An excerpt from in the story-in-process (which currently stands at 1,775 words, hurrah), for consideration:
We exited the church into the bright May sunlight, where the footsteps, rushing cars and tangled voices of the living world streamed beyond the railings. Christina led me round the side of the building to the north wall, and there in the blue shadows under one of the blooming hawthorns was the grave in question. The headstone was more elaborately decorated than its neighbours, being heavily carved around the edges with wreaths of ivy and roses. In a cartouche at the top of the stone was an engraving of a hand holding an arrow, and beneath it in Gothic lettering was the epitaph:
This Grave contains
all that was Mortal of
Arthur Sebastian Spenser,
a Young Acolyte, who
passed beyond the Veil of Life
on 20 January 1891
'Until the Day break,
and the Shadows flee away.’
‘That’s what he said to me, when I saw him,’ I said, pointing to the words. ‘ “Until the day break, and the shadows flee away.” ’ I liked the phrase; it flowed through the mind with a mysterious rhythm. His name was appealing, too, sounding so Victorian and possessing a vague air of decadence.
‘Yes,’ said Christina, ‘that’s all he ever seems to say, when he appears. He recited it when I saw him, too, before he walked away behind the door. It’s a line from the Song of Solomon, which apparently was his favourite book of the Bible. Perhaps that explains a lot …’ She trailed off and I, who was at least passingly familiar with the Song of Solomon’s sensual reputation, was left to wonder at her exact meaning.