On the Edge of the Grave

By Mila Oaks

An old gravestone

I am sitting on the edge of my grave, dangling my legs over the darkness within, looking up at the moon, a sweet melody on my lips. The graveyard is a lonely place to be at this hour. Only the moon and the occasional ghost to keep me company.

Deep in my thoughts, I don’t notice the white translucent figure until it is hovering right next to me. I look up at the long hair, framing a sad face with dark eyes that must have once been full of life and light. I have never seen this ghost here before. Ghosts this young are rare at this graveyard, so I would have remembered her. But then, I already spent a long long time at this place and the nights are merging into one giant blop of darkness.

“First night, eh?”, I ask the ghost trying to sound cheerful. But my voice sounds more hollow than the trees around us.

She stays silent at first, not looking down at me and I wonder if she even heard me, when she whispers: “I wish I had known.”

Her sad gaze slowly meets mine but it is as if I am the ghost and she is looking right through me.

“Known what?”, I try to poke.

“Known what a precious flower my life had been.”

Her eyes look hungry at the moonlit meadow filled with flowers in the warmer months of the year. But tonight it looks desolate.

“You never know how precious something is until you lose it”, I whisper into the night.

She sighs a ghostly sigh that rustles the leaves on the trees above us. I dangle my legs over the grave.

“I once had a future.” She tells me. “I had a roof over my head, people that loved me and nothing to worry about. But still, I thought there would be something more to life than that.”

“Understandable”, I mumble thinking about how I had always wanted to leave the place that I grew up in.

“I left my friends and family behind, left the life I had to seek a new one. I was alone but excited to make it on my own. Until I got betrayed and had nothing left and nowhere to go.” She looks down at the grave beneath us.

“I get it”, I say nodding in understanding.

She looks at me with narrowed eyes, and for the first time, it seems she truly notices me and wonders what a very alive person is doing sitting at the edge of a dug grave in the middle of the night. Then she nods slowly, her sad gaze returning to the meadow.

“Let me tell you that you won’t find that life you’re looking for in the middle of the night on a graveyard.” Her voice is firm for the first time.

“Thank you for your consideration, but I would surely be far away if I could.”

“I told you my story. Now tell me, how did you get here?”

I take a deep breath considering my answer carefully: “I pissed off the wrong people and now I can only leave this place when I’m dead, as a ghost, like you. But I have too much still left to do in this life, I cannot just… you know.” I tilt my head in the direction of the grave below me.

“I understand”, the ghost sighs. But I am not so sure I agree. “So how long have you been here?”

“A year, or two, or ten. I actually lost count.”

“And you have never found a way to leave?”

“Nope. Every time I try there is an invisible wall that I cannot pass. Sucks to be a witch sometimes.” I consider my carefully manicured fingernails. It also has its perks though.

“I don’t know you for very long but I was always good at reading people. And I have a hunch that you are a good person, who does not deserve this punishment. I am sure you will find a way. Don’t give up.” For the first time, the ghost smiles at me and it lights up her whole face, making her look almost alive just for a second. She makes a movement as if she wants to reach out to touch my shoulder but then turns away.

In the blink of an eye just as unnoticed as she arrived the ghost vanishes leaving me alone with the moon. My only consistent friend since my banishment to the graveyard. At the beginning of my punishment, I enjoyed its company, the moon was a good listener and rarely gave advice I didn’t want to hear. Just after a while the perfect glow and its almost smiling face made me feel angry. How can this celestial object be so happy all the time? So unrealistic!

I look at the moon and wonder what crime it committed to orbit all alone around the Earth for who knows how long.

“If I figure out how to get free from this graveyard, I will free you too my friend”, I promise.

But of course, like a good friend, the moon prefers to smile and listen, than to answer.


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