The pewter sky hung like a tapestry over the graveyard, dark clouds spilling across it. The clouds boomed and thundered like an angry beast, releasing torrents of water that drenched the gray headstones below. Lightning sliced through the air like a sword, illuminating the world for a second with its violet light.
Libby liked the rain. The way it left her honey hair wet and clingy, the way the droplets slid down her cheeks like cool tears. She knelt down next to her favorite grave in the furthest corner of the cemetery.
Most of her neighbors grew up in fear of the cemetery across the street, but Libby loved it. Each weekend she would place flowers on her favorite graves, and she loved calculating the ages of the people on the headstones.
Libby peered at the grave in front of her. The cool stone of the memorial was cracked and crumbling, with moss climbing up it, filling in the crevasses. A smiling angel stood atop the base of the grave, holding a harp in its chubby hands. The angel’s face had been worn away by decades in the rain, giving the grave an eerie look. Engraved in the podium was the name of the girl who rested there.
Here lies Ada Lee Clemmons
Beloved daughter, sister.
May her soul rest in peace.
“Pretty, isn’t it?” a sweet voice said from behind Libby. Startled, Libby turned quickly to see a girl standing behind her. The girl looked about Libby’s age, with tawny skin and soft coils of chestnut hair. Her cheeks held a slight rosy blush, probably a result of the cold of the rain. But what struck Libby as particularly striking were the girl’s eyes. They blazed blue against her darker skin, as if holding a cold fire inside them.
The girl took a step closer to Libby.
“It’s sad isn’t it?” She asked. “She was so young. Only eleven, only as old as I am now.” The girl turned to look at Libby, as if noticing her for the first time.
“You come here a lot,” she said. It was not phrased as a question, but simply as a statement.
“Y-yes.” Libby stammered. Something about the girl made her uncomfortable. It seemed as if the air grew cooler simply having her around. “How did you know?”
The girl shrugged.
“I don’t see why that matters.”
She knelt down next to the grave, and patted the ground beside her as if inviting Libby to join her. Libby reluctantly obliged.
“Someone should clean the headstone,” she said sadly. “But there is no one around to do it. It happened so long ago, there is no one left who remembers the name Ada Lee Clemmons.”
“How do you know so much about her?” Libby asked, feeling her fear of the girl begin to be replaced by sympathy of sorts. The words that the girl spoke seemed so heavy, and as if they affected her directly.
The girl cocked her head at Libby
“I just simply know what the grave tells. Anyone could figure it out.”
The girl reached out and traced the lettering on the grave with her finger.
“It’s lonely I bet,” she said suddenly. “Can you imagine being forgotten? Alone?”
Libby shook her head. She couldn’t envision it.
The girl sighed and drew back from the grave. She stood. Libby rose with her.
“I have to go,” she said. “But before I do, what is your name?”
Libby thought about lying, but the girl’s eyes seemed safe and friendly as she looked her.
“Libby,” she said. “Yours?”
“Ada,” the girl smiled. Libby felt her eyes widen. She turned to face the headstone and its engraved letters. Ada.
“Are you…?” Libby stammered, the words catching on her tongue. Ada smiled.
“Thank you,” she said. “For visiting me. It’s not quite so lonely when you’re around.”
With that, Ada faded away.