Street sign

Even when simply installing a street sign, one should not forget about one thing – what has always been in the cemetery must remain in the cemetery. Otherwise there may be unexpected and serious consequences.

Road work

Autumn came to the town of Bangor when it wasn’t expected. Yesterday it was hot and you wanted to hide in the shade, but today the sun had not even appeared and the rain began to drizzle. People hid in their houses, not wanting to get wet, but the streets were not deserted. Here and there small groups of road service workers were working hard. The guys were fulfilling the monthly plan. The main item in it read «Put up new street signs». These signs looked like memorial stones and they were to be placed only on streets that were named in honor of veterans-heroes of World War II. The new mayor of Bangor came up with that. You think it’s because he honors veterans? Uh, no. It’s all about money. It’s always about money.

Installing a street sign

Cemetery headstone becomes street sign

A gray-haired, stately man named Howard Matthews stepped out onto the porch of his house and took a long look at the guys in the brightly colored uniforms. They were soaking in the rain, carrying those memorial stones and swearing. Here’s the sign on Davis Street. They’re working on Wilson Street, and the next one will be Marshall Street, where Howard spent his whole life. He smoked a cheap Marlboro and watched carefully. The old man couldn’t believe his eyes. There were the same beautiful dark stone signs everywhere, but they were going to put up some kind of tombstone near his house. The stone with the words «Marshal Street» carved on it really looked like an old gravestone, like in a cemetery, only it was missing the word R.I.P. Throwing his cigarette butt into the ashtray on the porch, the old man slowly waddled over to the workers. Despite the rain, he wanted to have a serious talk with them.

– Young men, are you really going to put this tombstone on my property? Or is this some kind of joke? – Mr. Matthews started the conversation.

– Good afternoon! You’re Mr. Matthews, right? Yes, we are installing a street sign on your property and we have a legitimate reason to do so, – the guy (probably the head of the crew) looked for something in a folder and pulled out a stamped document, – Here, please read it.

– Son, you don’t have to show me these papers. I personally authorized the sign,» Matthews said, still staring at the stone in disgust, «The sign, son! Not a cemetery stone.

– I understand you perfectly well, sir. But the thing is, there’s been a little mistake and we’ve been shortchanged on the signposts. Exactly one less. But we can’t reschedule the installation for next year because of that. You see, the rainy season’s coming soon. Then it’s gonna snow.

– You have a mistake, what am I supposed to do about it?, Mr. Matthews said with irritation in his voice, I don’t want that thing on my property. Don’t you know it’s a bad omen? It’s going to end badly.

– Don’t make it up, Mr. Matthews,» the traffic guy tried to be calm, «It’s just a piece of rock. So what if it was taken from the cemetery. It’s been there for a hundred years, and it’s gonna be here just as long.

– It’s not just a piece of stone from some cemetery. It’s a headstone from

Bangor Cemetery. It’s damned! Get it out of here right now!

– Keep calm, Mr. Matthews.

– Shut up and get it out of here! Now!

The whole street was watching, but no one intervened. Soon the police arrived. And then the mayor’s representative. They talked to Mr. Matthews, the traffic officers and even the neighbors. In the end, it was decided to leave it as it was. The old man didn’t raise a fuss. But deep down, he knew it wouldn’t end well.

A few months passed. The rainy season was over, replaced by light frosts. There was a steady drizzle of fine snow, more like hoarfrost. The puddles froze, and the streets of the town became a large skating rink. Mr. Matthews resigned himself to what now stood on his property. But the feeling of unease never left him. And for good reason…

The premonition did not disappoint

Howard Matthews looks out the window at a burning car

He was having his usual black tea in the kitchen at 6 a.m. when he heard that terrible screech and explosion. At first the old man didn’t realize what was happening. He thought, «Here we go! This damn war in Europe has moved to our continent and soon everyone is going to die from exploding nuclear bombs.» He scrambled from his seat and looked out the window. He had an overturned car lying in his yard. The red Pontiac was on fire and a man was screaming inside. The old man rushed to help, but his legs wouldn’t obey him. He was 75 years old. Only a few people could run at that age. While he got out into the street, the car was completely engulfed in flames. The driver was half out of the broken car window. His face was a bloody mess. One arm was missing and the other was trying to grab for air and grass on the lawn. His legs were not visible. They were trapped by the door and had long since burned away. The guy, or rather what was left of him, was screaming. The scream was heard all over the neighborhood. Neighbors came running, ambulance, firemen and police arrived, but it was too late. What were left of the car were a charred framework, and the guy… It’s a nightmare you don’t want see. Mr. Matthews’ house was a little damaged from the shrapnel of the car, and that stupid stone from the cemetery was still standing there as if nothing had happened.


The next day the old man sat on his porch and looked at the spot where the accident had happened yesterday. The guy had lost control, his car had gone over and flipped over, and he was dead. Howard knew something like that could happen. He just knew it, that’s all. Suddenly, he noticed a black square by the porch. Mr. Matthews walked over, bent over with difficulty, and picked the thing up – it was a burned driver’s license. You couldn’t see the photo, but you could read the driver’s last name. MARSHAL. A chill ran through the old man’s body. He slowly got up and looked at the sign. The stone that had been brought from Bangor Cemetery used to read «Marshal Street,» but now it only read «MARSHAL.» It was this guy’s grave stone. Always had been…

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