The prompt for Susanna Hill’s 2021 Valentiny contest asked for a story about someone being brave. Mine ended up being . . . a little creepier than your average Valentine’s Day story!
“Love is Stronger“
“Not scared, are you?” my cousin Dylan asks.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of,” I say. I still shudder as we pass through the gates.
Inside, trees cast shadows that startle me, but I try to be brave.
Our feet break the crust of the February snow. We seek cover behind a hedge.
“He’ll see the footprints!” I whisper.
“Too late now!” says Dylan. We scurry from the hedge to hide behind a mausoleum.
“It’s cold,” I grumble. And creepy.
“Shh!” Dylan whispers. “Not so loud.” Silently, we wait. And shiver.
I’m glad the sun is high in the sky. If this place gives me chills now, what would it be like at night?
Dylan gasps. “There he is!” We watch as an elderly man trudges through the gates, his snowboots sinking deep with every step.
Snow covers the names on the graves, but he doesn’t need the name to find the right spot. He lays down his bouquet. “Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetheart.”
Then he turns his head, as if he hears something. We duck down. But it’s too late. He clomps toward us.
“Come home, kids,” he says, “and get some hot cocoa.”
“Grandpa, why do you still give Grandma flowers, even though she’s dead?” I ask.
“Because love is stronger than death.”