Frequent trips to her parents home made Nancy’s heart ache more. She longed for her husband and her daughter and she ached for her neighbors. She had become familiar with them over the year and their families who walked among the living. Her neighbors were all once great people. Margaret, who was a mother of 8, but still managed to work, cook, and maintain a beautiful house. Three doors down there was Joe and his wife Helen who had met, married, and died during the war. They all lived peaceful lives in the bodies of their glory days, not an ache or pain to be found. Nancy was the same, she looked as she had at 25 and felt as limber as she was then. But for some reason the pains of the heart could not be fixed quite the same way.
Her thoughts continued to wonder as they often did those days. Rain started to fall outside the house and Nancy strolled over to the window to watch with a fresh cup of coffee. The drops were steady and they filled in the cracks between the stones with little rivers. She shivered with pleasure and took a sip of her steaming coffee. The warmth of the cup and the crisp rainy-air were an intoxicating combination.
The new flowers that had landed on the vacant house next door basked in the rainfall as they did in the sun, drinking in its life. The rain picked up speed and the sky grew darker. There was quick strike outside the house next door, followed by a loud burst of thunder. In the wake of the lightning, a girl appeared. Nancy tensed, was she hurt? But the girl was smiling. Nancy’s shoulders relaxed and she leaned on the sill, watching the girl. She was young, no more than 8 or 9, wearing a little yellow dress ordained with a big blue satin bow tied around the back of her waist. Her big blue eyes stared into the sky and widened as she noticed the rain was falling but she wasn’t wet. Her blond curls still bounced with vigor as she jumped in the puddles in front of her new home, one she would live in alone for a while. Nancy frowned at the sight, the girl was so young, she couldn’t imagine what had happened. She made a mental note to go visit the child the next day.
Nancy moved from the window to look at the calendar, it was October 31st, the same date circled in red and if it wasn’t raining at that moment, there would have been a nice sunset over the mountains.
She felt the familiar sense she had grown accustomed to over the year. It was like goosebumps, but pleasant and always welcome. She had a visitor upstairs, come to say hello. Her fears of taking the leap to find no one waiting were qualmed. Nancy slowly pushed on the door and it gave in, revealing a staircase. She walked up the stairs and up to a large window, big enough for her to fit through. The stairs continued beyond it to an unclear destination. Without a missed step, she walked right through.
Nancy pulled herself up and saw the grasses that covered the roof of her home and the same flowers. The only difference was the grass was becoming limp in places and the flowers withered.
The approaching night was dark and chilly, nothing like the home she had been growing accustomed to. However, there was a peace about it. It was quiet except for an owl whose call resonated throughout the open field that was bare of buildings, but marked with life – life that had ended. Rows of headstones mirrored the homes of her neighbors beneath the grass. She looked down by her feet to see her own. Her eyes watered and danced with her own ghosts of a life that ended earlier than she would have chosen. Next to her headstone was a new one, not yet marked with a name, but marked with an abundance of flowers and freshly turned soil. Her eyes moved to fix on a familiar image approaching and it brought her back to the present.
A beautiful young woman looking slightly younger than Nancy was walking up the grassy hill towards her headstone. The ends of Nancy’s lips curved up in a solemn smile. The young woman was her daughter. Though many people did not come to a cemetery with pure intentions of visiting loved ones on Halloween, her daughter did.