It was a busy night on the graveyard shift. The patrolman was new, but confident in his ability to handle his calls.
"Paul 4, respond to a 459 audible at the Crestview Cemetery, 1220 West Avenue G. Alarm covers the mausoleum. I'm Code 50 a backup."
"No backup unit available. Oh well," thought the patrolman. He could handle an alarm. Besides, what was there to steal in a cemetery?
He pulled in behind the mortuary and parked his cruiser. Using the hood as a step, he hopped the wall into the old section of the cemetery. This is creepy, he thought.
The tombstones and markers formed a jungle of granite, marble and concrete around him. Some were over 100 years old. A layer of fog covered the ground and wrapped itself around the bases of the monuments. About 75 yards away, the mausoleum loomed tall against the night. The building was dark and quiet now. The alarm must have reset.
The patrolman moved quickly to close the distance to the mausoleum, small hairs on the back of his neck prickling as if an electrical charge was running over them. Halfway there, the alarm started ringing again and the mausoleum lights came on. He slowed his pace and began to use the tombstones for cover.
"I ain't afraid of no ghosts," he told himself.
The patrolman eased up to the mausoleum's glass doors and noticed the deadbolt was still locked. The stained glass windows were intact and there was no sign of forced entry.
The interior was bathed in an eerie, soft glow from the old-fashioned candelabra. Bronze vases and gold letters on cold marble walls marked the domiciles of those eternally resting. "This is too weird," he thought. He sensed movement and, as he focused on its source, he felt a chill, like a cold hand passing through him.
Inside stood a naked, gray haired old man. His wild eyes focused on nothing as he plucked unseen objects out of the air and tried to climb the mausoleum walls. The old man's skin was pink and flushed, like a newborn infant's. He continued his eerie dance.
With his heart in his throat, the patrolman noticed that one of the crypt covers had been removed. A casket, with the lid open, protruded from the hole. It was as if the man had been delivered from the womb of the afterlife.
Convincing himself he was awake, the patrolman took a deep breath and tapped on the door with his flashlight. The man was oblivious to his presence, amplifying the patrolman's impression he was watching an eerie apparition from the netherworld. Whether from this world or the next, he thought, if that dancing old man comes through the glass doors he was gonna get capped.
The patrolman radioed his observations to his disbelieving colleagues. After what seemed a ghostly eternity, backup units arrived. A broken window was soon found on the far side of the mausoleum and a K-9 was sent in to apprehend the suspect. Would his jaws close on air? The K-9 got the ghost's attention, however, and suddenly we were all relieved to be confronted with a distinctly earth-bound old fellow.
After his arrest, the story came out. The man's wife had recently died and he was overcome with grief. He broke into the mausoleum looking for the doorway to heaven.
He had nearly found it.
Byron Lee is a detective with the Ontario Police Department and denies that he sleeps with a night light on these days ...