Prelude (Soon to be a Hammer Film)

22 October 2010, 17:22

The car came to a stop, swerving past the gravel onto the grassy side of the path. As the two passengers removed themselves from the vehicle, the wind, though intermittent, sliced through layers of clothing. The reporter retired his Blackberry with a casual flick, and what little light remained cast broken images clinging to life with barely a token effort.

“I’ll take you to him,” she said impassively.

As they walked across the field, Andrea stopped momentarily at a headstone that read “In Loving Memory, Faithfull Unto Death, 1973-2010”. In happier days, she would have bemoaned the spelling error and the careless absence of appropriate punctuation. Today, she simply reacted with an almost imperceptible shake of her head, then she moved on briskly, taking no notice of the multitude of other stones by now known to her by an increasingly cold heart.

The reporter, on the other hand, naturally attempted to capture the names as they progressed, but the lack of light thwarted this desire. One tombstone looked impossibly modern, white and gleaming—Matt somebody? An adjacent one resembled The Thinker and belonged to an Adam. There were a multitude of angels and cherubs around an unusually pretty headstone, but in spite of the reporter’s steady gaze this time, he couldn’t see a name. It wasn’t there; the letters were missing. Maybe they were lost in the mail, or maybe someone just didn’t care enough to make the effort in the first place. Perhaps it should not have been such a surprise, years of loyalty so coldly brushed aside, letters that may have made the difference. Across the field, the reporter spied a segregated section of tombstones that bore the evidence of having been garishly decorated, but time and weather stripped away the artifice until only tin-coloured scraps clung in a desperate attempt to justify how special they thought they were. After their passing no one shared the enthusiasm for pinning medals. Now they were just a series of unkempt gravestones, like so many others.

Andrea stopped wordlessly at the sight of a man stood coldly at the base of an open grave at the end of the row. Wet dirt slid from the blade of his shovel as he acknowledged their presence.

His head cocked and the brim of his hat seemed to shift of its own will. The reporter shuddered as the man spoke.

“Always room,” said Rodney, “for one more.”

Rodney Eric Griffith



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