A walk in the Graveyard

Posted: July 30, 2012 by kenkrebs in FEMA
Tags: , , , , ,

As I was walking through the grounds of the Cemetery, seeing the interactions of the various residents of this marble town put me in a pensive mood.  Seeing them all talk and laugh and have fun made me remember my home, my new home in the FEMA base, and how homesick I really was.

Walking back to the front gate, I passed a grand Mausoleum  and was reminded of a passage from a Lovecraft novel I found hidden in the FEMA Archives:

“The vault to which I refer is of ancient granite, weathered and discolored by the mists and dampness of generations. Excavated back into the hillside, the structure is visible only at the entrance. The door, a ponderous and forbidding slab of stone, hangs upon rusted iron hinges, and is fastened ajar in a queerly sinister way by means of heavy iron chains and padlocks, according to a gruesome fashion of half a century ago.”

This looming presence of the vault for the dead unnerved me.  How Nic and his friends could stand to live in a cemetery, surrounded by death and the dead, constantly being assaulted by the living dead.  “It must be maddening…”  I murmured.

“We’re all mad here, we just ignore it and try to have fun with it.  What’re you doing out here all by yourself?”  one of the tenants asked me

I looked at the individual addressing me, and smiled “Have you ever heard the saying about how no matter what you do, no matter how great a person you are, in the end, your life is nothing but a dash?” I asked  “I believe there was a poem written about it, if you’ll indulge me?”  I ask, motioning for her to walk with me

She nods and falls into step beside me

“This is, if I recall correctly, a poem by one Linda Ellis.”

“I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning..to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears, 1964-1994
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth..
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars..the house..the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile..
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash..
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?”

We walked on in silence for a few minutes before she spoke.

“It really puts life into perspective, when you think of it like that.  Make what you do matter, so those of you who knew you in life wont forget you upon your death.  Make your actions for today matter, because there may not be a tomorrow.”

“Sometimes you just have to enjoy the little things in life.”  I responded with a smile, and a sigh.  “My name is Night Angel, who might you be?”

“My name is Kadie, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.  May I walk with you a little longer?”

“Of course.  I may not be the best company, but I’m always looking to make new friends.”

“Now it’s my turn to tell you a poem.  One of my favorite poets was Robert Frost.  Sure he was a little before my time, but he had a way with words…”

“The living come with grassy tread
To read the gravestones on the hill;
The graveyard draws the living still,
But never anymore the dead.
The verses in it say and say:
“The ones who living come today
To read the stones and go away
Tomorrow dead will come to stay.”
So sure of death the marbles rhyme,
Yet can’t help marking all the time
How no one dead will seem to come.
What is it men are shrinking from?
It would be easy to be clever
And tell the stones: Men hate to die
And have stopped dying now forever.
I think they would believe the lie.”

“That last line, ‘Men hate to die, and have stopped dying now forever’ seems especially true now, now that the dead are walking.”

Looking at the gate ahead of us, I bid farewell to my new friend.  Continuing along my path walking along the perimeter wall, I turn on the CVC, attempting to make contact with home.  Sadly, the signal out here was weak, and I was unable to get a lock on the FEMA channel.

Finding an old tree to sit under, I take a seat and ponder for a while, watching the denizens of the cemetery go about their business, I was reminded of a busy ant hill, everyone doing their duty, all of them knowing what needed to be done.  Looking around, I noticed a lone figure moving slowly toward Kateland.  It was a Zombie.

“Midnight specters rise once more
Moonlight shadows upon the floor
Tombstone sentinels stand on guard
Wilted flowers out in the yard

Eerie sounds move through the trees
As gentle winds caress the leaves
A hooded owl calls to his mate
“We need to hunt its getting late”

No drunken vagrants spoil this night
Graveyard scene in bright moonlight
Tranquil scene, peace all around
Blood drips slowly to the ground

A funeral pyre is proudly built
The fire lit for the blood I spilt
Your undead body bound and tied
Tossed to the flames, in joy I cried”

So went the song by the great Slash from Guns ‘n’ Roses.  As I ran towards Kate, sword raised I yelled the final line of that song

“BURN IN HELL!”

Kate heard me approaching and turned around right as the zombie reached her, and was able to get out of the way as it lunged for her.  As the walker recovered, my sword made contact, at the same time Nic fired his shotgun into the beasts head.

“Are you alright Kate?”  we asked in unison.

“I’m fine, but we need to figure out how that thing got in here.”

“I’ll have Hook and Magnum patrol the walls, find the hole.” Nic replied.  Turning to me he said “Night, I think I’ve cracked that tablet, and I’ve got good news for you my friend.”

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