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The rooster’s crow ceased abruptly, replaced by a mournful howl. Those who heard it froze for a moment, fearing hell was about to be unleashed, before realising that it came from a human throat.

The bravest villagers rushed to seek out the source of the sound. They realised, with a growing sense of dread, that it came from the churchyard.

They found him on his knees, just a few feet from the church door. Naked, covered in blood and mud, he was howling at the remains of the rooster. It looked as if he had torn it apart with his bare hands.

But it was what lay behind him that left the villagers stricken with horror and chilled to the bone.

Afterwards, none who had been there would talk about it openly. But whispers spread.

“Hadn’t she been buried for weeks?”

“Months, more like…”

“They say he spent every night there since…”

“I heard he did it in the first place.”

“With his bare hands. Same way as he dug her out.”

“They had to take one of her bones with them, he wouldn’t let it go…”

“He was still shouting as they dragged him away…”

“Just two words. ‘Marry Me.’ That’s all they could make out. ”

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: Inspired by the Rammstein song, “Heirate Mich”.)