The old graveyard out on the edge of town was a favorite meeting point for Tommy Allen and his friends. You may say that this was a strange place for young men to get together for a bit of fun and fellowship, but they shared a love of mystery and the macabre. Here, they could assume the mindset of their hero, Edgar Allan Poe, and swap ghost stories in the dark hours after sunset. The graveyard’s caretaker, old Farrell, allowed the young men to spend several evenings a year in the oldest part of the cemetery, far away from the newer portion and sporadic visitors.
Tommy and his friends Stephen Cowan, Connor Hardison, Skylar Jordan and Anthony Beam had several causes for celebration on this first meeting night of the summer. Connor and Skylar were graduating from the city college, and they were acutely aware that 2009 marked the 200th birthday of their idol. They had wished to hold this meeting on January 19, Poe’s birthday, but winter nights were too bitter to meet in the graveyard and it had been an exceptionally cool and rainy spring. They had agreed to wait until school was out bringing drier, warmer weather before meeting for “Mr. Poe’s birthday party.”