20 ; Chapter Twenty

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song of the chapter Niykee Heaton's Lullaby

In hindsight, going to a graveyard late at night on my own was not one of my best ideas. I couldn't explain it, but it felt like the right thing to do. I just got into my car and drove to the cemetery, not really thinking about my reasons behind it. It was stupid, I knew that giving the bracelet to Anya was not going to change the situation I was in. Whoever killed her wasn't just going to decide that the game had to stop because I was trying to right some wrongs. 

There were no lights in the part of the graveyard I had to go to. I wasn't even really sure where she was buried considering I never went to the actual funeral as my mother thought I was too young to be exposed to the reality of death. I turned my phone torch on and wandered along the rows, trying to find her name.

It took my ten minutes of walking past gravestones before I found it. It seemed different to the rest or maybe it was because I actually knew who was buried there. It hadn't even been that long since she died. Maybe 4 or 5 years. But for some reason, it felt like a lifetime ago. In fact, Pandora's death felt so long ago when it wasn't at all more than 7 weeks ago. I didn't think at least. Time seemed to evade me these days.

I don't know how long I just stared at the gravestone for. Reading the inscription over and over again.

'Her life a beautiful memory, her absence a silent grief'

The inscription was poignant and twisted something inside of me. I could tell I was crying now, but I wasn't sure why. Was I crying for her loss or for my own? 

I put the bracelet on the ledge of the granite and prayed it would stay there. 

   "I'm sorry I let her take it," I whispered to Anya through the darkness, "I should have been more firm. It wasn't hers to take. I'm sorry you had to watch her act like that in your home. I'm sorry I didn't care."

I crumbled with the silence and sat on the ground beneath me. Rubbing my eyes to keep the tears at bay.

   "She's gone now, I suppose that doesn't really matter to you. I don't even know I'm here, I just wanted to give you your bracelet back," I didn't know what I was supposed to be saying. I was talking to someone who wasn't even here in the middle of a graveyard at midnight. 

    "I'm sorry she was mean to you when we were younger. Pandora didn't have a reason to make up the stuff she did. I shouldn't have ignored it like I always did. I guess that makes me just as bad as her. Ignoring the stuff I did," I trailed off and a shiver wracked through my body. I could feel it was starting to rain now so I got up. 

   "I should have brought you flowers," I sniffed. "I'll bring them someday," I said aloud, noticing how here grave didn't seem overly well maintained. Had her family forgotten about her? Did moving on with your life mean you forgot about those who had died? How could you go from thinking about someone every day and then just forgetting after they died?

I was going to go back to my car but instead I found myself walking towards the light. I walked until I was standing in front of her grave. The soil still wasn't down to make flat earth again.

   "You've done some pretty shitty things in your life, Pandora, but going and dying and leaving me with all this shit to sort out is probably the worst of all," I stated bitterly to her. "I don't know why I was so stupid. I thought you could do no wrong, but here I am, realising that yes, you can - did." I sighed as I looked down again and took in the flowers sitting there.

   "I gave Anya back the bracelet. It was the right thing to do, you should have never have taken it," I continued. I felt like a crazy person. Chastising a grave.

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