It is never silent. That's not the way of graves. The dead whisper, gossip, conspire. Several complain. They're cold, they need to stretch their legs, they forgot to do something very important before they died. The wind weaves its way between the leaves, which rustle softly or rattle in the gusts. A dog barks. Mice and moles dance in the moonlight, joined by a weasel and a fox. The dead are restless.
A man and woman and two children stand at the foot of a grave. The year of death is not yet carved into the gravestone. The name on the stone is a man's name. The date of birth is 1925. The woman's hat is black with a black veil. The veil masks the tears that have ruined her makeup. She places a handful of flowers on the grave, and the children, one by one, step forward, and do the same. When they turn to leave, the man places his hand on the woman's arm and helps her navigate the lumpy grass until they reach the road where their car is parked. Their car is a new
The dead are sleeping. Several snore; some mumble in their sleep. The animals are up and about. The birds are busy, finding seeds and nuts to eat. Two red squirrels chase each other up and down and around and around the trunk of a huge walnut tree. A cat appears. It is a white cat, a lean and mangy tom. It surveys the graveyard with cold eyes. It wanders away and disappears like an evil spirit. The squirrels begin their high jinks again. A robin has a worm located. It cocks a quick eye at the ground, then pounds the earth with its beak so hard that its feet lift off the ground. It's reward? A tasty worm.
Life goes on and it is good. Except for the worm. Other worms are luckier. They have found their own food supply. They are very happy.
Jack Swenson is a
I got the idea for my tale the same way I get all my ideas, by staring into the campfire. "