Author : Lesley Carhart
I want a divorce. I might say it, but as usual, the only sound is the crisp autumn leaves scattering across the gravestones. I glance over to Stephen across the frost-singed grass, and I know he’s thinking the same thing. On these cold days, we’ve both considered it, for over ninety years.
The point is academic. There’s no justice of the peace or pastor here to grant one. There’s really not anybody, save the odd relative setting prerequisite flowers, or groundskeeper raking the leaves. They don’t see us, of course. We’re dead and incorporeal. Arguing is no longer appealing, and Stephen is staring at the sky, caught up in a radio program about a distant war.
I believe the young necromancer meant well. She had other, foreign, names for her profession, but in our era, there was simply no other term for one who toyed with the dead. When she found us in the sanatorium, I was wracked with pain, and Stephen poetic and distraught. Her offer was too good to be true. She had been reading Shakespeare, she said – she hated the endings of tragedies, but tragedies were meaningless when death was no obstacle. She would resolve the cause of her distress, by making true love eternal, and we were the objects of her plan. Her idealism struck us both with such hope…
Of course we agreed. We had no concept of whom or what the creature in the guise of a pretty girl was, and she was promising us a certain eternity together. The consumption caused me such pain that rational thought stood no chance against our tragic love. Stephen, a failed actor, had a theatrical flair that made poisoning himself entirely natural.
She did not disappoint. I was laid to rest in black nothingness, but the next night I awoke in the graveyard, with Stephen beside me. The necromancer left with a prideful smile and airily tossed flowers. She had saved human love. We never saw her, or her kind, again.
Alas, despite her power over death and spirit, the mysterious woman did not understand what human love really meant. In truth, neither did we. The first few years were blissful. We haunted mourners and counted stars in the sky. Yet over time, we discovered things had changed since we left our bodies. We could not leave the graveyard. The necromancer told us we were anchored to that place to prevent us from soaring off with the spinning of the planets. That alone would not have dampened our spirits, except without bodies, love had left us as well.
They say the young do not know the difference between love and lust. We more than most know the bitter truth – love may transcend, but lust is tied to the humors of the body. As the years went by, we discovered that in truth we had little to discuss or want from one another. It became an arrangement of convenience. We watched the world change over decades. At some point, the ether became alive with music, in the form of radio broadcasts, which we could inexplicably interpret. For a time, we danced to Vivaldi and Sinatra.
The music has begun to stop, drowned out by senseless noise. They call it ‘digital’. Stephen still listens to the news broadcasts despite this, but I fear we’ll soon be left peeking at the groundskeeper’s puerile daytime television.
Dearest reader, if you are ever in love, cherish every moment. But if a strange woman someday offers you eternity with your lover, remember that she does not offer you eternal love.