heartbeat / 3

Standing in this graveyard, you could almost believe that the planet isn’t turning at all. The sky, strangely pink, is the only thing alive as I sit on a headstone and listen for anything—a heartbeat, a footstep, a gasping breath. Do they bury them alive?

“What do you think you’re doing, kid?”

I jump violently, my notebook slipping from my lap into the wet grass. An old man in a huge coat is striding towards me, his ancient, wrinkled face contorted with anger. “Disrespectful,” he barks, grabbing my shoulder and yanking me away from the headstone. “How did you get in here?”

“I….” My throat burns. “Why do you bury them?”

The painful grip on my arm tightens, but I can’t stop myself from continuing. “Who decides that they’re ready to go?”

His eyes darken. “You have five minutes to be gone or I’m calling the cops.”

I jerk out of his grasp, grab my notebook, and run without looking back.

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