Dark shapes stalking graveyards, broken grave-slabs, fresh dirt on the short grass, the hint of some strange scent that lingers briefly but disappears even as you think to recognise it.
The lovecraftian vision of the graveyard would hold only one surprise for the rural churchwarden, the short grass. I suppose much horror was written in an era when staff was cheap and any cemetery would have at least one man there to keep the grass down. Modern horror is probably written by people for whom grass is a sort of green concrete substitutive that you find trapped between rivulets of tarmac.
Wearing my churchwarden’s hat (a metaphorical construct, I was wearing the same tatty baseball cap as I wear for other jobs) I can tell you that achieving short grass in a churchyard is not easy.
As I walked across our churchyard earlier today, long bar and mel over my shoulder, I glanced at the names. Some were people whose names I remember from being a kid, some are people I even met or vaguely knew. Some had done this job before me.
I’ve known men retire from a full time job and then give weekends to ‘trying to keep on top of the grass.’ They might even manage for a while, but then mortality creeps up on them, at the very least they grow slowly more frail, and finally they give up, and the grass keeps on growing. Anyway now it’s my turn. With seventeen fence posts and two rolls of netting, I’m mowing the grass.
With the last of the wire in place I came home for a brew. Hopefully the sheep are in there now. They’ll keep the grass short, and even flit between grave slabs in the half darkness if you want. It is possible that they’ll knock over a loose gravestone but better them than some kiddy.
And as for the ghosts? Do sheep believe in ghosts, do they care one way or another about them?
But as I started writing this, I clicked on youtube and listened to a track or two, then looking I saw Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – Make Me Smile. So I clicked on it. There are darker ghosts on the web than you’ll ever find in a country churchyard. Sly evil haunts the aether