What I wouldn’t give for a normal day. Scratch that. Today was normal for me. I want a typical day like an average person. For example, in gym class, Martha pulled a prank on Shelly, the queen of mean. It was a great prank, but I’m the one Coach Moore blamed. It cost me 5 laps. Clarence and Martha talked in history, correcting the book and the teacher. Their commentary made we laugh. I got detention. I was glad when I could finally leave school.

Walking home, the others turn down various streets, taking different paths to reach our destination. As always, Clarence and Martha are the last to leave me. They beg me to go a different route, but I smile and keep walking. I enter the east gate and breathe deep, allowing the solitude to wrap around me.

I slow my steps and enjoy the silence, taking the longest path possible. The older headstones and family mausoleums start on the hill and weave their way to my destination, the west gate. When I see my home through the fence, I know my solitude is at an end. The others smile and wave, pleased that I’ve returned to them. Clarence and Martha are the first to drop in step beside me. They always are.

My companions have always been with me. Clarence and Martha say they were at my birth. I believe them. Why would they lie? The total number of my entourage rises with each new arrival. Though they occasionally leave for short periods, none of them ever leave for good. I’ve asked where they go when they travel, but they don’t answer. Their eyes darken, and their lips press together.  I suspect they don’t know where they go or even that they go. One day, I will find the answers to my questions. Someone must know and can explain why they won’t follow me past the gates and into the cemetery.

Sometimes, after Mom and Dad are asleep, I sneak out of my room and sleep in the silence the cemetery affords me. No one else can hear the others. Well, just me and Grimm, our dog. The others wail and beg me not to go, but if I stay, they talk all night long. As far as I can tell, they never sleep. The wailing when I leave sends Grimm under the bed to hide. He’ll never be the poster dog for Doberman as man’s protector.

The others hate when I’m not near them. That’s something else I don’t understand. What makes me the sun they rotate around? I asked Mrs. Johnson, the history teacher, about the others, but she thought I was playing a Halloween prank and threatened me with detention. I asked Father Allen during confession. I won’t ask either of them again.

Three months ago, Dad accepted a promotion. The result? We moved here. At first, I thought the graveyard next to our house was creepy. Not anymore. It was the second week of school that I learned of the cemetery’s power. I overslept and cut through the graveyard in a desperate attempt to be at school before first bell. The others complained and tried to stop me, but they have no power over my actions. That was the day I discovered their weakness. Not one of them will enter the cemetery. They say it’s scary.

Who knew ghosts were afraid of anything?

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