the girl that looked at tombstones (a Broken World story)
In fairness, the implications of what she realized was happening were so monumental and overwhelming that the human brain simply couldn’t process them all. Just the fact that circumstances had allowed her to catch on to what was happening defied astronomical odds.
And yet here she was, trying to figure out a way to find out where she lived. Not where she had lived minutes before. Not the house she’d left less than an hour before.
Where she lived now.
It had started with her in a graveyard a few weeks back. She’d always enjoyed walking among tombstones and reading them. Walking up and down the rows and squinting to see weather-worn inscriptions. Whenever she visited a new town or went on vacation she’d often times end up at a new cemetery.
The old ones were always her favorite.
What’s she’d never done until recently was visit the same graveyard twice. That came about as a result of two headstones that had captured her attention and then her imagination. Side by side, it was a husband and wife; Johnny (born 1913 died 1986) and Michelle (born 1916 died 1992) Shivell. On Johnny’s headstone was a poem that she’d never seen before. It was an ode to his wife Michelle, so touching that the girl returned the next day with pen and paper to copy it down.
But when she approached the two headstones they were different. They read Johnny (born 1913 died 1983) and Michelle (born 1916 died 1979). There was no poem on Johnny’s gravestone. His wife Michelle had died four years before him.
Her head swam. How could she have gotten it wrong? Where was the poem?
She sat on the grass and wrestled with possible explanations. Could it have been heat stroke? A regular stroke? Or a dream?
She went home but was so troubled by the situation that she returned to the headstones the very next day. Johnny (born 1913 died 1979) and Michelle (born 1916 died 1989). Hesitantly she looked over to the headstone next to them. She’d made a note of it the previous day… just to be sure she wasn’t going crazy. The control tombstone. It had read Gary Bahr (born 1928 died 2001). Now it read Gary Bahr (born 1928 died 2002). A small difference but different just the same.
Remember the “the implications of what she realized was happening were so monumental and overwhelming that the human brain simply couldn’t process them all” part? Those implications hit her and, as advertised, her brain couldn’t process them.
She fell back on the grass. Michelle had had to live without Johnny for seven more years than the first time she’d seen the headstones. And what about the second visit? In that scenario Johnny had to live without Michelle for the last four years of his life.
Did that actually happen?
Had they really lived out those lives?
Was she responsible for it?
She remembered snippets of the poem that she’d read on his headstone the first time she’d visited and her heart broke for him. Well, the ‘him’ of the second visit. The long
As mentioned previously, the implications were overwhelming. So overwhelming that it was a full day until she stopped feeling overwhelmed and jumped right to making poor decisions.
Cindi Hammond. Born 1994. Died 2020.
Her best friend who’d been killed in an automobile accident. That was the headstone she stood in front of the following day and the one she went to find the next, only to discover it wasn’t there. In its place sat another headstone with a different name. Her eyes grew wide.
She practically ran to her car and then she violated at least a dozen rules of the road on her drive home, such was her enthusiasm to give her old friend a call. To hear her voice again. She was smiling and laughing as she burst through the front door and surprised to see the shocked faces of the strangers who were currently living there.
That explained why she hadn’t seen either of her parent’s cars out front.
So now she’s trying to figure out a way to find out where she lived. Not where she had lived minutes before. Not the house she’d left less than an hour before.
Where she lived now.
Where she lived here.