The aroma of braised beef, compliments of her trip to the local butcher, and potatoes from her garden permeated her nose as the stew continued to boil on the old-fashioned wood stove. The atmosphere was serene, as it always was here, and the fading sun began to cast shadows across the graveyard.
The jagged streaks of light began to play tricks in the looming darkness and she could feel a presence lingering just on the edge of the shadows. The rolling hills on the other side of the cottage had already been swallowed by the darkness and she knew the night was laying in wait.
The pot continued to simmer as she poured herself a glass of wine. In her mind, she mulled over the conversations that saturated her ears during her trip into town. Surely the words she heard were meant to be out of her range but they settled on her like a scratchy, wool blanket and she tried to shrug them off.
“Crazy, she is, living in that place all alone.”
“She must be out of her mind, being so secluded, especially in that place.”
But if they only knew the truth. She would never be alone, especially after the sun had been absorbed by the horizon and the eyes of the sky looked favorably upon her. The night was her favorite time. She took another sip of wine and spooned the beef medley into a bowl. With her wine in one hand and dinner in the other, she pushed open the screen door and sat on the porch to eat.
The last remnants of the day slowly faded into the black of night and she ate her meal with only the kitchen light tracing her outline from behind. She had just taken a sip of wine when the first orb appeared. Its dim light caught her off guard since it appeared so close to her porch. The spirits were timid, by nature, and they usually stayed closer to their grave markers but this one seemed overly curious.
The others appeared slowly, as if they were performing a show meant only for her. They moved cautiously at first but, realizing she was the only audience member once again, they began to move with the pattern of the wind. She could no longer eat. She felt transported by the energy and left her chair to join them in the yard.
With her arms held high like a child with reckless abandon, she danced with the combination of all the souls who had gone before her. She felt their very essence as she moved through them like the wind moved through the trees. She thrived on their energy as they blossomed with hers and the dance continued until the rising of the sun soothed the night into a restful sleep and the blankets of their gravestones once again shielded them from the day.
She would sleep fitfully, waiting until the dance began again.
Written for the Grammar Ghoul Challenge #18 – using the word “stew” and the picture shown above.