You, Or Your Memory
rating: +45+x

The wind swept over Oak Hill Cemetery, shaking old leaves from old trees. Spring was coming to an end, and Autumn was preparing its arrival. Visitors pulled close their jackets as they lowered flowers to their dearly departed. Children walked aimless and restless. The act of paying remembrance to those-no-longer-with-us had yet to become weight in their minds.

In a far corner of the cemetery, shaded by large trees peeking over the fence, was a mausoleum. A concrete hut covered in leaves, algae growing along its base foundation, served as a memorial. The lock was never turned in recent years; it had been more than a decade since its last visitor.

The inside of the mausoleum was barren of adornment. Like funerals, grave memorials were more for the living than the dead, but the practicality of being an impenetrable box took precedence over aesthetics. Light only filtered through the foggy glass of the steel door, and even then it revealed no things of beauty, no flowers long dead, and no traces uncovered by dust. In this concrete room with no windows, alone lay the last living reminder of Rebecca Soss.

The reminder, a broken headstone with a name, a poem, and an oak tree engraving, did not touch the floor beneath. In defiance of fate, it remained.

For thirty years, it remained. It broke no further. It refused. It would stay elevated.

But all pass in time. Year after year, those that built the concrete hut of the memory became occupied, dropping the burden of remembrance as thoughts passed and so too letting the headstone fall. It hovered barely an inch from the floor now. It was only a matter of time.

A gust blew across Oak Hill Cemetery and over the mausoleum. With the wind came a draft through the thin cracks of the steel door. With the draft came an unseeable force, cold and quiet. This air of mysticism touched every wall and shifted every loose piece of gravel, until suddenly it stopped. And then, there stood a woman in a suit, as if carried in by the wind itself. Her body remained still as she turned her head and assessed her surroundings.

Surely this was the wrong place.

Normal locales for the specter was hospice rooms and bedrooms in lonely houses. In such places, the soon-to-be departed was clear and obvious. And yet here she was, in a boring cell with a rock on the floor. Something wasn't right.

She took a few steps to the stone and squatted down to get a better look at it. Fine marble, sturdy. Seen better days, probably. A tree carved into it. A name.

The name…something about the name. Rebecca. Soss.

And then it clicked, and the specter spoke, its voice ethereal and distant like a whisper from the opposite end of an old chapel.

"I remember you."

She did. Three decades ago, in a Wisconsin home, the ghost appeared very much as she did now… save for the color of her hair and skin. She remembered the softness of Rebecca's voice in her last moments. She remembered how it quivered, reluctant to the idea that her life was at its end. She remembered how Rebecca's body relaxed as she understood there was no point in resisting. The specter waited with her in silence as the heart carried out its final beats. Rebecca would not die alone.

The specter was the only witness. Her hand was the last hand Rebecca held before her soul moved on. And now, it was time for the final piece of her departure.

The specter sat down in front of the reminder. She reached into her suit pocket, but hesitated. She remembered how much smoke bothered Rebecca in life. She'd keep the pack in its place for now. Out of respect. She put her hand on the stone and waited.

The wind swept over Oak Hill Cemetery, rustling the branches above the mausoleum. Within, a ghost and a memory, neither related. The final moments passed, one after another, bit by small bit, without witness or interruption. The world was blind to the event.

And then, a crack.

The wind stopped. The trees ceased their autumnal dance. The people remained still for that singular moment. Silence.

Another crack. And then another. The headstone fractured as it impacted the floor, each split branching into multitudes of breaking paths… until finally, it was over.

The marble stone became gravel on the floor of an unadorned concrete room. The final memory of Rebecca Soss lay in pieces above her remains.

The specter remained seated for a brief moment before standing up. She dusted her pants. Her job was done. After giving one last moment of mourning for the twice-departed, the wind blew again.

Peace had come to this place. It was time to move on.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License