“The Giant Under the Cemetery”

The Caretaker

The giant under the cemetery is hungry.

The monster’s growling hunger is thunderous, rumbling the lone house above its colossal body—where an immortal caretaker lives.

The giant used to slowly feed on the bodies buried into the cemetery’s dirt-filled mouths—the real reason for decay. Now it has been left with nothing but weeping ghosts wondering why their bodies wouldn’t stay.

For thousands of years, the Caretaker has kept this monster buried away from the land of the living, in a prison sentence bracketed by cemetery gates. For thousands of years, the Caretaker has been haunted by the day he first came into contact with it.

It was a day as foggy as his current recollection of it, buzzing with the stench of death emanating from the fly-riddled corpses of his tribe. They had been among the first people to walk the green canvas that would become Orchard, New Jersey, painting it with heavy strokes of blood, sweat, and tears during their daily fight for survival. But on that day, they had painted that canvas with a crimson circle of death—a mass suicide.

“Listen to them, the stone voices from above,” hissed an unsettling unison of gurgling voices coming from mouths carved on throats. “They promised us resurrection and eternal life… in exchange for death, brother. We’re still waiting.”

An unearthly aircraft made of gray stone hovered over them, stretching on for miles, shaped like the casket of a giant. It emitted an overwhelming, somber moan that seemed to ascend in pitch endlessly, without ever actually doing so. The only true ascension was that of the Caretaker’s tribe, rising along with the tone of the auditory illusion, shepherded by the aircraft itself.

With invisible hands, the airborne invader puppeteered the moaning skin bags of reactivated flesh and bones, steering them slowly towards the terror-masked Caretaker. With a humanoid hand bursting out of the earth, tightly wrapped with chalk-white skin raining dirt, a buried giant grabbed the overhead aircraft and sent it crashing down on the deactivated, terror-stricken Caretaker.

Tucked under sheets of debris, the Caretaker was lullabied by his own screaming agony. The suffocating blackness of his fading consciousness shook him more than the cold, long nights he and his tribe had suffered through in the name of survival. But survival had become a god they would no longer fight for. Death would soon embrace the Caretaker, for the first and final time.

With icy hands, death squeezed the remaining life out of the skin bag of mutilated flesh and broken bones the Caretaker had been reduced to. With hands suddenly invaded with strength, he broke free, and ascended from his grave of stones.

The rubble stretched on for miles, expansive enough to keep the deathly giant buried. Taking his first steps after his miraculous resurrection, the Caretaker found that his divorced bones had been reunited, and that the gaping mouths on his flesh had been silenced, never to speak pain or cry blood again. The bloody tears already stained on his skin gave him a layer of frightening war paint that would make his bird god proud.

“You’ve been promised eternal life,” gravelly voices said in eerie unison, coming from the chorus of countless stones around the Caretaker—the very debris that had been his grave. Each chilling, hair-raising word signed itself on the back of his neck. “Keep our child fed with the bodies of the dead to delay your world’s end.”

It was a day as hungry as the current one. Violent roars emanated from the ground itself. Fearing the giant would someday devour the entire earth if left to starve, the Caretaker did exactly as the stone voices told him to. He recovered the corpses of his tribe and fed them to the monster, marking their graves with the stones themselves. The Beakman tribe became the first people to call what would become Ascension Lawn Cemetery home, buried in the company of lone headstones that continue to speak to the immortal Caretaker, telling him tales of the dead they overlook.

For thousands of years, the Caretaker has fed the giant under the cemetery with the bodies of the dead. For thousands of years, the Caretaker had been unknowingly amassing an undead tribe that has now risen from rows upon rows of dirt beds, ready to bring the world’s end.