It was the head monk’s deathbed. As it was my first time in the graveyard, it was out of the unexpected. I had heard rumours about people touching the gravestone and never coming back, but Mum had told me that they were ‘horrible lies’ and ‘just to scare you’. The monk’s memorial was about one or two feet taller than the normal ones, the colour between grey and black (Storm Grey / Greyfriar, according to the British standard colour website.). Covered in bird poo and pee, the creepiest thing was it said:
‘The monks were served well,
They wrote and wrote and wrote,
But they were never to be seen again,
The new age has come, all is lost,
All but the missing cathedral,
All but the secret story…
Here lies P. H. WuffingtonMcWuffFace, Head Monk, loved by all.
1478 – 1579 Last Words: Bleah. Bleah. I dead.’
I stole up, to touch the terrible, chilling, gravestone: but I heard the calls of the crows nearby, it sounded as if they were trying to warn me. I thought ‘Of course they’re not trying to warn me. They’re just blackbirds with black beaks.’
I touched the stone. In a split second, the ground opened below me, and I fell in. As I fell, I howled, “Stupid Monnnnnks!!!!!!!”
I fell for five minutes, but it felt much longer: I was terrified and angry. With my arms and legs crossed, I finally landed; I looked around. It was a weird but wonderful place – an underground cathedral. The church was amazing: around 200 metres long, it had benches galore, a brown altar, and everything else a church may need. I peeked out through the shattered stained-glass windows, seeing the dirt from the underground.
After I had looked around in awe, I screamed “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!”. In front of me was a small, ghost.
“’Ello. I ze headz monkz. Youz are?” said the ghost. He was translucent, not quite transparent, and he had pointed ears like an elf. His legs were replaced by a small, wispy, trail of smoke.
“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK” I replied, obviously still petrified from seeing a bloomin’ ghost!
“Nice tooz meet youz EEK. Call me HD.” spoke the head monk, while I took some deep breaths.
“Sorry, I was just scared, please call me Kayla.” I declared, “Two questions: Where am I and who are you?”
“Ahhhh. So many questions, so little timez. Youz see, I have alreadyz answered onez questionz. I am a monk – a head monk to be precise – that haz come backz from ze dead. I worshipz goddess of Mary Poppins: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Bert, a monk, used to worshipz Snickerz, god of peanutz, for example.”
“And the other question, HD?” I replied.
“Wellz, young girlz, zis is a – no ze – great undergroundz cathedralz of ze crowz. A space of wonder and magic.” Answered HD.
Wow. As I looked around in closely, I took in the rest of the theatre-like-cathedral. The ‘cathedral of the crows’, he had called it. The benches where either burnt or heavily scratched, all the banners except one where in bad shape, ripped and, the same as the benches, burnt. Who knows what had happened here?
I spoke. “Can I have a small tour? PLEEEEAAASE!” Whilst I looked at my watch, which was saying 23:29.
He nodded and started with a banner. “Thiz iz ze banner of light and darkness, of life and death, a banner which tookz allz 53 monkz to make, and even that tookz themz 5 yearz to finish.” He pointed at a crow in the bottom right. “I didz that onez.” I looked at the intricate detail patterns, the art of living and dying, and the words to explain the joy of birth and the sadness of loss. It was AMAZING.
HD showed me magical scrolls, exquisite cloaks, peculiar plants, sweet-smelling candles and many more things, like a toilet roll that wipes any bum that comes near it. I looked down on my watch. 23:58. I needed to get back, so I spoke up. “I’m sorry Head Monk, but I need to get back to my home.”
“Comez onz! I gotz onez more things to show you.” He ran up to the altar, me quickly following. “Kayla, zis is called the book of crowz. It haz twoz special features. One, it holdz the whole place up so it doesn’t fall down any further.” I anxiously looked at my watch and it said 23:59. “Twoz, it turnz anyone in the church into a crow if they are in there at midnight.”
He started laughing manically as I realised what he had said. HD continued his hysterical giggling, the laughter echoing throughout the church, as I rushed for the way in, when I realised this: there was a ladder hanging from the hole I came.
“SMALL GIRL, THIS IS SCOTLAND YARD. COME UP THE LADDER AS QUICK AS YOU CAN.’ said a woman with a microphone. I scrambled up the ladder, but halfway I heard twelve chimes. I became dizzy and fell asleep. I woke up, in the graveyard, covered in black feathers: I was a Crow.
This is how I am now. I fly above the graveyard, squawking with my fellow crows. I pee on the Head Monk’s gravestone. This is my secret story. I just hope sometime, someone brave could break the curse. This Someone may be someone like you.
P.S. If you find this, go to 1009 Blubbleworth Street, Huwwington, Scotland, and tell the woman who answers that her daughter is a crow.