If You Go Down To The Cemetery Today by Vivienne Moles

‘It’s big business, you know?’ said Dana. ‘There’s a lot of money in it.’

‘I’m sure there is but do you seriously want to have a load of haunted dolls hanging around in the hope some idiot might buy one?’ said Jade.

‘I thought we could buy a load of dolls, take ‘em up the cemetery, catch a few stray spirits, and… you know…,.’

‘You’re crazy’ said Jade. ‘It doesn’t work like that. From what I’ve seen on eBay, you actually have to start with a doll that’s already haunted, not just haunt it afterwards.’

‘Actually, I think I’ve got a better idea,’ said Dana.

‘Anything’s gotta be better than getting a load of dolls and haunting them yourself.’ Jade laughed at the very idea.

‘Teddy bears,’ said Dana, beaming from ear to ear.

‘You what?’ said Jade, incredulous.

‘Teddy bears! Simple idea — we go round buying cheap teddy bears from charity shops. They’ll already have a history — a past — a child that loved them. That past will have stuck itself on the teddy bear.’

‘Like sick, you mean?’ Jade was full-on laughing now at this whacky suggestion. ‘Anyway, not all teddies would have a past,’ she added.

Dana waved her hand dismissively, about to justify her not overly well thought through business plan.

‘The teddy will already have a “life” attached to it from its owner.’

‘Er, we are assuming that not all people who donate teddies are dead. Where does that leave your idea?’ countered Jade. Dana thought for a moment. It was obvious she had not taken that into account.

‘I still go with my original idea,’ said Dana, clearly not deterred from this half-baked notion.

‘We take them all up the cemetery one night—‘

‘Hold on there,’ said Jade, what’s with the “we”?’

‘There’s going to be a massive profit in this,’ said Dana excited. ‘Surely you want to be in on it?’

‘Okay, let’s say we give it a try, what happens when somebody buys one and finds it’s not haunted? Won’t they have us up on trade descriptions or something?’ said Jade.

‘Of course, we’ll need somewhere to keep them before we sell them. I was thinking of your mum’s house,’ said Dana. Jade’s mouth fell open in disbelief.

The two girls had been collecting teddy bears from as many different charity shops as they could. Jade had (foolishly) said there was a boot fair near her and Dana had strongly suggested she should go. Jade was still not completely sold on this plan.

They had some forty bears of varying sizes, hues and expressions, unceremoniously squashed into two large black refuse bags. If anyone had seen the two girls that night carrying large bags over their shoulders in the cemetery…,.

‘Do you think we ought to do some sort of ritual?’ said Jade. Dana was laying all the bears out on a large stone sarcophagus, aptly labelled:

Here lies Edward (Ted) Brown

Jade was shuffling from foot to foot, shivering in the cold dark cemetery. Dana seemed to be in her element.

‘I’ve got a little verse here,’ said Dana.

‘What, like a prayer?’ said Jade.

‘Sort of,’ said Dana, continuing to lay out the bears, adjusting the odd tee-shirt or bow as she went.

‘If a spirit be there, find a bear.

No longer dead

Live on in ted.’

In other circumstances, Jade would have laughed but she was feeling most uncomfortable standing in an inhospitable cemetery after midnight with a load of teddy bears staring at the moon. They were giving her the creeps.

‘I didn’t think it would work,’ said Jade with a “told you so” sing-song in her voice.

‘Give it time,’ said Dana. ‘Can we take them back to your mum’s? There’s not enough space in my flat.’

‘Oh, sure,’ said Jade, not without sarcasm. ‘Mum will just love that.’ They scooped up the bears and made their way back.

Her mother wasn’t in, which was just as well. Jade used her key and they left the bears in her old bedroom.

‘We’ll start doing some photos and put them up for sale tomorrow,’ said Dana. Jade nodded her head. She needed new friends, she thought.

Jade’s mum phoned her first thing the next morning.

‘Jade —‘ She sounded nervous.

‘Jade, what did you do yesterday?’ Jade’s mum held up her phone, scanning the room, taking in teddy bears running amok. Jade stifled back a giggle, muttering under her breath, ‘wow, it worked!’

‘Ah, it was an idea of Dana’s…,. I’ll be around later to collect them. Sorry.’ Just at that moment, an evil looking bear came into view on the verge of throwing a carving knife across the room.

‘Mum! Look out…!’

Published in Issue #26

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