Wednesday, 9 November 2011

He raises his head

Snow is falling again, it only stopped for thirty minutes this time.  It's getting deeper all around; my feet sink into it up to the tops of my ankles and they're not standing on the ground, just on the packed snow from earlier in the day.  I can still see the tops of the gravestones, but I have to dig them out to read them now, so I know that the snow's at least two feet deep.  The huge stone angel that stands guard over Thomas Evangelion's tomb is still visible, though its outspread wings are supporting a thick ledge of snow now.  I'm wary of going too close to it, in case it sheds its load and tried to bury me in the soft whiteness.  Just like the sky is trying to do.
I'm still waiting though, still skulking around the graveyard, looking for a sign.  I know it has to do with the angel; there's no other reason for Thomas Evangelion to have such a magnificent memorial.  In life he was a mean-spirited school teacher who was hated by generations of children and rarely did anything worthwhile.  There were stories of physical abuse; boys beaten into submission and girls slapped into silence.  Nothing too salacious, nothing like what we all think these days when we hear that word: abuse.  How long now before some wit informs us that abuse is a four-letter word?
Thomas Evangelion died after his private still was struck by lightning while he was decanting off alcohol.  The explosion blew him in four different directions, and they had to piece him back together before they buried him.  Back in his house they found lists of names, all the children he'd taught, and symbols next to them all.  Little frowning faces, imps pulling tongues, black crosses and impaled hearts.  No clue as to what they meant, but all the impaled hearts belonged to children who were dead, and so the question arose as to how far his abuse had gone.  No-one came up with any answers.  They also found one hundred and eighty books on bonsai trees and not a single tree.  A few people thought that was odder still.
I pace across the graveyard the snow crunching and squeaking under foot.  I know that the secret to all this is weight, but a graveyeard is a terribly big plot of land, and the snow is my best hope for enough weight without anyone getting wind of what I'm looking for.  I did look into sand, but it's more expensive than I'd thought, and they don't deliver at night.  I also got the impression that I'd have to pick it all back up again myself, since the delivery firms didn't fancy trying to dig a graveyard out of a sand-dune.
Thomas Evangelion had a single friend that anyone can remember, a man called Luke Baphomet that he'd known since they were children.  Baphomet's death was reported eighteen times in four years, in ten different locations, all of different causes and at different times.  I've got newspaper cuttings from all the various archives collated together in my file on Evangelion.  Because someone has to have helped him disappear finally, someone has to have given him a way to hide that didn't give the game away.  There's always been a theory that Baphomet called himself Evangelion and started a new life, but that doesn't work for me.  Baphomet was a murderer and a smuggler and seemingly barely literate.  I don't see how he could pass himself off as a schoolteacher, even one as thuggish and inept as Evangelion.
There's a creak, and it's not my shoes in the snow this time.  I stop, and look towards the angel.  Is there enough weight on the whole of the graveyard at last?
Nothing happens for two minutes, except that the snow continues to fall.  Then, just as I'm getting bored, there's that loud, echoey creak again that seems to come from all around, and the stone angel above Thomas Evangelion's tomb raises his head.  Light seems to shine from his eyes, and the stone wings shiver, dislodging snow in great slabs that fall to the ground and smash apart.  There's another creak and a shudder, and the whole tomb slides sideways, the angel turning through ninety degrees to guard it, and in the middle of the graveyard, surrounded by walls of snow, is the hidden chamber of Thomas Evangelion and Luke Baphomet.

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