THE BEAUTY OF THE GRAVE
She slammed the door behind and rush towards the darkness. It was already midnight and most ordinary people would be afraid to go out in such a late hour. The girl has been living in Raven Cries for more than a year but the fact how silly and superstitious its population was still amazed her. Even the adults and reasonable people believed in all the crap legends that were told around. So, it would be real wonder if you see someone crossing the streets in that time. Demon Gabriel had been assured in this because since one April night she turned into the local queen of darkness. For God's sake, that was ridiculous! Well, she wasn't one of the people down to earth but there was a piece of sense in the "dungeon of madness" that was supposed to be her brain. She wasn't afraid of ghosts, vampires, wood-nymphs and serial killers with hooks. "That's one of the advantages being an outcast and hell creature." Demon was thinking with irony. "You are rarely scared of something even if it means your death."
Another thing that couldn't make the young "witch" tremble. She didn't care at what age was going to die because she felt totally sure the life in that damned world couldn't be the only existence. Nothing was capable to shatter her conviction about that problem. And this was the only thing that bothered her mind: the indifference.
Demon remembered the time she was living in Diamond Creek with her parents. When she was about twelve one neighbor died of heart attack. The woman wasn't very sociable but her ending was real evidence. Mrs. Johnson had always been breathing health. The girl remembered very clearly the energetic figure wandering the beautiful garden in front of her house even if there was nothing to do. But one day while the enthusiastic work lover had been picking up some roses one cold body had slipped over her hand. After a moment the happy sweet old lady's smile got freeze of horror and she screamed as loud as she could. The last sound in her whole life. If Mrs. Johnson had died inside her house probably she would be found when the fragrance of her dead body started perfuming the air of their nice street!
That was a real affair! Most fans of criminal novels were creating unbelievable stories. The main question was about the snake and if the whole things was a murder or an accident. The gossips were such a variety: one claimed that this must have been a revenge of her daughter because Mrs. Johnson had chased her away sixteen years ago. The girl had been pregnant and abandoned and had no one to turn to. The story was turning into mix of circus and soap opera. Demon couldn't care less about the truth. All this gossiping didn't attract her. Something more, she didn't like the woman at all so she sighed of relief when it finished and the people from the town turned back to their stupid normal life. Other thoughts were crossing her mind.
When the young girl heard the unpleasant news the feeling that pierced her stomach was anything but grief or sadness. It was pure shock in its very natural form. The changes always make you feel like this, it takes some time until you realize what had happened and it's hard for the mind to accept it. But this emotion is transient and passes as quick as the summer rain, it gives up its place of stronger feelings. Well, Demon couldn't do much to feel at least sorry for Mrs. Johnson. Moreover, she even envied of her! "That happy bitch! Now she can see what is happening after you leave this "wonderful" world!" She was so mad that wasn't able to understand how absurd her thoughts were. After all how could someone be sure the outer world would be a nice view?
May be it was because there weren't many precious things in her life. Despite being so young she was typical gothic girl and already was cutting her veins. It felt so good just to watch the blood slipping her pale skin and then to taste it. Most people would wonder what parents she had for being such a dark person at such a tender age. The problem wasn't in someone else. Demon had never tried to blame the others for her crazy mind. Just the world wasn't making sense to her. She had always been different and was asking questions that couldn't be answered even by the adults. All this uncertainty was driving her mad. Sometimes she was spending all nights thinking of it but never could understand the surrounding environment of the enormous jungle.
Demon sighed and started walking slower. Soon she would ride her metal horse to the lands of death, the most beautiful place in the whole universe. The anger was still burning like a flame. It was never easy to tame it, especially if Clay was the reason. She just couldn't keep her temper when he pretended being father. Sometimes the girl wondered how could be his daughter, for that was one of the greatest mysteries of nature. He was hypocrite, conservative, severe and so narrow-minded. Usually Demon was looking cold and didn't pay attention to the others' blemishes. If one of her classmates was trying to annoy her she would just at stare at the poor victim with her emotionless eyes of psycho killer. No one suspected how furious "the freak" was. The only person that was able to put Demon beside herself was Clay Gabriel, the damned saint!
May be it was because she still couldn't get over what this man had done to Kreusa. Her heart trembled with the thought of her mother. The girl was missing her so dearly that the only mention of it lighted fire in the petrol fields of her soul. It was so unfair! She was just different and no one had the right to send her in a fucking clinic! And her diehard husband was the last person to do that! Demon hadn't seen the woman since she was fourteen. Two years ago. That bastard didn't even let them talk on the phone. He was acting as if Kreusa had never existed, as if she wasn't his wife anymore and even her name was considered as a dirty word. Every time the girl was trying to ask him about how long she was going to stay there, Clay was replying simply.
"You know that I do that for her best, Annabelle! Don't worry, she is all right."
Annabelle. Another point of her life she hated so much. Only he was calling her with her given name. She had always introduced herself as Demon no matter that the people looked quite confused. That was the name Mum had named her with and she didn't want to give up. Annabelle sounded like a sweet, shy girl who dreams of becoming good wife and house keeper. Demon was nothing like this.
The girl caressed her faithful motorcycle like a lover. Since Kreusa has been gone that machine was her only friend, the only living being (most kids at school would call her "crazy" if they knew how she called him, but they already had labeled her like this, so…) that could listen to her long enough and to comfort her. And it could drive her to the magical places. She started the engine and flashed like a lighting by the quiet night.
For that walking she had choose her new black leather jacket and tight T-shirt of The 69 eyes. There was a medallion with the shape of dragon wings around her neck. It was her favorite one, the only memory of Kreusa. The Clay bastard had hidden all things that belonged to her mother. Thanks God, he didn't know about the amulet that she had given to her daughter eleven years ago.
Demon was quiet tall for her sixteen years but she didn't mind. The girl had a slim, almost bony body that was even more obvious under the tight black trousers and tops. Her long wavy brown hair was always down and uncombed, but looked charming in its own way. Her face… well, despite its beautiful and a bit aristocratic features, it wasn't a face you would like to stare at for a long time. It was emanating coldness in its pure form. Mostly it was expressed in her emphasized black eyes. They were telling all despise she felt for the world and were revealing tiny part of her cynical, unbreakable soul. But all this arrogance had nothing to do with her so difficult past and fear to be hurt again, as it was explained for most girls like her. She didn't care about the pain. Living as an outcast was her own choice she had made when she face up to the world and decided it didn't worth. The only person she had ever cared was misunderstood and taken away, everyone around her behaved like they were the best, the different ones were despised, it was all ruled by some sort of false hypocrite morality. Demon didn't want to change it just because it had been impossible. The people could never change. It had always been like this and it would be like this until the rest of time. All she could do about this was to withdraw and let the others live their miserable fucking normal life. And she was quite good in this.
Sometimes Demon wanted to have close friends, but none of the morons at school seemed like they would understand her. They all would be disgusted if she opened up to them or would be simply bored. "Wow, can you imagine me talking to Sharon Howard for the meaning and truth of life?"
Only Kreusa could. Only she… and she was away. Demon had decided that one day she would escape and find her. May be this time was coming closer. A plan was shaping in her brain, but it was still too uneasy.
Finally the girl reached the sacred place. Raven Cries was quite shitty town but it had two great points. Its exotic name and its graveyard. That was one of the most beautiful graveyards she had ever seen. And she had seen plenty of them. Demon had often been travelling in the night towards different towns, but all she wanted to check in them were their cemeteries. They were her great obsession.
She climbed the marble stairs that were leading to the graveyard. Her fingers slide the nice, smooth surface of the beautiful stone. After her first visits here the girl grew interested in its history. It was easy to get an information in a town where everything was known, even this mysterious and sinister area. Demon felt totally rocked of the discovery. The place had existed for more than one hundred years. It looked brand new, clear and well kept. As if the time hadn't affected the garden of eternal peace and harmony. But what was more surprising the tombstones and everything weren't damage, scratched and covered with graphite. That was common view in a lot of places. May be the specific atmosphere was pushing away the intruders. There were rumors about an old woman living nearby in a cabin. She had always been taking care of it. Dan Carol who was getting on eighty years old claimed that he had seen the enigmatic Miradora at the age of eight. Demon didn't believe in this (there were very few things she truly believed in), but was glad that the superstitious population of Raven Cries were avoiding it. In other way all the magic would be gone. However sometimes she felt someone else' s presence. But it was evasive. Even if there had been a person or whatever obviously it didn't want to be bothered by strangers. Weird… Most people felt scared by the thought someone is watching them. She didn't care about it as long as the observer wasn't disturbing her. Demon had nothing to hide. Perhaps these who are nervous about it suffer of pang of conscious.
The wind blew heir hair and scattered the unpleasant thoughts out of her mind. She smiled when it touched her face softly and welcomed her in the sweet, sacred world of Death. The fury was slowly fading away and soon the quarrel would be just the next bad memory. The girl looked up at the sky. The night was colored in clear dark blue and enlightened by star shining. The full moon and its smile warmed her heart as its glamour was caressing the tops of the graves. She was totally in love with the full moon and never could sleep in that time.
Demon finally reached the downright graveyard. It was really magical to lose yourself in the endless, neat perfect rows. They were forming a small labyrinth the gravestones were cleared of weeds. There weren't any traces of grass on them and it seemed like someone really was caring for everything. The marble was shining under the natural lights of the sky, none of the names of dead people or the years of their birth and dying day hadn't faded away.
The area was surrounded by thick, deep forest that made it look like a secret garden of hidden society. The most beautiful and her favorite part was one little alcove in the northern side that was revealing view to the whole cemetery. Resting there and staring at it was an experience equal to the meditation. It was calming down all creatures twisting in her mind, the same ones that were sharing her name.
This night she had decided to sit there for a while and then to wander around. If she knew how different her staying was going to be…
Demon walked on the path covered with stones. The shelter was little but very cozy and comfortable, in emphasized black color. There was only one bench inside. The girl almost reached it and got thrilled. Someone had already entered there.
A boy about her age was standing in and was gazing at the direction she was coming from. That really surprised her and if she had to be honest, it scared her. Demon was visiting the place since the day of her arrival in Raven Cries. And never, not even once someone had come apart from her. It was unbelievable that someone of the morons downtown would suddenly decide to get over the ridiculous superstitions for ghosts and vampires. They were all losers good only in advertising themselves, but they would die of horror if they had to come around in the middle of the night. May be this one in the alcove was new and tomorrow would be introduced to everyone. "He might be my kind of person" But what if he was dangerous? Sixteen years old serial killer of grave lovers?
"You can't win if you don't take a risk!" Demon murmured under her breath. Kreusa had always said that. So… the curiosity and her natural bravery appeared to be stronger than her little fear and she entered the alcove.
In the minute their eyes crossed the girl felt sharp piercing around her neck. Like someone had put a knife around it. Her brain stopped functioning and she just forgot how to move. Actually in that moment the statement she could do something more than staring at the stranger was as doubtful as the existence of aliens. What was going on with her? "Damn! May be it wasn't good idea to come."
One thing was sure. He wasn't an ordinary boy, he didn't even look as a boy as Demon considered when she got the chance to see him closely. There was something more in his eyes. Not glitter or mysteriousness. Perhaps the exact word was wisdom. Like he has seen more than the people were thinking and had kept more knowledge than it was supposed for someone as young as him. And that sadness deep inside. Sadness of betrayal. Probably she had the same in her look in the day she understood about her mother.
He was tall, may be one or two inches taller than her. His ghostly pale skin and strange black clothes were emphasizing the feeling of shine he was emanating. Nice, sweet and comforting light, like from the moon. Not sharp and painful like the sunshine. His long black hair was falling down his shoulder and contrasted the rest of him. But the crystal blue eyes were real killers. They were shadowing everything else. Demon had never seen such an intense color. Mix of azure sky in sunny day, dark ocean depths and feverish stormy night. She couldn't take her eyes away from these windows of unknown universes. How long have they stayed like this, lost into each other's look? The girl didn't know but in the next moment he broke the spell and started speaking. His voice was strange, it sounded distant, like it was coming from a grave.
"Hello! It's such a nice night, isn't it?"
Those simple words made Demon shiver but she did her best to hide it. Suddenly something inside of her released and she felt free to talk. The mysterious smile on his lips didn't embarrass her at all.
"Well, that's true. You know how it is on full moon. The night is too beautiful to sleep. I…" She stammered insecure how to go on. "I am very surprised to see that someone else loves walking here in that time. Everyone thinks that it is haunted by ghosts." Demon laughed nervously.
"You can always learn something you haven't noticed before. There are so many directions, so many secrets in this world. Some people had spent all their life watching it. But even then, it remains an enigma. And that's for good. If we find out all secrets in the universe it will lose all the magic. It would be pity."
She almost blinked at that statement. No, he definitely wasn't Raven Cries' citizen. This place had the function to exhaust all brain cells and ideas. Or at least the boy hadn't stayed here long enough to be corrupted by the common illness here. After all she herself had spent more than a year in the hell cracker.
Or he was someone who secretly had a crush on her and wanted to impress her by stealing some philosophy. Oh, that was ridiculous supposition. Who would take the great effort to READ just to impress one girl whoever she was? Especially Demon Gabriel the Goth, the Witch, the Satan worshiper, the one who was able to scare everyone. No way!
But even if it was true, he had achieved it. She was impressed, quite impressed.
"I guess you are right. The world is extremely boring place right now. Can you imagine what it would be then." She smiled and pressed her fingertips to her curls. "But anyway, I'm glad I'm not the only one who loves being at the graveyard underneath the moonlight. Not that I want crowds here… just… it's nice to talk with someone."
"Especially if he seems to be smarter than average." She thought a bit embarrassed. "Do I behave like a fool?"
"I know what you mean." He sighed and the sadness in his eyes grew. That pierced part of her, which was supposed to be dead. "Sometimes even the greatest beauty can not fulfill the feeling of loss and emptiness."
"So…" She was a little uncomfortable about this situation and wanted to melt the little amounts of ice between them. "After we have a common hobby we can find other common features. I have nothing better to do. Wandering the tombstones is not as exciting activity as it sounds.
The smile appeared again and his face enlightened a bit. The girl felt some relief.
"If you want to…" The stranger said insecurely.
"Hey, when I say I want something that's what I mean." She stepped towards him. "Let's start with the names. I am Demon Gabriel, nice to meet you.
"Carl Saint Devil" Demon grinned. Even their names seemed familiar.
"Let's sit down? Standing up in the middle of an alcove is not my favorite way of speaking."
"Oh, it's ok. Make yourself at home."
"Hey, that sounded so dry, I didn't think you are keen on throwing cliches." She straightened to the bench. Her mood wasn't as dark as it was when she ran away from home. The both settled down without looking away from each other's eyes.
"May I ask you something?" Carl said suddenly. "You didn't seem very shocked when I mentioned my family name and…
"Oh, yes, I already know the rest of the question. Actually, I'm a bit offended. Did you really consider me as an ordinary person who cares about stupid details like names? When I don't like someone even the coolest name can't change it. And I suppose I didn't make a comment because you didn't laugh at mine. I have no prejudices, Carl." Her throat shivered strangely when she pronounced the simple word of four letters. Demon was grateful that the veil of darkness hid her blush. "You've got a beautiful name."
He sighed and leaned against the bench trying to figure out what was going to say. He avoided her look for a moment but then started speaking smoothly.
"Listen, I didn't mean to insult you. But I just wanted to be sure. I don't know you so well. Most people are against prejudices as long as they themselves are concerned. They don't mean anything with the words: "I don't care about your differences." It's just a pose.
She bit nervously her lips and played with her hair. Then the girl directed her eyes at him and uttered sincerely.
"I'm not one of them."
"I am already sure about this." Carl smiled.
That was followed by an unpleasant silence. Demon was twiddling her dragon wings wondering what to say. The talking had left an uneasy sensation in the air. She didn't want to screw up the things and waited for him to go on. He did it a second after she felt the first bits of despair.
"You've got a beautiful name too."
"Thanks." Oh, no, that boy didn't affect her well. The girl hadn't been smiling for months and tonight she did it more than twice. "Very few people think so." She turned to him by leaning on her elbow.
"That's because they can't appreciate it. They got used to such ordinary names. The different things are beautiful. I mean, how many girls called Demon do you know?"
"I… I have never thought about it. I guess I like it so much because my mother gave it to me." Her ebony eyes saddened a bit but she fast added. "Well, we discussed that enough, did we?"
For few minutes Demon was feeling his intense gaze. Carl was just sitting in front of her, staring like he was observing a major art. "I'm crazy. I can't allow anyone make me object of his ideas. May be he is just experimenting with my psyche and is trying to break me down." But she wouldn't mind if this happened. He didn't seem like a fucked up person but he could hide his real face. After all, so many people were wearing masks… But… it didn't matter for her. She just needed to trust him. That's why the girl hated herself in that minute.
"Demon?" his whispering voice interrupted her confused thoughts. "Would you mind if I ask you something else? Why are you here? I mean, what leads you in that pace?"
She glanced at him puzzled. The nervousness caught her breath while the girl was thinking over her answer. Demon smiled and said bitterly.
"Well, isn't it obvious? The peace and quite, the beauty of the night and the dead people. It's just perfect! Who doesn't love cemeteries?
The weak sparkles in his eyes wandered around the pupils like astray comets. Her words were so empty and broad that the lie was obvious as pain in a fresh wound. Strange… Usually, she was a better liar.
"That's only one side of the things. But I think that one stronger emotion makes you do that. Something that stops you from thinking and wraps your mind in mist. Is it anger?"
Demon started laughing like a lunatic. She folded herself and put hands around her face. Why did she suddenly find the whole situation so… hilarious? "May be he is psychiatrist under cover? Sent by Clay…" The lass couldn't stop giggling for several minutes but Carl didn't change the expression on his face. Finally she calmed down and dropped her arms.
"You are damned right, my friend. Yes, this is the perfect place where I can set free the little pals from my head without fearing I would hurt someone. The only creatures around are buried deep down and I doubt they would care. If there wasn't a graveyard probably by now the local high school would have turned into butchery."
"But who are they? Who are the people that make you like this?"
"I wonder who doesn't. The teachers, my classmates, my father…"
"So, these are people that really matter something for you?" Carl asked the question with impermeable expression.
"No, of course not! I don't give a damn about the opinion of all the morons at school. They don't deserve even to talk about them. Especially the teachers who are nothing more than a bunch of gossips. As everyone else in that hole. Actually, there is only one person in the world I care about. This is my mother. But that bastard Clay, my father, sent her to asylum. I'll never forgive him about this."
"Then why are you getting mad because of them? If in your opinion they are that pitiful, they don't worth being angry with them. You are just ruining your nerves. There'll be even nastier people in your life. You'll end up with heart attack if you get furious every time you have a quarrel. At least be like this just for people who worth it."
"But I can't. I know I shouldn't pay them attention but it just doesn't work. My anger is too strong."
"Do you think that it's that easy? You'll need a lot of time to learn how to keep your temper. It needs years, patience and concentration. You just have to decide when to start. At the beginning it will be difficult but it is worth."
Demon passed her fingers through her hair and thought over his words. They sounded like utopia. She, the queen of anger, to calm down? May be someone else was able to do that, but… it sounded just ridiculous. But perhaps one day if the world stopped spinning and the hell got freeze, it would happen too. But the girl decided not to tell Carl. He seemed completely sure and her words wouldn't be strong enough to change his mind.
"Even though, the place is great." The girl quickly changed the topic and looked at the distance in daydreaming way. "I could spend even thousands of years here."
His laughter grew dry and sarcastic.
"Are you sure you won't get bored?"
"I wouldn't stay like this for too long. Even the greatest beauty loses the magic when you stare at it every day. It would be unbearable."
"Why are you always talking as if you are the most ancient person in the world and you have seen everything." Playful flames flashed in her eyes. He just sighed sadly. "Are you new in the town by the way?"
"Oh, not at all, I've been living here for sixteen years."
"What?" That was the last thing she expected. "Then why you don't go to school? And why I have never seen you before?
"That's because I'm having quite private life. My father doesn't want me to study at school. I've got a private teacher. He and I are living in a house near the graveyard."
"You haven't lost a lot. As I told you, the high school sucks. But I for sure would go crazy if the only person around was Clay. Well, on the other hand, not all fathers are like him."
"Quite true. There are much worse cases."
She caught again that glimpse of betrayal in his eyes. May be that had something to do with his parent? Another common feature.
"Do you know it because of bad experience?"
Carl bit his upper lip and shook his head. Demon understood she had touched a tender spot.
"I…" for first time his voice was full of insecurity. "I prefer not to talk about it."
"It's all right." And she changed the topic again. Soon they were talking like old friends. Demon didn't realize how two hours have passed. When she looked at her watch she cursed.
"Damn! It's already five o'clock! I have to go if I don't want to be late for school. I'm sorry, Carl." She got up and straightened forward. Then the girl turned back and asked quickly.
"Hey, where can I find you?"
"I'm always here in the night. Well, see you tomorrow. And Demon… take it easy!"
"I'll try. Have a nice day, Carl!" She laughed and went away from the alcove. If this night she had decided to walk around the graves, she would probably notice the gorgeous tombstone where with golden letters were written the following words.
CARL SAINT DEVIL (1910-1926)