There were no pictures. No flowers. Just a grave with its silent memories of days gone.
FIRST PLACE in Twisted Tales Contest by Arakun the Twisted Raccoon , May 31, 2015
He stood in front of the grave as she walked by the cemetery. His chin nearly touching his chest. He stared at the tombstone, reading the words and dates, and wiped a teardrop from one of his eyes with his large hand. Breathing in deeply, he let the air go as if it was a painful reminder of life. The leaves on the tomb were softly blown away, and disappearing into the woods far ahead, and the breeze touched some of his thin, gray hair which was covering his deep blue eyes.
The grave, the size of the others in the cemetery, was almost overtaken with weeds but it was not an old one. The carving of the inscriptions was crude, as if done by a family member rather than a professional. There were no pictures. No flowers. Just a grave with its silent memories of days gone.
She wondered if he was going to stand there for the rest of his life; the worst way to go mad. He had been there this morning when she walked Goldie by the cemetery, and now, nearly 6 PM, he was still there, standing at the very same spot. Her voice brought him back to reality. “Good afternoon. I haven’t seen you around here before. Are you alright?”
“Oh… Hum. Yes. Good afternoon. No, I’m not from here. And no, I’m not alright but I think I will be okay.”
“I’m sorry to intrude… I didn’t mean to… it’s just, it’s just that I saw you this morning… and, and you are still standing here, at the same place… and… and I was worried or something, that’s all.”
“Well, you… you shouldn’t be.” He looked at her. Her short likeness was contagious and immediate, and he felt like smiling back yet he couldn’t as his sadness was running in his blood. Her red hair was pulled back in a running ponytail and her white skin and freckles made him think of Ireland and Leprechauns. Her dog looked like her and waved his tail happily at him, sniffing the clean air.
“So… are you alright?”
“Yes. What’s your dog’s name?”
“Goldie. What’s your name?”
“Boris. And yours?”
“Kyla. My name is Kyla Green Suttons.”
“Nice to meet you Kyla although it’s a sad day for me.”
“Why were you crying; I saw you crying, I know I did.”
“Sometimes, Kyla, we cry … not because we seem sad or weak but mostly because we spend most of our time being strong.”
“You are a... strange person.”
“What makes you think that about me, Kyla?”
“Well… ah… you just stand there all day, doing nothing else, staring at a grave. What should I think about you? It's weird.”
“You have a fertile imagination. I am sure you must read lots of mystery books, don’t you, to think such things about me?”
“Well… yes! See, you are a mind reader, too. Are you a psychic? How do you know those things about me?”
“Hum… Well you are still young, at school, and on vacations now, and maybe you love mystery books, right?”
“Oh my Gosh… yes! How can you tell?”
“Well... You must be around twelve or thirteen. You have a lovely dog. You must live in this neighborhood or your parents wouldn’t allow you to walk around alone, and I am wondering why you are alone. You are as curious as can be but your entrancing personality and small turned up nose makes everybody want to speak with you.”
“Yes. My mother told me about this and to never speak with strangers, never ever… but you seem somehow different – like as if I can trust you. Can I?”
“I guess you can … Kyla, but right now I’d rather be left alone. I need the silence.”
“Oh… okay. I’m sorry.”
“I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings or anything like that. It’s just that… Kyla, I am sad.”
“Well, I am sad too.”
He looked at her from the side of his eyes and noticed that she somehow turned pale all of a sudden. How could such sweetness in life be sad?
“Why are you --- sad? You can’t be. How could you? You have a dog, you are young, your hair shines in the sunlight and looks as red as apples, your courage and energy drives people towards you; you read mystery books and ask intelligent questions. How on earth could you be sad?”
“I-I… am so tired of being sad, yes I am.”
It had been such a quiet perfect day, he thought, but now it seems like a rusty doorknob on his way. He turned to look at her; his hands on his hips.
“How come. Tell me why? Do your parents know that you are sad?”
“That’s it. My parents act as if they don’t love me anymore. They are always busy; doing something else. They are always out. They don’t notice me. They think that I am old enough to stay at home with Goldie. They think I have everything: home, my books, TV --- which I hate, Cable --- which I abhor, homework, food, back porch, take Goldie for her walks --- always following the same route, and of course, my room.”
Boris felt uneasy; he had never had children. What could he say to all … that? Too much information. His jaw tightened. His hands clutched as if he was going to fight… the world. As a child he always thought he was one of the Avengers of the Planet. What could he do to help this girl? “Talk to them,” he said softly.
“I did… many, many, many times. They just don’t listen to me and live in their own world.”
“I don’t know what to say…”
“Why are you sad? Why are you here?”
“People have always gone away from my life too soon. Maybe they are too quick for me or something like that. Bad luck, I guess. She is gone. I am all alone, wherever I go, now. It could have happened to anybody but it happened to me. She is gone. I am here, watching over her, forever.”
She looked at him and noticed that he now looked thinner, sadder, and sombre. His cheeks were stretched and tight, his throat, erect, and she saw that his Adam’s apple was sticking out more, yet, she wasn’t afraid of him. A deep, intense feeling of--- knowing took over her and she took some steps closer to him and held his hand in hers. Goldie barked, licked their hands and sat between them, wagging her long tail from left to right, and right to left.
“What-what are you doing?”
“I---I can feel your hurt.”
“Yes. Since that day, I can… feel things.”
“That day… when I took another route with Goldie…”
“What do you mean?”
“The day was perfect. Sunny and bright. I didn’t want to walk Goldie the same route. We took another one. And then it happened. Since then, I can tell things … about people. Like you. Who is Else?”
“Else… was. She is ... gone. She’s there.” He pointed at a grave; a name was there: Boris Gart. 1950-2015. He tightened his hand around hers. She sighed deeply. “I’m sorry, Boris,” she said. She stretched her right hand and held hers and his hands tightly.
They stood there, staring at the grave. The sun was about to set and all the trees looked eerie and silent, praying for silence and darkness so they could let go of their branches and dance in the moonlight. The branches didn’t mind the soft summer wind, the sunset and the cemetery. They wanted freedom, and to waltz in the moonlight. It was as if Boris and Kyla belonged there, a familiar place to be, some sadness in the air, yet thoughts of the afterlife. They both thought about the same things; a cemetery remembered death, for the time of judgment is always at hand. The graveyard serves as a convenient place to dispose of the dead; however, evoking the memory of death, serves to remind the living of their own fragility and urgent need to get ready. This world is not our “home" and Afterlife is a reality. Kyla, uneasy, moved her feet near the grave, which looked uncared for and covered with dry leaves.
“What happened to her, Boris?”
“She was so sad, and depressed that I left her… before she did. Tell me, Kyla, what happened to you that day, in the other route?”
“My family didn’t even notice that I was gone. Only two days after. I was attacked by a man. Goldie too, on the very same day. I think Goldie was hurt first, because she licked my face, and I then I woke up. I always walk the right route now.”
“Oh Kyla. Were you hurt bad?.”
“That's the thing, I don't remember; but I can feel that something is changing; something is happening...”
“What should we do now? What happens --- next?”
“I think that we should---should wait for someone or something --- to help you, or for the tunnel of light to come get you. I guess you didn’t go before because we …”
“… Needed each other! Right, Kyla? You are going there too, honey, with me.”
“I think so, Boris. We needed each other to figure things out, and how to go home.”
“But---but how do we do that?”
“Oh I don’t know. Maybe, we should hold our hands tight and look up at the lovely sky. Stare at the stars, call out for the angels… and maybe our Guardian Angels will hear us. I don’t know how it works. I wish I knew.”
“Neither do I. How do we know?”
Suddenly, Goldie barked and ran towards a very big tree. Its branches danced slowly in the night’s breeze and the leaves seemed as tiny, brilliant ballerinas dancing in the grayish sky. Then, they saw it. A light. A light so intense, and warm that their whole bodies were engulfed with kindness, sweetness and love. Home. The only word that dashed through their minds like a bolt of lightning.
They smiled at each other, and knew right then, and now. It was time to go, and discover other realms of a fantastic life of symphony, decades, memories, love, knowledge, pleasure and belief, riffles of light, stories and history. It was time to live yet another life, and still be the same own soul but mostly, live.