Chapter 1 – The Graveyard
The School of Fools was cold and gray;
Its ancient stones lacked pity.
Its high walls shut the boys away
And kept them from the city.
The juggler in the market square,
The jester by the throne,
Had suffered while they’d studied there;
It made them weep and groan.
For all the clowns who roamed the land
And earned their bread through wit
Were crushed down by its heavy hand
And carried scars from it.
At night they’d wake drenched in cold sweat,
The School of Fools haunting them yet.
At night, owls circling in the air,
Above the school unseen,
Saw buildings formed into a square
Around a patch of green.
One heard a rustle from that patch
And swooped to grab its prey
But stopped before it made its catch
And swiftly flew away.
The darkest night could never hide
The stench of evil deeds
That lingered here and never died
But blossomed with the weeds.
The darkest crimes can lie forgotten,
But wise owls sense a place that’s rotten.
This patch of green was filled with graves
Of clowns from long ago.
These famous funny foolish knaves
Now lay unknown below.
Weeds smothered each neglected tomb
And smelled of sweet decay.
They thrived on dank and musty gloom
And kept the sun away.
The gravestones leaned like crooked teeth,
Their faded words unread,
And no one cared who lay beneath,
Their stories long since dead.
Each gravestone had an epitaph
That tried its best to raise a laugh.
“Here lies poor Bippy, free from pain.
He died on stage and he’s died again.”
“Here lies Dribble who was distracted by art.
Inspiration struck him and so did a cart.”
“Poor Guppy’s death needs little explaining.
Sword swallowing needs a proper training.”
“Japes the jester compared his lord to dung
And found the sword was sharper than the tongue.”
“Chortles has chuckled his last breath.
Knock knock. Who’s there? Alas, it’s death.”
The graveyard had a secret place,
Marked by a putrid smell;
Beneath the weeds that hid its face,
There lurked an ancient well.
A layer of murky water sat
Upon thick oozing mud.
The flies that bred here grew up fat
And had a taste for blood.
Stout iron bars closed off the well,
For safety there’s no doubt.
How tragic for the boy that fell;
He’d not be climbing out.
But solid bars can hide a sin
And make a cage to trap things in.
The well was deep. Its walls were steep,
Too deep and steep to climb.
The bricks, like cheese, crumbled with ease
Beneath their cloak of slime.
This summer night the water slurped.
The mud beneath it squelched.
The surface broke. The mud had burped.
A bubble had been belched.
This bubble floated up the well;
Its color was faint blue.
It bloated and began to swell,
For as it rose it grew.
It squeezed between the iron bars
And floated free beneath the stars.
The bubble stretched out thin and tall;
It grew arms, legs and head
And what had been a shapeless ball
Became a boy instead.
This boy had skin as clear as glass
But tinged the faintest blue.
He placed his hand upon the grass
And moonlight passed straight through.
His fingers rippled on each blade,
His body had no bone.
The message their vibrations made
Said he was not alone.
But surely this could not be right.
Who dared to roam the graves by night?
Chapter 2 – The Intruder
The ghoul who’d risen from the well
Throbbed angry and annoyed:
Surely a living soul could tell
A place they must avoid.
He swiftly flowed across the ground.
His passing left no trace.
The bold intruder must be found
And made to leave this place.
He slid among the graves unseen.
This spot was his alone.
He spied a boy who sat serene,
His back against a stone
And face upturned to watch the sky.
The ghoul glanced up and wondered why.
The ghoul circled around the lad,
Approaching from the rear.
He’d teach him trespassing was bad
And make him squeal with fear.
The ghoul billowed and sent a breeze
That tickled the boy’s neck,
Then spoke to make the boy’s blood freeze;
He’d be a nervous wreck.
“Around you, boy, dark forces loom,
As dark as dark can be.
Run from this place or meet your doom.
You have one chance to flee.
For I’m the ghoul who sets the rules,
The ghoul who haunts the school of fools.”
The boy gave out a painful sigh,
The saddest of sad groans.
He pulled his gaze down from the sky
And peered among the stones.
“Why can’t you give your games a rest?”
The boy spoke out annoyed.
“And leave me this that I love best;
Clear nights should be enjoyed.
You think you’ve given me a scare
And now you plan to jump me.
I’m bored with you. I just don’t care,
So go ahead and thump me.
For all your blows and all my scars
Will be outnumbered by the stars.”
The ghoul fell silent, sad and shocked,
To hear the boy’s outburst.
Bleak memories had been unlocked.
His school days had been cursed.
The ghoul had been a boy at school,
The bullies schoolboys too.
He’d dreamed of working as a fool.
His dream had not come true.
The ghoul felt shy of boy and sky
And all the stars revealed.
He might have fled but chose instead
To stay and keep concealed.
He softly spoke “Please tell me why,
You sit and gaze up at the sky?”
###End of Sample###