Tales to Terrify

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Tales to Terrify 464 Sonora Taylor

by Drew Sebesteny
December 18th 2020

Welcome to Episode 464. This week we make one last stop in Manitoba to learn the ghostly origin behind a roadside monument. For fiction, we have one tale that follows a boy growing up in a world wh... More

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the blackest corners of your mind they call pulling you deep into shadow, twisting your senses, keeping you from sleep. It's time to face your darkest fears. This is tales to terrify and good evening Children of the night and welcome. The holidays are nearly upon us and as our little gift to you, we've got some bonus content on the way, both for our patrons

and all of our regular listeners on Patryan will be sharing a special classic Christmas Eve ghost story to carry on the tradition and get you in the spirit. Then, on Boxing Day, look for an exclusive tail, courtesy of our friends over at Dark Matter magazine who I mentioned last week. And while we're at it for those patrons who support us for $10 or more, the bonus holiday patryan swag packs have been sent and should hopefully be arriving in your stocking or mailbox shortly. So lots of delightfully dark stuff to get you in the haunted holiday mood. We've got one last stop in Manitoba before continuing our cross country track, a place that not only spawned one of the oldest ghost stories in the province but is also named after it. Officially

, the little municipality, a stone's throw from the western edge of Winnipeg, is called ST Francois Xavier, but locally it's better known as Whitehorse plane. Before the Europeans began to spread out across the land, claiming it for their own, the region was home to the Ihsan, a boy in Cree and Sioux Nations. It was fertile land and a popular stop for the herds of buffalo that roamed the Great Plains. That made it a pretty attractive place to call home, but also an area that was heavily contested between the three different nations. Competition was fierce, and the fighting between the Cree and Sue was particulary Lee vicious. Over time, the Su had managed to push the Cree further and further north, so much so that they became worried

. Their tenuous foothold in the area would soon be lost altogether. But a new player had entered the arena. European settlers had begun to make their way into the northern parts of the province, and with them came new technology, new weapons. Concerned for the safety and security of their families, the Cree struck a deal with the Europeans trading furs for firearms. With the new found might of foreign weapons at their disposal, the Cree nation began to push back the tide and reclaim much of the land they'd lost. But this new power, one them back more than territory. Gunpowder helped them re forge a fearsome reputation, too. The shift in power brought about changes in allegiance. Theissen, a boy who had been allied with the powerful

Sue, were suddenly very interested in pursuing better relations with the Cree. And what better way to secure a new alliance than through a marriage? As luck would have it, the Sina boy in chief happened to have a beautiful and eligible daughter. Two suitors arrived for the young woman Acri, chief from Lake Winnipeg, Assis and a Sioux chief from Devil's Lake. The men each made their case to the chief, asking for the honor of his daughter's hand and a stronger alliance between their nations. The Sioux chief was brave and strong and commanding. His prowess on the battlefield preceded him. He assured the chief that he would make the most capable and worthy husband for his daughter. And with the Sioux nation by his side, the ascena Boyne would prosper

, too. The Cree chief, on the other hand, took a different approach as a leader. He was imposing enough in his own right, but he also arrived with a gift lashed alongside his relatively unimpressive gray. Steed was a beast of exotic beauty, tall, toned and is white as snow the horse through the eye of everyone in the camp, the most magnificent animal most of them had ever seen. A sleek and powerful Blanco Diablo, a legendary breed from Mexico, an animal reputed to be capable of outrunning and outlasting any other horse on the prairies. The gift was enough to sway the Ihsan, a boy in chief's decision, and he agreed to give the hand of his daughter to the Cree leader. It

helped that he could see there was clearly a spark between the two as well. The camp erupted in joy at the news, and they began to plan and prepare for the festivities. But not everyone was happy about the arrangement the cinema Boyne had in their camp a medicine man second only to the chief in power and influence. And he was furious at the arrangement. The Cree had bean their enemy for generations. Now the chief was not only making peace with um but okay with muddying their bloodlines. The medicine man refused to stand for it and fought with the chief. But the chief had made his decision and his word was final. It was in the best interest for the future of their people. But the medicine man didn't agree. He

stormed off and anger. While the wedding plans continued to be made, the young couple spent much time together as they came to know one another. That initial spark between them had begun to grow into a roaring flame, the match no longer just about uniting their people but about a true union of love, something for which the Yasin, a boy in chief, couldn't be happier. When the wedding day arrived, the chief was presented with many gifts in exchange for his daughter's hand. The most spectacular of which, of course, was the white horse. The wedding ceremony kicked off with much excitement and celebration from everyone in attendance. There was dancing and singing and feasting, and everyone seemed overjoyed to see the newly married couple so deeply in love. The union

would bring peace and prosperity to their lands. One face in the crowd, though, wasn't so joyful. But the sour look of disdain worn by the medicine man couldn't bring down the mood. That is, until the sound began to grow in the distance, a deep rumbling that could be felt in the earth and as its volume increased, shadowing the music and dance, a cruel smile slithered its way onto the lips of the medicine man. The chief turned to him, eyes blazing with shock and fury. Realizing what the medicine man had done, unable to sway the chief or the camp with his words or magic, the medicine man had sent word to the Sioux chief. His marriage proposal had been rejected, the medicine man told him. The chief and

Souter had laughed at the thought of the daughter marrying a. Su had mocked and belittled them. The medicine man was outraged, encouraged the suit to make war on the crease suitor to take revenge to protect their honor. And he knew just the right time to do it when their guard would be down. As the cloud of dust kicked up by furious hooves grew closer, the chief turned to his daughter and new son in law. I can't protect you, he said sadly. You must go flee quickly. The chief handed the reins of the white horse back to the young man, who in turn passed them to his new wife. The young man mounted his old gray horse, she the white horse and they spat out of camp. But the Sioux were close behind as

much as the white horses, speed and agility, where a blessing it's color was a curse. Wherever they rode, they were easily spotted. No matter how dance the stand of trees or brush, they tried to hide in the horses. Dazzling white coat stood out against the landscape. And while the white horse seemed to have endless stamina, the man's gray steed was not nearly is capable. It began to tire too slow and fall behind. Go on ahead, ride as fast as you can, he told his wife. Leave me, save yourself. But she refused. She wouldn't leave him behind. She loved him and would stay by his side until the end. And with the Sioux gating fast now, that end came quickly within range

of their bows. The enemy loosed a hail of arrows, striking both bride and groom straight through the back, piercing their hearts as their lifeless bodies dropped to the ground. Their mounts took flight. The gray horse, already exhausted, didn't get far, but the white stallion was gone in a bright flash, sprinting off across the open plains. Despite their best efforts, the attacking PSU could never get close enough to the white horse to capture it. It was too fast and nimble, but for years it would appear from time to time running free, he across the prairie white coat gleaming like a beacon. In fact, sightings of the horse continued long after it should have died. Naturally, not just years, either, or even decades. Many

people began to believe that when the young woman's heart was pierced with the arrow while fleeing with her love, that it released her soul to merge with the horses and that the to continue to ride across the plain that bears their name. Heedless of time or age travelers outside of Winnipeg, unclear moonlit nights will still sometimes catch a glimpse of a majestic white horse, although none have managed to get close to it. In memory of the legend, though, a statue was erected in the 19 sixties along the Trans Canada highway, a large, pure white stallion staring out across the prairies, an unlikely monument not just to the memory of a ghost but to the memory of a ghost horse, a constant reminder of the enduring love and tragedy

that gave White horse plane its name. I like a bit. That's really firm. I need something a little softer. Rest easy with the new sleep number 3. 60. Smart. Bet you could both adjust your comfort with your sleep number setting. Will it help with her snoring? I snore. Does Rudolph have a red nose? Yes. It could be gently raised on either side to help relieve snoring so you can really promise Better sleep. Not promise. Prove proven quality. Sleep is life changing sleep. Don't miss our weekend special save 50% on the sleep number 3 60 Limited edition Smart bet plus special financing ends Monday. Special financing subject. Credit approval. Minimum monthly payment required. C store for details. Hey, Michael Phelps. Here I want to tell you a bit about online therapy. Online therapy is not about time in place. It's any time and any place. Did you know that over 50% of Americans struggle with their mental health? I'm one of them, and that's why I'm here to tell you about online therapy and how it can change your life. Online

therapy is just. Azizi is joining a video call or texting with a friend on Lee, you'll be talking to a licensed therapist from your device on your schedule. Talk spaces more committed than ever to making therapy accessible and affordable for all, Go to talk space dot com and start working with a licensed therapist today. Brought to you by talk Space therapy for all, get $100 off your first month of talk space therapy with Coupon 100 for you. We have one tail for you this evening, which comes to us from Sonora. Taylor Sonora Taylor is Theodore Duin Ng, author of Little Paranoias. Stories without condition. The Crows Gift in other tales, please give and wither and other stories. Her short stories

have appeared in multiple publications, including Camden Park Presses. Quoth the Raven can dish oppresses women of horror volume to graveyard smash. The siren's call frozen wave. Let's mercurial stories, tales to terrify and the ladies of horror fiction podcast. Her latest book, Seeing Things, is now available on Amazon. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband. Children of the night Join Me for Sonora. Taylor's weary bones first published in Little Paranoias stories. Brandon

sipped his beer. Is he watched TV occasionally a gust of rain splashed against his house like water crashing from a throne bucket. Otherwise, he paid no attention to the storm Outside, he had a long day, one spent dusting and cleaning and tending to his wards. They were all asleep as a sleepers they could be. And now he had an evening to himself. He chose to spend that evening with Law and Order. S. V. U Olivia Benson had long retired and her great granddaughter, Tiffany Benson Sweet, had taken up the mantle of investigation. But through all the seasons and all the Bensons, Brandon still found this show to be a comfort. After a long day at work, his doorbell rang a single chime that sounded over the television Brandon Side as he set down his mug and turned off the TV. So much for an evening to himself. He stood up in Winston, his aching knees. He

frowned at the sheets of rain unfurling outside of his window. Who would come to see him in this weather? Brandon opened the door. A skeleton stood on his porch. It stood upright. It's hollow eyes staring into Brandon's face. Rain ran down its skull and fell and droplets off its ribs. Its teeth were clenched and its arms hung slack by its sides. Brandon nodded towards living room. Come on in, he said. It started with a serum to ease the pain of death. It didn't prevent death, but promised a second life to people when their bodies stopped working. Eventually, we hope to have a serum that gives people a many lives, is cats, its inventor quipped on TV. Dr. Sue Lin McCarthy watched the press conference from her lab and chewed on her fingernail. She wasn't as excited as her colleagues

, for she knew what they meant by a second life. If it had been up to her, they wouldn't be presenting the serum at all. But it wasn't up to her, something their managers made clear, despite the rattling in the rats cages that could be heard even through closed doors. It'll be fine once we get to human testing, her managers assured her. Su Lin wasn't involved with human testing, but she gathered from the active silence about the effect of the serum that it hadn't been much better for them than it had been for the rats. She shuddered at the memory as the televised press conference continued, and serums inventor announced patients would soon be able to request it. It all medical offices. She could still hear the sound of bone against metal, a clanking that it sounded like marbles spilling or dice rolling. Whenever she opened the door, she could still see the rats eyeless faces, staring at her, hungry for food they couldn't eat. She could still feel the sickness

in her stomach that grew with every crunch she'd heard. When her bosses ordered the rats to be destroyed, Su Lin bit through her fingernail, then spit the nail into the trash. She turned off the TV and got her coat. People would find out soon enough. How good the serums promise Waas. Brandon didn't remember the promises of the doctors or the excitement in the papers. He barely remember the pain of the serum. He had received it when he was three, and all he remembered was a cool seat beneath his legs and the white walls he studied while a nurse promised him a lollipop. What he remembered more was seeing his grandfather die. His grandfather was able to stay at home because of the serum, although he was bedridden in Brandon's earliest memories on the night he took a turn for the worse, everyone gathered in his grandfather's room. Brandon stood restless next to his mother and watched as his father stared at Brandon's grandfather

, His aunt Maria, sobbed in the corner, and his uncle Leo patted her shoulder. Is going to come back, Leo said, assuring Lee. You don't have to cry. It's still sad, Brandon's father said with a frown, one Brandon usually saw when he spilled his cereal or told his father. No, she's allowed to grieve, and I'm allowed to comfort my wife, Leo shot back. Do you really need to do this now? His mother snapped. His aunt Maria cried harder. They were all silenced by a deep, sudden breath. The family looked at the bed. Brandon's grandfather didn't move Dad Brandon's father step toward his grandfather. Aunt Maria wiped her tears and leaned forward. Brandon still remembered the way his mother's fingers pressed into his shoulders. Brandon's father took his grandfather's hand. No pulse, his father said. How

long does it take? And Maria asked, Do they have a pulse when they come back? And Leo, added Leo. Aunt Maria warned what? I'm just wondering shit. Everyone looked at Brandon's father as he jumped back. His Paul appeared to be melting, but Brandon realized the blood whose and skin weren't his. They were his grandfather's. Brandon stood on tiptoe and watched in awe as his grandfather's body rippled and dripped, the skin dissolving and the blood congealing into the organs, his lungs, stomach and other parts that Brandon didn't know the names off all began to beat. Like his heart they beat is a dissolved vanishing into the pool of bodily sludge that seeped into this sheets. Aunt Maria screamed while Uncle Leo turned to vomit into a small trash can. Brandon's mother spun him out of the room justice. His grandfather's heart faded into his ribs

. Meanwhile, in a small town almost 100 miles away, Penny Pinkerton unknowingly thrust atop a dead man. Come on, Glenn, she said as she lifted his hands to her hips, put some effort into it. She arched her back and jutted out her breasts, which she knew he loved and always responded. Thio lens hand slid down her waist. Penny opened her eyes and saw him lying still beneath her. He wasn't breathing despite their chosen activity for the evening, Penny slid off of him. It was his heart, maybe, or a stroke or some other health problem that hadn't come up between them during any of their weekly visits. With Super Eight, she wasn't about to spend a lot of time finding out that would be for his wife to deal with. The staff could also deal with moving the body. Penny covered Glenn with the comforter and grabbed her coat from the chair and put it on over her pink lingerie. There was no point getting dressed

at this hour, not even for the long drive in the cold. Back to her apartment. She'd been looking forward to a warm evening with Glenn. She glanced back at the bed. Glenn was now a body under a blanket, a dirty hotel blanket. At that, Penny could have sworn the stains that were already on and had grown since she discovered him. The hotel smell was also starting to get to her. Now that sex wasn't distracting her senses. Penny turned away with a sneer and walked towards the phone. It was time to do her part and get out. I a lazy voice answered when she called the front desk. How can I help you? Penny was about to say, The man I'm with his died. But upon thinking the phrase a lump formed in her throat, Glenn was dead. She wouldn't see him anymore, wouldn't be able to call him when she felt lonely wouldn't drive to the Super Eight each Friday night and enjoy his company. Glenn was

gone. Oh, the front desk assistant asked. Hi, Yes, Penny spoke is well, as she could with a choked voice. How can I help you? Penny took a deep breath. She refused to be sentimental about Glenn. She'd miss him, but he'd never been hers. He certainly wouldn't be now. She closed her eyes and allowed herself a few final memories, like how his lips had grazed her chin and how his palm's had held her waist. She swore she felt his fingers touch her cheek. A scratch along her ear broke her thoughts. She turned around and was face to face with a skull. A bony hand caressed her cheek. Penny scream sounded loud and clear through the phone. Brandon's grandfather stayed in their house despite the lingering fright from the transformation on his deathbed. Whenever his grandfather walked from room to room, the

creak of his bones sounding through the halls, Brandon's parents would exchange wary glance. Brandon, however, didn't mind, while his grandfather couldn't do everything he'd done before, like tell him bedtime stories or hold Brandon in his lap. He tried, but Brandon complained about the bumps on his butt. They could still play games or sit on the porch and watch the sunset. Brandon especially loved playing games with dice. He liked the sound of the dice rattling in his grandfather's palm's. His grandfather noticed and always made sure to take his turn with extra flourish. He'd sometimes hold the dice up to his empty eye sockets, which always made Brandon laugh. How long can we keep a skeleton in the house? Though Brandon's parents spoke behind him while he watched TV convinced he wasn't listening, his grandfather had already gone to bed. It's been over a year, his father continued. I love Dad, my love dad

, but it's not dead. It's just his bones. It is grandpa, Brandon said as he turned around. He plays with me and watches TV, and it's a memory of grandpa his mother said, No, it's him. If it wasn't him, then why would he be moving around and playing games? And it's not the same, his dad said. There's more to think about than keeping grandpas memory around the house. He's not a memory. Brandon jumped up and stormed out of the room before his parents could same or he ran up the stairs, then slowed his pace. As he approached his grandfather's door, he almost felt a coolness coming from the other side of the door. Like the feel of an autumn walk, Brandon opened the door and saw his grandfather propped up in bed, reading a newspaper. Brandon wondered how he could still read, even without eyes. Maybe something in the serum brought back memories of words or let

him see through sockets instead of eyeballs. His grandfather looked up at him. He waved and patted the mattress, turning the paper to reveal the comics. Brandon smiled as he joined his grandfather, who put an arm around Brandon's shoulders. Brandon read the panels out loud and barely noticed the feel of bone against his back. He did see a white, dusty film across the pages, streaks left with every flick of his grandfather's fingers. Brandon's heart grew heavy as he realized his grandfather like bones in a cemetery, would turn to dust, but they could read together before that happened, it had been hard enough for marry in tow. Watch her child slowly die from cancer. Cecil E. Had spent the last two years of her life in and out of the hospital. Tubes and beeping machines have become his prominent in Marin's memory as Cecil e. Happily banging on the dashboard during drives with soft sound of her cries when she'd had a nightmare. Sicily

was too young to be so sick, their time together. Too short, Cecil. We would never have a first day of school. She barely had a life outside of diapers, even after the effect of the serum had become well known, Marion thought having her daughter back in some capacity would give them both the life together, the disease that stolen from them. Sicily had died at home. Perm Arians request. She'd left Cecil E. Sleeping in her bed and closed the door behind her so she wouldn't have to see the transformation. She'd already laid down a rubber sheet to catch the blood, and she waited in her room. She imagined hearing Sicily's cries once more. The whimper that meant Cecil E. Would soon be crawling into bed with her after a nightmare. Marry in, waited, then waited some more. Her eyes grew heavy, but she was startled awake by a loud rattle. It jangled and clanged down the hall. The sound of bone against a wooden door. Her daughter was back

, marry in felt a sickness in her stomach. At the sound of bones, she shook her head. Cecil E. Was alive, and that was what mattered. She rose to her feet to go hug. Her daughter. Marry in, could not grow. Used to the feel of Sicily skeleton in her arms, Cecil E. Longed to be held, longed to eat her favorite cereal and play with Barbies. She could eat the cereal. The Marien refused to add milk, but Marien could barely eat as she watched. Cecil is lucky. Charms fall down her rib cage. She'd play with Cecil Ian, her Barbies, but Marien could only see a skeleton braiding. Barbie's hair looking at Sicily's skeleton, reminded Marien of her death. Every time marry in remembered, the tubes beeps shallow breaths and endless rounds of vomiting. She remembered holding her daughter's hand in the hospital, her skin week and her bones showing through more with each passing week. Marry

in cried every night after Cecil E. Crawled into bed, she thought the serum would give them both. A second life. Cecil E. Lived, but Marien, perpetually grieved, reminded every day of the daughter she'd lost. Marry in first saw a commercial for the living cemeteries. As you watch TV through teary eyes, many people couldn't cope with the living memento Mori of their loved ones. So cemeteries were now being used to house the skeletons. Caretakers watched, Um, and they were surrounded by other skeletons and the people who visited them. She dismissed the notion, but with each passing day, she wasn't sure if she herself could live so long as Sicily's bones clattered through the halls, she'd be forever. In morning, even when Cecil E. Became nothing but dust, skeletons were supposed to disappear in graveyards, Onley memories were supposed to fade in houses. They went for one

last drive together, Mary and fastened Cecil ease seatbelt, careful not to press the belt too tight against her ribs. especially banged on the dashboard like she had a ZA girl. Marion tried not to tense at the sound of bone hitting vinyl. Stop, honey, Marron said as she gently took Cecil his hand. Cecil E stopped and curled her fingers around her mother's palm, marry in blinked back tears, but not at the feel of bone. For the rest of their drive to the cemetery, all she felt was the warm skin of her daughter's hand. Brandon didn't mind living cemeteries at all. He often waved at the skeletons when he walked by on his way to and from school. Sometimes they wave back. Other times, they nodded in his direction. Most passersby turned their heads, but Brandon wasn't the only one who waved. There were others like him who didn't mind the bones. We saw them as a regular part of their lives, not

creepy reminders of the people they'd lost. Whatever ones thoughts on the bones, there were mawr and mawr of them every day, and with more skeletons came or crowding mawr, grime and more concern. People may have been uncomfortable keeping their loved ones in their home, but they didn't want their loved ones care to fall to the wayside. As such, there care within living cemeteries became a bigger priority as Brandon walked by the cemetery on his usual route, he saw Flyer taped to the iron gate, Help wanted caretaker to help with skeletons, tasks clean dirt and grass from bones. Clean grave beds interact with residents, etcetera. Brandon thought of his grandfather, who'd perished long before the living cemeteries were in place. His bones had warned the shells that Brandon had feared would become ash at any moment. They sat on the porch, and Brandon noticed his grandfather hadn't moved in. Sometime. When

he studied his grandfather, he swore he saw contentment deep within the hollow of his face. Ah, contentment. Brandon felt surely came from not being alone when he passed. It was nothing like the feeling he got when he walked by the cemetery, clustered together, the skeletons emanated, waves of sadness that Brandon could feel they were being for gotten. While the living moved on, thes skeletons were alone, even clustered against one another in cemeteries and seen by friends and family who dared to visit them. They slept and woke up alone. They were left to wither away above ground. Brandon couldn't stop them from withering, but he could lessen their loneliness during the process. Can I help you? Young man? Brandon looked up and saw an older woman approached the gate. You're here to visit someone, or I'm reading about the caretakers, Brandon said. Do you hire high schoolers

? Mandi hated walking home after work. The route was safe. There was never any trouble. The sidewalks were awash in light from the street lamps, and the empty office buildings lining them shimmered with lit windows. Still, she walked down the sidewalk, wary of the darkened corners, head up high and hands in her pockets. What creeped her out the most was the living cemetery. It had been creepy enough when it was just a regular cemetery. Silent graves that seemed toe watch her as she passed by. It got worse. When all the skeletons were crowded into it, most were still, once you walk by them, resting in some form of sleep. How did they sleep? Did they just turn off when the sun went down? However they did it, they creeped Mandy the hell out. She braced herself as she rounded the corner, prepared for the view of a sea of bones lined up one by one, the path of ribs, almost creating a wave that rippled through the night. She was greeted

by an empty cemetery filled only with stones. Mandy stopped and stared where the skeletons gone. Were the caretakers cleaning them? Had they been moved somewhere out of sight for the sake of her nightly walk, Mandy hoped they'd been moved. She continued past the graveyard, moved down the sidewalk. The wind was cold on her cheeks. She wanted to get home, change out of her waitressing uniform and have a cup of tea allowed. Sickening crack burst behind her. Mandy jumped and turned around. She saw no one there, no broken trees or shattered rock. She looked down and saw a pile of bones at her feet. Skull lay on a bed of broken ribs and femurs. Its mouth and eyes gaped up at her, seeming to ask questions in response to her own. Another crack sounded behind her. Mandy swiveled and saw another pile of bones

, this one splayed in a line from the skeletons shattered toes to its fractured head. What the fuck, Mandy whispered in answer. A skeleton fell from the sky a little further down the sidewalk, She watched it explode. It's bones careening, toe all sides like shrapnel. She stepped back and felt a crunch beneath her feet. She saw a broken hand beneath her shoe and felt a little nausea replaced the fear that had settled in her stomach. The sound of cracks came faster now, and on both sides of the street, Mandy looked up. Skeletons lined the rooftops of the adjacent buildings. One by one, they jumped from the roofs and shattered on the sidewalks, their bones scattering across the pavement and concrete. Mandy ran into the middle of the street, moving as fast as she could so she wouldn't be hit. Her vomit landed on the pavement when she opened her mouth to scream. So

many were dead. If they weren't in pieces on the street, they bury themselves under mud and sand, waiting for the water to wash them away more quickly than air ever could. Brandon scowled as he picked wet leaves off the skull of one of the only survivors of the second death, as the papers called the sudden rash of skeletons ending their reincarnation earlier than science intended it was also unnecessary. It had been over 20 years since the serum was introduced. The second chance at life was a part of everyone's life. So many people had gotten the serum that even when it went off the market, people knew there would be skeletons for decades. Why couldn't they accept that? Why did they have to shut her at the site of the future that lay ahead for them all? Why do they have to shove those who lived again into places of the dead, like cemeteries and morgues? They were meant to hold those who were gone, those who couldn't feel or see those who

would fade into the earth the same way they'd fade in their loved one's memories. It's also fucked up. Brandon said he'd spoken to himself, but the skeleton. He tended to nodded. Brandon smiled. You don't like it here, do you? Brandon asked. Skeleton lifted its shoulder bones toward its chin in a makeshift shrug. There was a clatter when the shoulder bones drooped as if it's body rang. With the defeat, it felt that not knowing the answer, where would you live? You know, if you could, Brandon realized he needed to think of a way. To phrase the question is yes or no, but the skeleton turned before he could. The skeleton gathered some twigs and branches off the ground and wrote in broken but discernible letters. House Brandon nodded. House would be nice. So many houses, though, were owned by people who didn't want

skeletons inside of them. If more people were like him on the other caretakers, perhaps the skeletons would have a home. Brandon thought for a moment. Why couldn't he and the other caretakers bring the skeletons home? They'd be protected from the elements and with people who weren't afraid of them. They could live out their lives if not at home. And at least in a house with creature comforts, they would no longer be surrounded by the terrified eyes of passers by reminders that they were still considered dead. They wouldn't feel compelled to jump, be buried or be washed away. They would be home, So Brandon took them home. Emily still thought of him. Sometimes she thought of the way his brown hair hung in his face while he wiped dirt and leaves from a skull how his clothes were often covered in bone dust, and he'd wipe them from his jacket like a baker brushing flower from an apron. Careful

with the dust, she said. One day, I don't want to sneeze out someone's mother. He looked up in surprise, and when he saw Emily's smile, he'd smiled as well. She held out her hand. I'm Emily, she said. I just started working in the cemetery, Brandon, he said as he shook her hand. I've been working here for over five years. Wow, case, this isn't part time for you, huh? Not anymore. Why is this a summer job for you? The way Brandon's brow, furrowed in spite of his smile, should have told Emily that unless she saw a future in the graveyard should have no future with him. In that moment, though, Emily only saw beautiful hazel eyes that held secrets. She wanted to uncover those secrets at the moment. Yeah, she replied. Can't do full time while I'm in school High school? Brandon asked college. He nodded and brush back his bangs, a movement

whose magic Emily couldn't deny. Well, let me know if you need any help, he said as he turned to leave. I'm here almost every day, even on weekends? Emily asked. You don't go out for dinner or anything. She grinned and hope you take the hint. Brandon only shook his head. The work doesn't end, he said. I'm here. Every day he left. Emily shrugged. I mean, everyone's got to eat, she muttered as she stooped to clean the hands of a skeleton with moss and dirt on its fingers. Skeleton nodded, then placed its palm against its forehead before pointing in Brandon's direction. Emily chuckled a little. Maybe he'd go if you told him to, she said. Though he didn't seem interested in dinner, Brandon did Seymour interested in her. The longer she worked at the cemetery, he

often worked close to her assigned corners an offer to do her rounds with her. When he wasn't busy, Emily felt her fleeting attraction route into something more palpable. Each day, she hoped, and search for hints in his eyes or his smile that his thoughts had shifted from his work to her. As weeks turned to months and months, two years, Emily knew that things between them would always be the same. Brandon wasn't interested. Emily was second to the dead. She left her work in the cemetery. Upon graduation, she and Brandon promised to keep in touch, but she knew they never would. When the second death occurred, she thought momentarily of the skeletons she cared for years ago. Mostly, though, she thought of Brandon. She thought of the way he cared for the skeletons as if they were all his deceased relatives. She thought of how he was probably morning them these skeletons who decided that total death

was better than a partial life. She went to sleep that night, hoping that he had someone who could comfort him. Brandon's house became a destination for the local dead. He heard word of other caretakers following his example. But there were days when Brandon saw all the bones in his house and doubted that the other caretakers didn't matter, though what matter to Brandon was helping them. His grandfather had died with family both times. When his own parents died, they could come live with him, too. It was possible that it would be the only way he'd see them. They constantly asked Brandon to come see them, but wouldn't visit him. His mother still shuttered when she spoke of the bones his father avoided the subject. His own mother and father were just like everyone else. The family, friends and lovers who withdrew from him as his job expanded and his calling came through like a song. Brandon

spent more time at home and more time with the skeletons in his television for company. If people didn't want to see the memento Mori, he cared for the skeletons who just wanted some sort of connection to the life they'd been promised by the serum. Then that meant they wouldn't see him, either. The years went by, the skeletons became his life. And for Brandon, at least, it was a life well lived. Emily moved on in most every sense. She married. She had Children and grandchildren. She grew old and spend her afternoons on the porch looking out at the sky. She didn't know when death would come for her, but she was slightly comforted by the thought that when it came, that would be the end. She'd been born after the serum had revealed itself to everyone and never received it. She wouldn't become a walking reminder that she had already died, ignored or avoided by those who wouldn't or couldn't

mourn the dead among them forever. Those who weren't like Brandon. She hadn't thought of his name in years, And yet when it flickered in her mind, she saw him standing in the graveyard, brushing dirt and bone dust from his palm's. She wondered if he was alone. She wondered if he'd turned into one of his beloved skeletons. Did he still care for them? As they dwindled in number, the cemetery is once again becoming places for bodies and the memories they carried to be buried in the ground. Emily looked at her wrinkled hands. They've grown so thin that one could almost see the bones inside of them. She smiled a little as she took in her skeletal appearance. Maybe now Brandon would be willing to hold her hand. Do you want a cup of coffee in lieu of furrowing? It's absent brow skeleton pointed to its throat and then the gaps in its ribs. I

know, Brandon said. It was a joke. Granted, not a very good one. The skeleton stood still, Brandon Side, a little. He turned away, then heard a faint rattle. He looked back at the skeleton. It nodded its head and opened its mouth, so it looked more like it had a smile. It's hands were on its ribs, which shook up and down the bones, rattled and in their clacking, branded almost here the ha ha ha Brandon chuckled and turned back toward the kitchen. Well, feel free to have a seat, he said as he walked to the stove. I'm just going to have another cop. And then a violent pang shut up his leg. Brandon swiveled and grabbed his knee, but the turn sent him spiraling as he felt towards the hard linoleum floor. Brandon wondered what it was like for his wards, who saw and heard and felt despite their lack of bodies, where

their senses, like memories, flickers in their skull. That helped them move through the next phase of life. He supposed he was about to find out. Brandon's back fell against a hard bar, one that splintered beneath him. Brandon felt fingers gripped his waist, the bar pushed him upward, and Brandon realized that it was a bone skeleton had broken his fall. The skeleton had saved him from death or, at the very least, a score of fractures and breaks that would have rendered Brandon immobile. The skeleton cradled him as it helped him to his feet. It used both hands to steady Brandon before gently lifting its fingers away to see if Brandon could stand. He stood still and stared into the skeletons. Hollow eyes, You stared death in the face. And yet this death that others avoided while they were alive, it kept him living for a while longer. Thank you, Brandon said. The

skeleton gave a single mod. Come on, I'll get you to an empty room. Brandon nodded toward the stairs, but he was careful to not move too fast. He walked delicately to ease his aching knees, and now his sore legs and hip. He trembled just a little, but enough for the skeleton to wrap its arm around his waist. Brandon was about to shake it off, but stopped. He allowed his weary body to be guided by weary bones, both of them ready to rest. That

was Sonora. Taylor's weary bones is read by Anthony Babington. Anthony Babington is an aspiring voice actor who looks just slightly off from how he sounds from his secret volcano layer in Minnesota. He narrates podcasts and leases his soul to corporate America he has previously recorded for far fetched fables, Starship Sofa and the Cursed In podcast. He can be found on Twitter, as at Aleph Baker. Thank you, Anthony. Well, Children of the night through Our is late and we've run out of tales to tell. For now, tales to terrify is made possible by the tremendous generosity of our supporters through Patryan and PayPal. If

you're not already a supporter, head over to patryan dot com slash tales to terrify for a look at all the awesome perks from ad free episodes in bonus content to shout outs and swag. Every dollar helps, and we appreciate it so much. If you're looking for another way to help, why not drop a rating or a review on apple podcasts, Spotify, stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts, Ratings and reviews are an easy way to show your appreciation and help us spread the darkness. Tales to Terrify is produced by Seth Williams, Pete Marcelino, MEREDITH Morgenstern, Julia Zelman and myself. Drew Sabbatini with original theme by nebulous entertainment tales to terrifies distributed under a creative Commons attribution Noncommercial, No derivatives license. Join us again next week

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Tales to Terrify 464 Sonora Taylor
Tales to Terrify 464 Sonora Taylor
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