It was so logical, so very obvious that he wondered how it could be that other people hadn’t seen the sense. Then again maybe they had, perhaps it is that graveyards all over the country are home to the disappeared, the lost and the disposed of. The place that he was heading was old, very old indeed. The stones are ancient, many of them so worn by time and weather that the names are unreadable. He liked them, these old fields of the dead. They spoke to his soul, the end of life when it was all cleaned up, when all the badness was finished and everyone was equal and at peace.
When his mum had died in that horrible way everyone assumed that she would be cremated, they shook their heads at him when he insisted that they open up the old family grave and lower her down on top of her own father and her grandparents. It wasn’t anything special, that cemetery. It was in a built up part of the city. There were a few trees and well mown lawns but no real atmosphere. It felt like a parking lot. He preferred the old ones, yew trees and dark corners, the graves of young wives and plague victims, the fallen soldiers, the sailors. He had photographs, lots of them. Photographs of the old stones and the towering crosses, the weeping angels and the draped flags.
Of course, he would have been interested anyway but now, with this work that he did, it had proved to be so very useful. Many of the old tombs, the ones of the wealthy, the altar tombs were damaged now. They were mostly made from sandstone and the years had punished them. But it was ideal, if there was a body to be disposed of then a graveyard was the most obvious place to hide it. It was more than that though. He cared about these women, life had led them astray, he had saved them from their wickedness and so now he liked to leave them sleeping peacefully. After all, the old families were long gone, finished, and it was philanthropic to share their resting places with these fallen angels.
It took several hours driving but the night was kind to him. Rain was coming and he hoped that it had already arrived at the killing zone, was already expunging any residual evidence near the warehouse. For the moment though the dry roads and more importantly the dry churchyard suited him better.
He turned into the little village. As he had known it would be it was sleeping now on this ordinary night. The lights were out in most of the little houses and the only movement was the odd feral cat or bits of leaf litter blowing along the gutters. He drove quietly around, passing the church twice; there was no sign of anyone. No homeless old men slumped against walls, cradling bottles of cider to ease their dreams, no gangs of youths with splifs or even stronger stuff despoiled the street corners. This wasn’t that sort of place; this was a quiet, refined place. She was lucky to be coming here, would never have been able to stay here in life. He smiled at his kindness; at least in death, she had some dignity, some “class”.
The car slid into a little back lane between two stone walls. He pulled on his hat and a new pair of gloves. The overalls were in the back but he didn’t need them now. It was a wild and overgrown place and anyway they would never search here, he shook his head, no, not here. It was the last place anyone would think of, not least because it was miles and miles from where she was last seen.
He hefted the stiff plastic roll, lifting it fairly easily and he rested it on his shoulder, part embrace part baggage removal. He walked as quickly as possible the few steps to the side gate. Now he had to toss her to the ground, he couldn’t negotiate the small space encumbered as he was. She landed with a dull thud but the wrapping held, there was no leakage now, no errant limbs, he was satisfied with the packing job. The grave was far into the cemetery, down in the oldest part, beside the church walls, hidden by the overgrown trees and the cenotaph and the great mausoleums.
The sides of his chosen site were crumbling but he had wedged old stones in some weeks ago, he didn’t want anyone getting an idea that this should be repaired and he knew, according to sod’s law that’s just the sort of thing that happens. No, it was as he had left it on his last visit. He opened up the space and placed the broken pieces neatly beside the grave. He lined up the mummy, feet facing towards the furthest end. He opened his backpack, inside there was a tiny bunch of flowers, cheap things, from the supermarket, white daisy things in cellophane wrap. He placed them on her breast, kissing them first, now there were tears flowing freely down his face. He was so happy for her, so pleased that he had been able to rescue her from the life that fate had chosen. It was a shame that the wrapping distorted their features but it couldn’t be helped. The cling film helped to minimise the smell and so the pretty face had to remain compressed and synthetic looking, twisted to one side and discoloured by the thickness of the plastic. He sighed but some things just had to be accepted.
Now he performed the final act, sliding the stiff parcel easily on the grass he inserted her into the space and pushed her in as far as he could reach. He had to jiggle her gently from side to side to slide her inwards but it wasn’t difficult. He had taken the precaution of shovelling some loose gravel in earlier in the month. No-one had bothered him, if he had been seen, and he doubted he had, then it would be assumed that he was a workman, maintaining the old place. Now the loose stones eased her passage, rattling softly as she moved along. He was lying full length on the damp grass, head to head with her and he whispered goodbye. He would have liked to use her own language but he didn’t actually know where she was from. It was done, he drew himself to his knees and then stood, pausing for a moment, head bowed for a final salute before he rebuilt the tumbled sides of the tomb. Making his way back to the car he shook the soil and bits of stone from his gloves, dusted the front of his trousers and congratulated himself on a good night’s work
One response to “Peter”
In this case, the better the crazy person feels about himself the scarier he is. A very well written scene.