The graveyard, as it always did, had many problems. One of the problems was the gate that kept out the riff-raff who thought they could spend their time smoking and drinking. Now, as much as I used the graveyard as my own hangout spot, it was also my job to tend to the graves.
I watched over every headstone; cleaned the dirt off them, cut the grass and removed any weeds I spotted. In short, I was a morbid landscaper, but everyone needs to do something to pay the bills at the end of the month. You might think the job boring and even creepy, but in truth, last week was the most exciting week of my life.
Someone died and to be more specific, they died in my graveyard when I walked up to them. Let me start at the beginning; I left the gates open between seven and three for visitors to leave flowers on their loved ones grave. I believe this old woman was one of them when I saw her, so I gave her space and stayed in my small guard house.
I propped my feet up and began doing the morning crossword. Half-way through and an hour had passed of me chewing on my pen and scratching my head. I then leaned out of the guard house and saw the old woman there, staring at a dark headstone. I tried to recall what was etched into it, but unlike the other tombstones I felt my mind go blank on thinking about it.
Still, I left her be, but two more hours passed and it was nearing closing time so I decided to check on her. Now, I’m not heartless, I can understand people wanting to spend more time by the grave of their lost loved one, but I needed to make sure she was alright all the same. If she wish to stay I would have waiting in the guard house till she left for home.
However, when I walked up to her I saw she was as stiff as a board.
“Ma’am, are you alright?” I asked her to which she replied with falling forward, her head hitting the gravestone.
I jumped back in shock, but quickly rushed forward to pick her up and check on her. She remained still and there was blood trickling from her nose and cheek. It was a heavy hit to the hid and the fact I couldn’t find a pulse made the matter worse.
I remember the last graveyard keeper talking about a similar experience, someone had passed out in the graveyard when visiting. He called emergency services and they sorted everything out from there. In my case, I called the the hospital and the cops too. Once I made the calls I needed to I forced myself to lean out of the guard house and look towards the body.
To my shock I saw her standing there still, swaying a little as if she were dizzy. Still, she hung around the grave, but more than that, I ran over to see if she was okay. I couldn’t believe my eyes, I thought she didn’t have a pulse, but in that moment I assumed I must not have checked properly.
I was about to put my arm around her and guide her towards the guard house and out of the sun. However, she turned to me first and I stopped. Everything in my body told me not to get any closer. Her damaged face enforced that feeling.
Blood and dirt remained, but more than that, her eyes were rolling back into her head and mouth hanging open. I stared at her in shock and she began to clutch her head. A scream followed, one that terrified me to my core and I began walking backwards. My foot crunched on some stray twig and the screaming stopped, her head turning to me.
“Hello? Is anyone there?” she asked in this strangely innocent voice. “Hello? Can someone help me? I need help.”
The old woman kept calling for aid, looking in all directions around her. It was then that the ambulance arrived followed by the police. I heard their cars and I quickly made my way back to the gate and towards the cops.
“S-s-she is still alive,” I told one. “But she isn’t..isn’t...isn’t right, man!”
While the police tried to get answers from me she had made it to the graveyard gate. Everyone fell silent now as they stared at the old woman.
“I can hear you,” the old woman told everybody. “I can hear you all...why won’t you help me...come help me…”
As if she figured out why she couldn’t see, the eyes rolled forward, centering on me.
“Oh, there you are.”
In a terrifying display of speed the old woman ran towards me only to be stopped by police and doctors alike. The doctors sedated her, the cops restrained her and after some level of discussion between the two emergency services they decided to take her to a mental clinic, placing her inside the ambulance.
The police and paramedics seemed strangely calm, as if they dealt with lunatics like this before. Of course, they probably did, but to me, she was something intensely different. How could someone as messed up as that exist?
Once the matter was resolved and the ambulance had left I gave the cops a statement and thanked them once more. I returned to the graveyard and was about to close up and head home when curiosity got the better of me.
I walked over to the grave and read the name on the stone. Age and withered away the date of death and the last name, but what remained was “Daisy” and “1938 - “.
With that I named the old woman Daisy and I muttered to myself the express desire not to see her ever again. The gate was locked and home beckoned. While I walked away I heard the smacks of feet on the ground, the same sound that Daisy had made when she ran towards me. Spinning on the spot, I saw I was all alone, but now my peace of mind was lost.
I needed a drink, so I made a necessary detour on the way home. Even after a week now I still feel a little creeped out and worried that I will turn around one day and see her running towards me.