I'm not freaked out by grave yards. In fact, there is nothing I like better than taking a wonder through; reading the headstones and imagining the lives of the long dead. Simon didn't know me very well if he thought I would be scared. It was an easy bet to win. So when he dropped me off at midnight I was confident that the tickets would be mine.
It was a full moon so I had no problem following the path to the garden of remembrance. There were benches there inside a sort of covered shelter. It was a place where people would come to commune with their dearly departed. I didn't believe for one moment that it was possible to have a conversation with the dead. When you're gone, you're gone. The body is just a piece of meat. Certainly nothing to be scared of.
It was cold, even for October. I pulled my collar up and reached in my pocket for my gloves. Something fell to the ground with a tinkle. It was the silver dollar my grandfather had given me just before he died. I tossed it in the air, just like I had seen him do so many times before. I remembered the last time; that was the only time he didn't catch it. In the seconds the coin was spinning in the air he had a stroke; the coin fell to the ground and he followed.
They buried his body in this very grave yard seven years ago. It's somewhere over to the west, under an old oak tree. His was the only grave I never visited. There was no point; I knew his story. I tossed the coin again and let it fall. In remembrance; seemed fitting somehow. I looked at my watch. Less than an hour had passed. The temperature was dropping rapidly. I rubbed my hands and stamped my feet trying to get my circulation going.
I decided to take a wander, thinking that walking would keep me warmer. For some reason I found myself heading west. I had a small pen light on my key ring. I started to read the names. Joshua Penfold, 1860 - 1933, RIP. What had he done in his seventy three years? Something cold and wet found its way down the back of my neck. I shivered as I realised it had begun to snow. There was a tree close by; it would give me some shelter. I sat down beneath it as the snow storm began to rage.
I shone my penlight on the nearest grave. Nathan Smith, 1937 - 2013. It was my grandfather's grave. "Hello Jamie, it's nice to see you again." It was unmistakably my grandfather's voice.
"Grandpa?" No I didn't believe it. Someone was playing a trick on me.
"It's been an awful long time." I looked around for someone hiding or a hidden speaker or something. The dead don't talk to the living. I must have said that out loud. "No the dead don't talk to the living."
Simon came looking for me at first light. When he couldn't find me he enlisted the help of the ground keeper. They worked their way westward until they came to a tree. Beneath the tree the snow had drifted into a large mound. The ground keeper started digging. There, sprawled across my grandfather's grave lay my frozen corpse.