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“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first and is waiting for it.” 2021-DECEMBER-FLORIDA The darkness of the December night drenched the graveyard, the only light visible was from the time-worn church. All that could be heard was the groaning organ and the angelic voices of the choir. Stained-glass shadows fell on the grass below, painting it in marigold, cerise and periwinkle. Everything was carved so delicately and precisely but slowly eroding away. The gargoyle faces were not visible and the angels had chipped their wings. A motherly figure was the most striking, her face was menacing and enough to cause nightmares. The imposing oak doors welcomed guests of all kinds inside. A wooden plaque beside the door painted azure had the name of the church, swirled in gold writing, “St. Mary’s.” Founded a way back in the past, it still stood proudly. Unfortunately, bricks were missing and cracks came in an abundance on this building, but it was still spectacular. Without listening to another word, “Come in, Ace.” Said Adeline, sounding like a little kid going to a carnival. “But the cemetery?” Adeline stopped walking at the front gates, turning around to stare at Ace with wide eyes. Had Ace seriously just whined? “What?” Ace snapped, his lips pursed. Shaking her head, held up a hand to cut him off. “Come on, just do me this one. I’m sure you haven’t visited here for a very long time.” And it was the least he could do after telling her all of her, well not all, some of their family history and then suddenly ending the conversation, right? That was probably a little below the belt, but it was worth a shot, wasn’t it? “Please, spare me, Adeline Martinez,” said Ace, rolling his eyes. “You don’t have to be so considerate about my visits to the graveyard. I hate shitty gravestones and the epithets.” Ignoring him, Adeline gripped his hand again as she yanked him towards the large iron doors as Ace stood behind her, no doubt he would be sulking behind her back. “Come on,” said Adeline, trying to force some positivity into her voice. “I have got somewhere, I want to take you.” “This better be worth my time, Adeline Martinez,” Ace grumbled, looking very annoyed. Gingery, they stepped through the grounds, dodging forgotten graves. A few candles had been lit and placed in a memory, others had died out in the duration of the night. Dying flowers bloomed in this graveyard, the majority of graves had a bouquet placed on top. Others had destroyed toys and notes which had been attacked by the rain, which were nothing but an emulsion of colours now. As the bodies of the beloved returned to their matter to the earth, their souls, ageless since birth, returned to our maker. Let their feet tread lightly over the soils that support new spring growth, white-bells and green wands of grass, until they were there, her eyes resting on his name, her heart hearing the sound of his voice as if he were right there with Adeline. Perhaps it was the memories that were the real bridge, that sense of love a key to open doors into the worlds beyond, yet here she was in the graveyard, these moments of reflection of her everlasting bond with her grandfather. On the left was where it laid, the only one that was not cracked or littered with moss, the only one that had some blossoming flowers on top. Adeline knew down while Ace stood behind her with his hands in his pockets, wearing an uninterested look on his face while she clasped her hands together, crouching down on the ground. Within a week, grass shards sprouted over the top, and a little soil was scattered over. In one swift movement, everything went away as her fingers traced the carved letters. Beloved Grandfather ~James Martinez Though it wasn’t just her grandfather's grave lying there, it was her whole family laid down in this graveyard. Although they lived a major portion of their life in Europe but as this was their ancestors' graveyard, final rites were performed in Florida itself. “I met Talia here for the first time…” said Adeline, looking for something in the space in front of her. “I didn’t know who she was at that time,” turning around in the crouched position, she looked at Ace who too found a place to sit beside her, giving her a look to continue, “I was maybe crying at that time and she found me here, when she looked at me, it was my mother’s name she uttered. I was literally shocked to learn that at least there is someone whom I know. But, she never, you know, revealed anything about herself and when I asked who she visits here in the cemetery, she said something about her late husband .... but nevertheless, she is a great woman, she always took care of me like a mother and I just saw her as my employer. But, now I know.” Ace did not intervene as he wanted to listen to what Adeline had to say and suddenly the vices had paused, and the goths in the church slowly dimmed. Muffled noises and joyous laughs escaped through the cracks in the church. Coos from owls and the scatter in the thickets became more noticeable. Briefly, Adeline looked up at the night sky. The slither of the moon was being curtained by the grey clouds, the sky itself was vast and covered in freckles and small blemishes. Inside her pocket, she fumbled around for a scrap of paper, tugging out the lines but of paper, with a few words scribbled on. Delicately she situated the note to the side of the grave, so the name and date were still on show. Every week at nine in the evening, she would visit. . . . . They walked along in silence, making their way towards other graves, Adeline practically knew the way by heart, she had been here so many times. She used to come to the central part and the cemetery nearly every Sunday. The quietness of the graveyard had always been her favourite, and she had no idea why. There was just something about graves that depicted that death is inevitable, and it is more important to lead your life in a more lovable, gentle, adventurous or however that you wanted to lead to your life. Whenever she did go to the cemetery, she used to spend most of her time there. Sure, it smelt kind of weird and it was dark, but it was a great place to go and think. Just as she was expecting, her favourite spot in the middle of the woods was empty when Ace and Adeline arrived. Big stones were lying on the ground, which was where she led Ace. Taking a seat up at the top of the larger stone, gripping the sleeves of her coat so her fingers wouldn’t freeze. Ace sat beside her, putting as much distance between the two of them as he could without seeming rude. She tried not to let this bother her so much. Leaning back against the trunk of a tall tree, watching branches of the trees swirling in the cold winter’s air as the wind whizzed past her and her hair flew along with it, besides the cold winter, the entire point she came here was to feel serenity. Somewhere above this sky, born of the colour of winter Iris, swirling galaxies of brilliant stars. On fine days such as this, she feels their energy the same way the smile of one Adeline love infuses her soul, raises me higher. So she paused, letting feet join the serenity of quietness, and breathed. That was when she felt it all the more, sensed energy from the trees, the birdsong and the very soil upon which she stood. They say the universe is all connected, as are we all, and at this moment it was so tangible, real. The silence that was not totally uncomfortable fell upon them, she did not have to look at Ace to know that he was undoubtedly thinking about one thing. People normally had long thinking sessions whenever they came to the cemetery, and that was exactly what she was doing at the moment. It was safe to say that her thoughts were firmly directed towards what Ace had just told her, not fifteen minutes ago. Before her grandfather’s death, it was hard enough for her to believe that there were people in the world that actually had the capacity to kill someone, but it was even worse, actually hearing first-hand what it was like knowing someone capable of something so heinous. She had no idea what to think of everything. Everything in her mind was so jumbled at the moment she was feeling a little dizzy. How on earth did Ace manage to be like this, with everything that had happened to him resting on his shoulders? “What are we really doing here, Adeline Martinez?” Jerking in surprise at Ace’s voice, Adeline turned to look at him in confusion .”What do you mean?” Ace gave her a pointed look as he said, “The cemetery? What are you trying to establish, want me to tell you about my family and all the shitty things that have happened in our life?” Perhaps. “No,” she said, blowing out a sigh. “I’m trying to make myself feel better, but if you’re ready to share, go ahead, nobody is stopping you.” Sighing, Ace veered around away from her and started: “It’s not just Martinez’s Ancestral Cemetery…. This graveyard was built for Martinez, Jonathan and……” Well, for whom do you think the cemetery was built? How does it connect Adeline to the know the history regarding her ancestral past?
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