“Halloween’s still three months away,” Lauren said. She took a step back and looked at the decorations Grant had put up. “By the time it gets here, that’ll have long rotted.”
“That’s the idea,” he said. “By the time it gets here, this’ll look like a real graveyard. Full of ghosts and overgrown and scary.”
“Like that one we had to clean up for our community service,” Lauren said and shuddered. “That place was haunted.”
“Ghastly,” Grant agreed and flashed her a smile. He’d loved it, that unkempt graveyard. Sure, Lauren had been intrigued by the headstones—well, the ones she could read, anyway. It had been a Civil War graveyard, but whoever had buried the dead had been kind. They’d taken the time to put names on the stones. How, Lauren didn’t know. It couldn’t have been easy. There had been so many of them.
She remembered the atmosphere of that place. Quiet, like all graveyards were. But there was something else. Being there had made her hurt. Ache. And not just because, like most of her friends, she didn’t believe in war. War was stupid and pointless.
Being in that cemetery had driven that point home. And the fact that war is cruel, too. Lauren had come out of there feeling unsettled, awkward with herself. She’d felt like they were supposed to have been changed by a day cleaning up weeds and helping to stand marker stones up again, letting the world know who had been there before them and why they’d died.
She’d felt like the dead people were trying to talk to her.
Grant noticed. “You still creeped out by that place?”
“Yes.” She nodded at his pseudo-graveyard, the one he wanted to let rot until Halloween. “And I feel like this… it’s making a joke out of it. A cruel joke. People died there, Grant. And then people forgot. They walked away. They stopped caring. And it took us, doing a day’s community service, to go clean it up, and for what? So someone can forget again?”
“If you’re telling me to give this up and go drive five hours again so we can maintain that graveyard, forget it. It’s not my job. Or yours.”
“How do you know? What if those are your relatives buried there?”
“Lauren, my grandparents came here long after the war was over.”
“Yeah, but how do you know you didn’t have family here, and they left?”
He shook his head and started to walk away.
Lauren let him go, staring at the small patch of ground with the painted styrofoam and the newly planted kudzu. He’d regret the kudzu, that was for sure. Kudzu buried things, made it impossible to see them. And what you couldn’t see, you could forget.
Part of her would always see that graveyard, the one they’d cleaned. She wouldn’t forget. Maybe one day, she’d go back and take care of it again.
A cold, creepy feeling ran across the top of her scalp. Historic or not, it had been scary.
Maybe Grant was right. Maybe some ghosts needed to be left undisturbed.
This was a Three Word Wednesday post.