At the end of the lane, behind the wrought iron fence, past many several gravestones, stood a small group, circled around a particularly large willow tree. Their voices whispered and snickered, and their eyes looked like they were glowing as they darted around in the dark.
They were known by the town only as The Grave Rats, and known only to each other by nickname. They met there in the cemetery once a week, to tell one another the horrors they overheard between classes and on the street and around the town.
They had met by accident, nowhere else but here. They weren't school friends, they weren't neighbors. They had only seen each other here, in the graveyard. When the sun sank down and the wind between the trees started to sound like it was calling for them, they came.
Wire had been taking photographs, dressed up like she was going to a Halloween party, and no one knew if she was supposed to be a doctor or a patient. Was she wearing a lab coat or a straight jacket? She never really told them. They found her lounging across the grass with needles and pills, which she told them she never used, but no one could be sure.
Razor, who deemed himself the true founder of The Grave Rats, and the pack leader, was always in the graveyard. It was like a second home to him, where he would come after working all night at a vinyl record shop in town. He would walk all the way to the end of the lane and jump the fence, too tall to get through the holes here and there that the other Grave Rats used. When they found him, he was cutting his skin to take the edge off, using his blood to draw circles in the stone, as if summoning something forth as he mumbled bad poetry to himself.
Razor was the oldest, and he was the one who told the first story.
He was the one who made the pact that they'd come back, and since then, they always did, without missing a night. It was fun to tell each other their little horror stories, but as time went along, it felt more and more necessary, like they were feeding something greater than them with their words.
Maggot showed up to sit at their mother's grave, their hair in their face, their knees pulled to their chest, as they spoke quietly and without much feeling. They went over the details of their day, and the odd ritual brought the others' attention to them. They told their mother they got in trouble again, because another student took one of their notebooks and they stabbed him several times with a sharpened ruler.
Wire and Razor were almost timid to approach them, unable to see their eyes under their bangs, but when the two stopped in front of Maggot and asked if they would like to join them, Maggot stood without another word, nodding and following.
And then they were three.
Spine watched them, studying them from a distance, analyzing them closely. He could've left and never been caught, but the group had a pull, and on this night, he wanted to be a part of the company. He came up to them, all sitting around, deciding that they would meet every week, and he invited himself.
No one argued.
They didn't know one another past this moment they made together. Their pact, to meet at the end of the lane, in the middle of the night with the moon high over their town. They chose names for one another, and agreed they wouldn't reveal their true identities.
They would only see each other here, like this, at the end of the lane, behind the wrought iron fence, past many several gravestones, standing in a small group, circled around a particularly large willow tree, ready to tell their stories for the week.