2231. Cemetery shortcut

There was someone, or something, watching me. I felt it. That night I shouldn’t have taken a shortcut through the cemetery. It was to change my life.

I had been working late at the law office. I was going to grab some junk food somewhere on the way home (I would go to work on foot and lived alone) but then I remembered some left-over soup in the fridge. Waste not, want not – as my granny used to say. It’s a motto I’ve lived by. So I was hungry and eager to get home. That is why I took the shortcut through the cemetery. I normally wouldn’t do that because to be honest I don’t like cemeteries, let alone at night.

I got goose bumps. The hairs on my arms and back of my neck stood up. I wanted to turn around and look. There was no sound, no footsteps. I was telling myself, “Don’t turn around! Don’t walk faster! Stay calm and quietly walk forward and you’ll soon be out of here.”

And then I heard it. A little sound. Very quiet. Very soft. “Help! Help!”

I stopped. It seemed to be coming from a tall gravestone monument – a pedestal with a marble angel on top. “Help! Help!”

My first thought was to wonder if this was a trap. But what if it wasn’t? What if the child was in genuine need? (I presumed it was a child because the voice was so small). I decided to investigate. It was a child indeed. A little girl. I asked her what was wrong, but she would answer nothing but “Help! Help!”

“Come with me,” I said, and she followed. We went home and I contacted the police. Over the next few weeks messages went out about the little girl. It drew a blank. No one knew a thing, and the little girl spoke but would never say her name or where she came from.

That was fifteen years ago. As the years went by I realized something: it wasn’t the little girl who was watching me. It was someone else.

Tonight we celebrate Sasha’s twenty-first birthday. We made up the age and date and name. I know that Sasha and her boyfriend Sam are going to announce their engagement. She has been the joy of my life.

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