Chloe Snippet: House of the Bulls

Since I didn’t write for the prompt last week, here’s a snip of the WIP. Feedback is welcome. I’m still figuring out what I’m doing with this story. 


The bus stop wasn’t at the cemetery entrance, of course. Who would need to come and go to the city of the dead inside the greater mass of the living? Not that the cemetery didn’t hold it’s own community. Chloe got off the bus, seeing Satya moving in her wake like some kind of ectoplasmic shadow, and settled her backpack comfortably before turning to walk up the hill. Belleview had such a beautiful view, and took it’s name from it, for being in location where building homes would have been awkward at best a hundred and fifty years earlier. The city was older than it, of course, but it dated to the first boom of the people who’d built here. The Ohio River had been the gateway to the frontier, back then. It all seemed a little unreal to Chloe as she trudged alongside the massive stone wall that completely encircled Belleview. She was walking on a crumbling sidewalk, picking her way around trash and things she tried not to look closely at. But inside the walls… 

She picked up her pace a little as she got close to the entrance. The big iron gates were still open at this time of the day, so she made for them rather than the small iron-bound oak door where she could pass during the later hours when visiting was done. She was almost home. Her stomach growled, on cue, and she took a deep breath, promising it tea and then more solid substance. But first…

“I’m going to take you to your new digs.” She spoke aloud to Satya for the first time since the bus. 

“Thank you?” He sounded subdued and uncertain, a big change from the menacing ghost who’d tried to frighten her earlier in the day. 

“You need a place?” Chloe wasn’t about to offer to find his real grave, where his body lay. She’d been down that path before, and it had nearly ended in disaster. “I know of a place where no one’s living.” 

“No one?” He repeated. 

“Well, I don’t think so. Never seen a ghost there, anyway. We don’t have a lot of other things that live in the crypts around here.” Other than Benny the ghoul, that was another factor. She should introduce them. Or not. 

“I’m taking this,” She announced, walking up to her beefed-up golf cart that was her primary workhorse for reaching deep into the cemetery with the tools of her trade. Like the rakes and shovels neatly sticking up from the trash can strapped firmly to the back. This evening she wasn’t taking it for that, it was just, “I’m tired and still have a meeting tonight.” 

Satya awkwardly tried to sit next to her, which ended with him sort of in the upholstery, like he was sticking out of a bog, but she didn’t say anything to him as she pulled onto the main road through the cemetery. No point in embarrassing him when she could tell he was trying. 

“This one is in a weird place.” She didn’t know why she felt she needed to explain. “I think it’s the bulls.” 

He looked around. “This is much larger than I’d imagined it would be.” 

“It’s bigger on the inside.” 

He flashed her a ghostly grin, managing to convey white teeth and amusement. “I understood that joke!” 

“Um, well, it really isn’t. But yeah, Belleview is pretty large. I don’t know how many graves exactly. Thousands.” She turned off onto a side route. He slid a few inches toward the far edge of the seat. “Er, I know buckling in won’t help…” 

“No.” He repositioned. “I’m sorry.” 

She sighed out loud. “No, I’ll warn you before I take a turn. Hopefully that will help. It’s not like you can read my mind.” 

“I cannot do that.” He sounded fervently relieved. 

“Turning left, now.” She turned. 

“That was not left!” He clung to one of the uprights, now. 

“Oops. I have trouble with right and left sometimes. Anyway, we’re almost there.” She slowed the small vehicle to a stop, and Satya let go and drifted away from it before regaining his footing like he was still a human. 

“I can’t drive up,” she pointed. “So from here I walk.” 

She started up the hill. They were under the crest of the hill, which was set aside for some truly monumental memorials, of the top families in the city, she’d surmised. Here, there were still some spectacular examples of sculpture and carving on some of the crypts. Like the one she was leading him towards. The interior was dry and empty. Before… before she’d learned not to, she’d peeked into it, curious, and other than a little pile of dead leaves in the far corner, it was seemingly completely empty. It was the four bulls, one on each corner, which had caught her attention about it. She looked up at them, now. 

“It’s different.” She shrugged. “I liked how they almost look alive, and they have expressions.” 

One looked angry, but the others looked different, like they were waiting, or something. She’d never been able to figure it out. They all faced inward, across the flat top, at one another. You’d think they would be looking outward, guarding the contents of the memorial. 

“Anyway.” She cleared her throat after a long silence. “I’m going to have to meet with my boss now.” 

“Thanks. I appreciate you bringing me here.” 

“Er, do you… need anything?” Chloe shrugged. “I never know just what my job requires. I’m a caretaker, you see. I’m supposed to take care of… stuff.” 


If you weren’t already familiar with Chloe and the big cemetery where she works, you can find her first adventure here, in Groundskeeper: Raking up the Dead

5 thoughts on “Chloe Snippet: House of the Bulls

  1. When can we throw money to you to get the sequel to Groundskeeper: Raking up the Dead? 😉

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