frightened to death by this place?

Sinjin, clearly.

Without even paying attention to what I said, he began walking towards the destroyed gravestone. I tried to stay close to him but he climbed over the other gravestones with such agility, I could barely keep up with him. Coupled with the fact I was wearing a skirt I couldn't really run that fast. He kept going and going faster and faster until he suddenly disappeared.

I was shocked and instantly called out for him. No answer. I bolted over to the place where I saw him disappear and almost fell into a deep hole! I had a hard time keeping balance but I eventually managed to. And when I managed to, I gazed down for a moment and saw Sinjin, lying in the hole. He was groaning and held his leg. It took me a few moments to realize that he disappeared because he fell in that hole. My mind was blank at that point, I really didn't know what to do. My jaw must have been open for the longest time as I was standing there.

Sinjin's voice snapped me back to this world.

"Kirsti! Help me out!" he yelled at me from the hole.

"Sinjin you fool!" I called out and reached out for him. He took my hand and attempted to climb out of the hole. But he couldn't get enough grip with his shoes, and I wasn't strong enough to pull him out. After a few more frantic attempts to get him out, he let himself fall on his back as he stared at me with widened eyes. We both knew that he was stuck and we couldn't get him out unless we called for help. But we didn't want to get detention for wandering off into this section of the burial.

I looked around frantically as I was getting a bit panicked. My best friend was stuck and if we would call for help we'd get detention or worse. I looked around and for a moment I thought I was gonna panic for real, until Sinjin called up to me. "Kirsti! Go get help... I think I broke something. I'm not going to get out of here unless you call for help." he said with a sigh as he ran a hand through his black hair, grimacing.

I shook my head and continued to look around. I sighed with relief when I saw a man standing in the far distance, next to the cottage we spotted earlier. He had his back turned to me and from what I could tell was wearing a coat and a hood. I figured he was the grave keeper and was just standing outside having a smoke or something.

While I looked at the man, Sinjin talked to me too. "What is this hole anyway? There are two footprints in here and they aren't mine." I heard him say, before I turned my head to speak to him again. "Sinjin, I see someone. He isn't from our school. We can get you out without the nasty consequences!" I said before walking off. Sinjin kept talking but I didn't hear much other than "Dug" and "Inside" and stuff.

It was awfully quiet as I approached the man, only the sound of the wind blowing through the trees kept the place from being silent. I couldn't even hear our class anymore. I called out to the man: "Hello, sir! Could you help me?", I asked as I walked towards him, past the gravestones, leaves rustling below my feet. No answer. I was close enough now to see that the man wasn't smoking a cigarette. His coat looked dirty and old and had a few holes. He had his arms folded and just stared at the wall in front of him.

"Sir?" I asked again and reached out to tap him on the shoulder. He was quite tall, about 7'1", so I had to reach up. But before I even managed to touch the man I heard Sinjin shouting behind me.

"Kirsti! Come help me! I'm almost out!" he yelled at me. I turned around and saw him trying to crawl out of the hole, but he clearly couldn't do it alone. He had made it quite far though. I turned away from that man and ran to help Sinjin out of the hole. He told me he probably broke his ankle, as it hurt very much. I helped him up and let him wrap an arm around my shoulders so I could get him out of there. I didn't want to be in this bit of the cemetery any longer.

That's when my eyes turned to the man again. I almost wanted to scream. I wasn't shocked about the fact he stood turned to us, but his face scared me more. Or rather, his lack of a face. He was wearing a grey gasmask, with two filters: A small one where his mouth would be, a larger one on the chin. Below the mouth filter, I saw something that looked like the clasp of a belt. Even though I couldn't see his eyes I was certain he was looking at us.

I told Sinjin that we'd better go. We progressed slowly out of the area, Sinjin's injury slowed us down. I gritted my teeth together when I heard leaves rustling behind us, accompanied by heavy footsteps. I urged Sinjin to go quicker. Once we limped out of the "forbidden area", we were immediately greeted by the angry face of the burial's headman, and the worried face of our teacher.

"We've wondered where you were! What happened?" She asked and approached us, looking at Sinjin's foot. He told her he probably broke his ankle. Our conversation was interrupted by the gruff voice of the headman. "Well, time's up I'm afraid! I really hope you learned something from your stay at this cemetery! Any questions?" he asked, standing behind me and Sinjin now. One of the students raised their hand.

"Yes, young man?" the headman asked.

"Who is that behind you?" the student said in a rather nervous voice.

I turned my head around, the first thing I saw was the confused expression on the headman's wrinkled face. But when I saw who was standing behind him I couldn't help but to yelp, wrapping both of my arms around Sinjin.

It was the masked man.

The headman turned around as a nervous murmuring began to arise amongst the students. "What are you doing? Get back into your hut! The visitors are not gone yet!" he said to the masked man, who just stood there silently. I could not tell who he was looking at. I, the teacher, and Sinjin backed off a bit. The headman paused for a moment before continuing. "It's not your shift yet!"

A sudden reaction made the class scream in horror, as the masked man reached for the headman's throat with his right hand, all around the cemetery leaves suddenly were blown up into the air. I screamed as well and pressed myself to Sinjin, who in turn backed off further from this situation. The teacher pulled us both back. The headman made all sorts of choking sounds as the masked man pushed him down to the muddy ground of the burial, his face started to turn red. I screamed again, looking from the choking headman to the masked man, tears began to well up in my eyes as I was scared to death. It wouldn't be long before the headman stopped struggling.

All of the students started to run towards the exit of the burial, screaming in fear, the teacher pulled us along but I had to help Sinjin with walking, slowing us down. I looked back one more time to see the headmaster lie on the ground, with the masked man slowly walking towards us, his expressionless gasmask turned right at us. I urged Sinjin to go faster as we exited the cemetery, heading towards the waiting bus, tears streaming down my cheeks as I feared for my life.

This truly was a nightmare come true.

The other students were nervously banging on the side of the bus, the driver opened the doors and everyone ran in like a pack of wild animals. The teacher left me and Sinjin as she ran ahead, into the bus. "Come on Sinjin! We're going to be left behind otherwise!" I urged him again as I fought to hold back my terrified screams as I shook uncontrollably. Once we arrived at the bus's entrance, I helped Sinjin get in before I looked back at the cemetery's entrance, the masked man walked through the gates and was still coming for us. But to my dismay, he began to run. I screamed at the sight, before Sinjin pulled me into the bus, the doors weren't even closed yet or the driver hit the gas, and the bus drove off. I was dragged into the bus and set down on one of the seats as the door closed behind me, I lost all sense and reason and started to cry, scared out of my wits.

The driver quickly made his way out of the forest, and I calmed down significantly when I saw that the sky was no longer obstructed by trees. During the ride, the teacher made numerous calls to warn the authorities, and informed us that we all got a week off from school to process the shock.

I never want to return to that place ever again.

In the same week, the police investigated the burial we had visited. They found the dead body of the headman, but said there was no trace of a "masked man". They also informed us that the burial site wasn't marked on any other map other than the one the headman himself provided our teacher with. Most of the graves were empty, and almost none of the names on the gravestones matched that of actual WW1 soldiers. Long story short: I finally understand why the place was in such a poor condition, and I think we're not done yet.

This all is just getting started.

Grey Mask



Written by Dexvam 
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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