A Friend Like Me

by joetwo

Carol entered the graveyard hesitantly, immediately searching through the rows of monolithic slabs for her target. She walked down the gravel path, past the older already worn graves of people long gone and went to the more recent section. Some of the names she recognised, people she knew from her childhood, ghosts from a life she had left so long ago.

She found her quarry, a nondescript tombstone right next to the fence, erect in a scruffy sea of grass and weeds. The cheap limestone had already started to erode but the name was still clearly visible ‘John Curnow, Born 18th August 1975, Died 20th September 2012.

“I’m sorry that I couldn’t come here sooner.” She spoke out loud to the gravestone “But where I have been news takes a long time to get to…. Well! Let’s do this.”

Carol took a small bottle from her bag, opened it, then poured it’s contents on the grave. She then kneeled down and started to pray. It was a prayer filled with the passion of a long remembered obligation, of promises made on moonlit nights and lazy summer afternoons. It was a full ten minutes before she was finished.

She then got up, stepped back a dozen paces and stared expectantly.

She hadn’t long to wait.

There was a muffled thump from below the ground, followed by the sound of scrabbling. The ground in front of the gravestone started to bulge up, then break apart. Finally; a dirt, encrusted hand forced its way out into the light.

Carol ran over and started to pull the soil away with her bare hand and gradually, over the course of a couple of minutes a figure, gaunt and dirty, emerged onto the damp grass.

“Uuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!” It said and then started to cough loudly. Dirt, dust, and the occasional insect flew out. Carol, handed over a bottle of water. After a good long swig it took in a deep breath and said “Carol! What happened? Was I?”

“Not now!” She shushed him. “We’d better leave now in case someone sees. I have a spare change of clothes in my car. We can’t do anything about the dirt on your face until we get to my hotel, hopefully no one will notice.”

The newly reanimated John was still somewhat dazed. “But what happened Carol? What did you do?”

“I’ll explain everything later. I’d just rather not do it here.” She looked over the hundreds of graves, still and silent, “This place gives me the creeps.”

John was getting more and more animated, the colour already returning to his cheeks “What!” Pointing to himself, “After this?”

“I know.” Carol said sadly “If only they all had a friend like me.”  

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Image courtesy of Janssenfrank and taken from Wiki Commons
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Written for The Light And Shade Challenge of Monday 15th September 2014.

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