Eight Unmarked Graves in Dunwich County
I am not what you would call an honest man. I’ve betrayed more friends than I care to remember.
Michael Satton was one of those people.
I promised I would never let his story come to light, and for most of my life; I’ve meant that.
You see Michael and I were thick as thieves because we both worked as grifters across the northeast United States during the 60s and 70s.
Jumping from train to train we didn’t have a care in the world except each other.
If we got into trouble it was together, because we always knew how to get out together as well.
Grave-robbing at the Dunwich County Cemetery wasn’t supposed to be any different.
We got the job in a hole in the wall just south of the Crimcut Woods, a place where thieves like us loved to sit back, drink a lot of rye whiskey and shoot the breeze. And a perfect spot for us to find our next job.
Mike and I had just made a good run taking a few goods to the local museum and claiming they were some antique from Africa, so we were spending the night celebrating.
They had this brand new jukebox playing Johnny Cash and B.B.King. The music was almost as intoxicating as the alcohol.
We were downing the fifth bottle of bourbon when a well dressed black man caught our eye.
Now I aint trying to sound racist, but you know how things were back then. Mike shot me a wary glance, and the two of us decided to show him where we felt that he belonged.
“You lost son?” Mike asked, pulling up his pants and snorting like a bloated pig.
“I’m exactly where I want to be, gentlemen… are you?” the black man countered. He didn’t seem too intimidated by us, and that only made Mike and I madder than a rattled hornet’s nest.
Mike spat down on his shined shoes, and muttered, “Get out of here, pretty boy.”
“Are you the owners of this establishment?” he countered.
I remember laughing and then I pushed him back against the grimy brick wall.
“I know we don’t need dirty trash like you in here disturbing the peace. Let’s take this outside, Mikey,” I told my buddy.
I remember how calm he acted when we walked toward the back alley I was so sure he would be down in one hit.
He took off his well pressed coat and slung it over a trash can before smiling at us. “Do your worst,” he implored us.
Mike slurred a few cuss words and then punched him as hard as he could in the gut. The man just stood there, looking more amused than anything else.
“What the…?” Michael said as he tried again, punching the man over and over again to try and knock him back.
I joined in, kicking at the man’s legs and then slammed my fist against his face.
It felt like my bones were being broken in a dozen places. I screamed and fell back and Mike looked at the man like he was some sort of monster.
He turned and started to run like a scared little kid. But the black man was much, much faster.
He tripped Michael and grabbed the collar of his shirt, lifting my friend up off his feet like he was some sort of ragdoll.
Sutton gagged and choked and struggled as the black man took him over toward one of the larger cans and slamming my friend down like a discarded piece of paper.
He moved toward me with a fire in his eyes and i scrambled backwards, raising my hands up defensively
He was right on top of me when he gave me a twisted smile and then reached over my head to retrieve his coat.
“Once you and your colleague have finished blubbering like a bunch of idiots… come inside. We have business to discuss,” he told me.
I should have gotten Mike and just left right then and there.
But something about this well dressed stranger made me convince my very drunk friend that we needed to step back inside the grungy pub and find out what he had to tell us.
It’s been many years since that night, but the conversation we had like so many things in that backwoods hell has been burned into my memory.
“The name is Robert Malone, dear fellows. And I am here on behalf of a more influential party that wishes to employ your services for the dates of August the 6th and 7th,” the black man said as he ordered us some more drinks.
“And who might that be?” Michael asked as he pressed a cold wet towel on his throbbing head.
“He calls himself the GraveMaker, perhaps you have heard of him?” Malone asked.
Mike almost choked on his drink. I actually laughed.
I know for most of you are on the straight and narrow, so i don’t blame you if you’ve never heard of the most infamous drug lord in the northeast.
There are only two things you need to know about the man that calls himself the GraveMaker:
You do what he says. You get away as fast as possible.
I could tell from Mikey’s expression he was already considering an escape route, but i was bold enough to ask what the job was about.
“It’s nothing major, i assure you of that… but this sort of thing requires a certain amount of…anonymity that prevents us from employing the usual channels,” Malone responded.
He reached into his jacket and took out two rolls of hundred dollar bills. More money than either i or Mike had seen all year during our runs across Maryland and Rhode Island. Probably enough to have us set for life.
“This is a promissory note, assuming you complete the job successfully then you will receive the same amount plus a ten percent increase,” Malone explained.
“You still haven’t told us what the job is,” Mikey pointed out.
“My apologies. There is a large cemetery that covers the majority of Dunwich county just about seventeen miles north of here,” he began.
“Yeah we seen it, just on the other side of the Gilham church house,” I chimed in.
“That’s the one, mighty fine plot of land they have there,” Robert answered as he reached into his other pocket and took out a map of the cemetery.
“Last spring, we made a few deposits into the cemetery that were also hiding… some interests for our organization. To be exact, the graves i have marked here are the ones that we used,” Malone explained.
“Your job will be to obtain these corpses and deliver them to the Old high house saloon across the stateline by friday. Do you think you can do that?” Malone asked.
It sounded like a perfect score for Mikey and I. Nearly twenty thousand dollars just to dig up some old bones?
I said yes and we shook on it, and just like that Mikey and I were alone again.
“This is it, the gold rush we been dreamin’ of!” I told Michael, slapping his shoulder excitedly.
He counted up the money as we made our way back to the hotel we were staying at. That night we got even more drunk and Mike started cooking up a scheme.
“You know there’s got to be jewels, or some kind of Nazi gold in those bodies,” he mumbled.
“You think so? I wonder why they hid it then?” I asked.
“Why else? Smokeys hot on their trail, had to dump the load A cemetery is as good a place as any,” Mikey suggested.
“That’s gotta be what it is then,” I realized. I was imagining a treasure trove to rival King Tut.
Mike was getting a gleam in his eyes. I had seen it a hundred times before.
“We could steal it, we could skip town and be halfway to Europe before Malone, GraveMaker or any one else this side of the word ever knew about it,” Michael mumbled.
I didn’t even bother to entertain the idea. Mike however, kept letting it rattle around in his head.
When we got to the old cemetery it was almost evening and raining genty. The mud and darkness mixed together and made the whole area look like one of those tests you take in a psych ward. Splotchy and unformed, just a mess of colors swirling together in a forgotten landscape.
We gathered the equipment and i focused on the rudimentary map that Malone drew up for us and walked toward the first plot of land.
The large stone was exactly as he described it, faceless and empty as though whomever was buried here had been forgotten by the people or done so in a hurry. I would soon find out the reason was something far more ungodly.
We dug for what seemed like hours in the soot and listening to the rain. Mike was singing an old sailing shanty and trying to get over his nerves. Then at last the shovel hit something solid and i used my bare hands to wipe away the dirt and stare at the dark metal casket.
“What sort of sorcery is this anyway?” Michael asked as he also saw the casket’s peculiar design on the frame. “Quit gawking and help me lift it up,” I told him as i finished uncovering the rest of it.
Together we hauled it onto the side of the open hole and began to move back down hill toward the truck. I was about to advise to Mike to be careful when his boots caught the mud and he slipped. The casket fell from his sweaty palms and opened onto the dark soil, spilling out a gray decaying body that made us both jump.
“Damn it Mike,” I yelled at him as i moved toward the corpse and got ready to turn it over.
Then i saw the body, like its grave; had no face. Only a festering mass of strange nerves covering its eyes and mouth like stitches. The inner neck and upper chest were ripped apart and covered with sores, black pus rolling out of them as lightning struck off in the distance.
“Holy shit,” Michael screamed. What we had found, I felt certain; was not human at all.