‘Do come in,’ she beckoned to the people passing her gate.
They veered away from the old crone. When she was younger they had come more easily, enticed by her warm, youthful face.
Back then the community had been poorer. Beggars who lived on the streets and cripples returning from the war had gladly accepted her charity. She wanted to do some good, to end some of the suffering and misery she saw among the less well off.
Now the town was affluent, the poor cared for by society, it was harder to find anyone who would accept her invitation.
Teenagers laughed and joked, parents gave sympathetic smiles and averted their eyes, young children backed away in fear. Perhaps they could sense the truth. No one complained, the local policeman left her alone, even giving a polite greeting as he passed by on his regular beat.
Until she had become desperate.
Until the dark voices in her head pushed her to break her vow: Never take them unless they volunteered.
Until she had snatched the little girl.
Now the police entered the gate uninvited.
Now they would discover the graveyard all of her own making.