|TITLE: Random Story 2
GENRES: Drama, emotional, tragedy.
SUMMARY: Remembering the dead. Short "D Is For Damien" tie-in.
WRITING STATUS: Completed.
WRITING DATE: Circa 2002.
LENGTH: 1600+ words.
CONTENT WARNINGS: None.
COPYRIGHT: This story and all characters, unless otherwise stated in the Disclaimers, are copyright © tehuti_88 and may not be used or distributed without permission. The reader is free to print out or download a copy of this story for offline reading as long as the author's copyright information remains upon it. Please do not distribute; if you wish to share this story, send a link to this page.
DISCLAIMERS: Various cult names were taken from nonfictional sources. Be aware that much of this fiction is about criminal Satanic cults, and is NOT what I think about Satanism as a valid religion (the same as a story written about a criminal Christian cult should not be taken as criticizing Christianity as a whole). Although this story may make use of actual locations and names, artistic license has been taken as this is a FICTIONAL story. Please take note that this story was written around 2002 and that my writing style and understanding of the mythology I created may have changed vastly in the meantime.
ADDITIONAL INFO: NA.
RELATED STORIES: "Lucifer" (novel), "D Is For Damien" (novel), "Minot" (novel), "The Three D's" (short stories)
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This short story ties in with the novels and other short stories listed above; as such, it might not make much sense out of context. Recall Deputy Grabowski from "Random Story, AKA Missing Lives"? There's more than one funeral he attended, and more than one person he mourned for a different reason. This may be a scene from the unwritten D Is For Damien novel, Trinity. It reads like a story, so here it is. For the backstory behind this piece, please see D Is For Damien (Chapters 5 and 8 in particular). Suggestions for a fitting title are welcome.
* * * * *
DAMIEN SAT BACK on one heel and stared at the grave before him. It was hot out, humid, yet overcast above, giving everything around him a washed-out appearance. Most of the other graves possessed headstones that stood out, that rose into the air, that were at least noticeable from the road; the one he stared at was set into the ground, and invisible until one came directly upon it.
When she had first died, if he had had the money then, he felt he probably would have bought her a monument. Now, looking back on it, he felt this was the most appropriate marker after all. He had no idea how whoever had paid for it, and for her funeral, had anticipated this.
He still didn't know who it had been. All he knew for certain was that the first few weeks after his sister's death had been a numb blur. He remembered his reaction on first seeing her body, but he had changed after that. He would sit, and tears might stream from his eyes, but he stopped saying a thing. He wished he'd died along with her.
A woman working with the police department helped him through it, as best as she could. The truth was, although he never said a word of it, he'd needed somebody to be there. As he and his sister had been living near a bridge, on their own, no money or family, she'd promised to help him with the funeral arrangements somehow. He knew he couldn't have done it on his own, back then. A potter's field burial just didn't seem right for the person who took half his life with her when she died.
They had gone to the funeral home to make what arrangements they could. It would have to be a simple funeral, but at least she would have one. With the woman's salary he wasn't sure how she would help him. But the man at the funeral home had merely smiled at them when they arrived and told him who they were, and had said not to worry, the arrangements were taken care of. A casket bought and paid for, a modest service, a proper burial in a Catholic cemetery. She would have it all.
This had led to confused looks. Neither of them had paid one cent for a funeral. When they asked to know who had done so, the funeral director had smiled again and said the person was merely anonymous. There was nothing else that could be said. They had to leave the place as perplexed as ever. Damien had thought perhaps it was another sick joke life decided to play on him. He would arrive on the day of the funeral only to find nothing but an open grave and Lilu's body waiting to be tossed in without a second word.
Instead, the two of them had found exactly what had been promised. There were even two more things present at the funeral that Damien hadn't expected...a small headstone, set into the ground...and flowers. A batch of pure white lilies. He'd stared at them throughout the entire service, barely looking at his sister's casket. The flowers told him one thing, one thing only.
Somebody knows her. Somebody cares. Somebody besides me.
Besides the priest, and perhaps an onlooker or two, he and the woman from the police department were the only ones there. A car from the sheriff's department was parked out on the road; perhaps it was there to make certain nobody caused any trouble at the funeral. He noticed another, plain car not too far away, but maybe it belonged to one of the onlookers...he didn't much care. One part of him had been angry that nobody cared enough, besides the two of them, to show up for her funeral. Another part of him was still confused. Somebody had cared enough, to pay for it. He had no idea who. They didn't show themselves. Not once.
He felt a pat of rain on his cheek and shook his head abruptly, looking skyward. A drop hit here and there, but it was just a light sprinkle, nothing to run to the car about. He was used to the rain; it always seemed appropriate in cemeteries. He'd been to a different funeral once and it had been sunny; that hadn't seemed right. There had been many more people at that funeral. The death of a policeman always ensured that. A small part of him wondered why Lilu's death had meant so little, in comparison.
But somebody didn't think so. Why did they pay for this? How did they know her? What did they have to gain from it?
He looked down at the headstone again, at the white lilies he'd placed upon it, as he did every time he visited. He must be keeping the florists in business. It had seemed only right, considering he hadn't been the one to think it up. First there had been the white flowers at the funeral itself. And then the batch of wild tigerlilies left every year thereafter, upon the same day--the day of her death--the orange blooms deposited on her headstone before he could arrive with his own batch of white flowers. It was as if the same person--was it the same person?--who had first left the white lilies that prompted him to bring his own, were saying, You bring the white ones now. Those are yours. I'll leave these for her instead.
But...who would know her, know him, to do something like that? Nobody had ever shown their face, or even come forward. He couldn't understand it. Somebody else cared about her, about him. But it was like they were a ghost. Aside from the funeral, and the flowers, it was as if they didn't even exist.
He shivered a little bit and told himself it was just a particularly cold drop of rain that patted against the back of his neck. He reached back his hand to absently wipe it away. Whoever they were, they hadn't left her any flowers this year. Maybe it was all just in his head.
He tensed now. He hadn't even heard the footfalls behind him until he noticed a slight shadow, rendered indistinct by the clouds, standing beside him. He wasn't alone here anymore.
He decided to ignore them. If someone wanted to be so rude as to sneak up on him in a cemetery, it wasn't his concern.
His reserve faltered, however, when they--whoever they were--leaned forward and a hand placed a batch of orange tigerlilies upon the headstone right before him, beside his white ones. He blinked and stared at the two contrasting bouquets, not quite certain what it was he was seeing.
"I was late this year..."
Damien finally looked up, over his shoulder. The former sheriff--Grabowski, Mulroy had said his name was--stood there, looking down at the grave with an expression that was neither sad nor amused, but might have been something in between. Damien stared at him.
"You did it..."
His voice came out almost silent. Grabowski didn't meet his eyes, but his own softened a little. He nodded, slightly.
"But..." Damien trailed off before finding his voice again. "The cost of a funeral, on a cop's salary...and you didn't even know her. You didn't work that case...why would you do that?"
He looked at Damien now, and they stared at each other in silence for a moment. Then he glanced back down at the headstone, at the two batches of flowers left for her.
"She reminded me of someone. Someone else who died and was alone...I promised myself that wouldn't happen, again. They both deserved more than that."
Damien stared at him for a moment more before turning back to the grave himself. He sat trying to gather his thoughts.
"The car at the funeral...that was you. You showed up."
Grabowski nodded again.
"And that other car..."
"Mulroy." When Damien looked at him again with some puzzlement he clarified. "Senior. He chipped in. When I told him what I was going to do. He thought I was nuts...but he paid for the headstone." His mouth twitched in a trace of a smile. "Complained the whole way...but I never did tell him he had to get it. Mulroys. You know how they are."
Now Damien's mouth twitched. "You don't have to tell me that twice."
They both fell silent, and both of them seemed to sense the conversation was over. Damien stayed kneeling at the grave while Grabowski turned to walk away. The few drops of rain grew a bit, so they made a rustling sound in the leaves. Damien's fingers tightened on his knee.
Grabowski stopped, halfway across the grass, and turned back with a questioning look. Damien just barely glanced over his shoulder.
"She didn't die alone. Neither of them did."
Grabowski stared at him. He blinked, once; maybe it was the rain that made his eyes suddenly look wet. He gave the same slight smile, nodded, once, and turned away, back to his car. His shoes made a soft shushing noise in the grass.
Damien turned to look at Lilu's grave once more. His grip on his knee loosened and he took a breath and let it out. Like before, he blamed the rain, falling more steadily now, for his own vision blurring temporarily. He swept his hand across his eyes to clear them and read the words on the small headstone one final time before rising painfully to his feet. He'd been kneeling there too long.
He bent back down, just briefly, to adjust the two groups of flowers left behind. He made certain, before leaving, that they were no longer two separate batches of lilies, but one. Orange and white mixed, differences growing indistinct in the rain.
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