It was warm. If I remembered nothing else, I would always remember the warm sun shining brightly on the graveyard. The trouble was, I couldn't feel it. I saw the sunlight on my skin. My instincts told me it was a hot day, but I was so cold.
I sighed and closed my eyes, resting against a worn gravestone. I didn't know whose grandparent or uncle I was sitting on. Surely they wouldn't mind, right? Surely I wouldn't be there long.
'They could use the company,' I told myself.
There was silence. Sweet, merciful silence wrapped itself around me and held tight; I was grateful. I couldn't get the sounds of someone crying out of my head, so the quietness of the graveyard was welcome. Even still, it was...odd. I was outside. There should've been birds, right? Wind, insects, squirrels? ...Something?
"Not here," a small voice stated.
I sat up and looked around, but I didn't see anyone. Behind me, Daniel Vassar's gravestone was watching.
'1990-2007,' I noticed. 'So it's someone's son.'
I leaned back and looked up at the sky. There still wasn't a cloud in sight. It was high noon on a summer day, so why could I not feel the warmth? I rubbed my hands over my arms, but it didn't make a difference. I was still cold.
"I'm sorry," that voice said.
This time, I found the speaker. She was young, six years old at the most. She was cute--long blonde hair, blue eyes. But what I noticed most was her skin. She was...soaked. Her hair was dripping, her nightgown stuck to her skin, and even her raggedy stuffed dog was totally drowned. Lastly, though, I saw angry red welts on her wrists and ankles--rope burns.
"What happened to you?" I asked.
"I'm sorry, Daniel," she told me, "but you have to go. Go. She's waiting for you, so go."
"Daniel?" Wasn't that the name I'd just read? "Go? Where am I meant to go?"
She turned away, mumbling softly to herself, "I wish I had somewhere to go. Someone waiting for me... Home. I want to go home, mommy."
She was walking away from me. I reached out, but my body would not get up. "Wait!" I called out desperately.
"Mommy, why won't you come take me home?" she whispered. She evaporated into the air, leaving her last words to linger in the wind. "I can't breathe, mommy. Please, take me home..."
I was speechless. My hands found the moist soil above the grave; I flinched, the sounds of a crying girl coming back to my head.
'Who's waiting for me?' I wondered. 'Where is she? Where am I meant to go?'
The sun was still shining brightly even hours later, never surrendering to the night. The whole graveyard was forever daytime, forever warm, but I was still so cold.
Even now, it's so cold...