Shovel in hand, I make my way to the grave under the apple tree. Though I dragged the demons’ bodies myself, I try not to look at them, not to let myself think about what I’m doing. The demon managed to dig up a decent portion of dirt before I put it down, but I’m not sure if that makes it easier or harder for me to finish what it started.
In an effort to make this a mindless task, to make myself forget I’m digging up and robbing my cousin’s grave, I count every shovelful of dirt I move aside.
One. Two. Three…
My back hurts by the time I get to double digits, but I can’t stop. I’m careful as I get closer to the bottom, where I know Lexia’s body has no protection other than the blanket we wrapped her in. As soon as I catch a glimpse of her makeshift shroud, I abandon the shovel and slide into the grave. Gently, I push aside the remaining dirt, doing my best to ignore the smell and to only uncover what I need.
We placed her pendant in a fold against her chest. With shaking hands, I find the small lump and pull the fold away to reveal the small piece of jewelry. It’s almost identical to mine and Adwin’s, and if I didn’t know what it was, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. It doesn’t give off any energy, any special signal. But, for some reason, it had attracted those demons to the grave. It’s the only explanation.
So I pocket it and climb back out of the grave. I go through the motions, taking up my count once more as I cover Lexia’s body again. It shouldn’t be as peaceful out here as it is, when less than an hour ago we were fighting for our lives. This shouldn’t feel therapeutic to me.
I wonder if Lexia can see me. If she can somehow sense the disturbance of her grave.
Pushing the thought from my mind, I pat the earth as flat as I can make it once I’m done. When I turn back toward the house, the demons’ bodies catch my attention again. There’s no chance of them coming back – at least not to those bodies – but I can’t help but feel like I should do something about them. If not to prevent the demons’ return then to at least put their hosts to rest.
Hoping Adwin remains asleep, I get to work on a bonfire. I’ve never burned a body before, but I’m sure I can figure it out. There’s enough kindling to start a house fire, and I carefully choose a spot away from the trees and as far from the house as I’m willing to go. Once I finish the makeshift pyre, I set the bodies on it and retreat into the house for lighter fluid and a lighter.
Moments later, the wind carries away the smell of burning flesh.
You know, I did not go into this thinking I’d force Saxon to dig up a grave, but here we are.
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As always, think happy thoughts 🙂