The Gravestone


I was waiting for a bus when I noticed it. “What a strange place for a grave”, I thought. The flat stone that marked it had obviously been there a long time. I brushed away the leaves. There were markings on it, but with the rigours of the weather and the passage of time, they were barely discernible.

Who would choose to be buried here, in unconsecrated ground? – no one! This place was chosen for them – why? and by whom? What unspeakable crime did this person commit? What ungodly deed would justify disposing of human remains in a place that no one would care to visit?

Perhaps the person buried here had committed no crime! Is it possible that the body that lay beneath my feet is the victim? An unfaithful husband or wife? A rejected lover or the victim of a revenge killing? Or is it the body of a witch!? I had heard that in days gone by, it was the practice of rural communities to bury the bodies of witches at crossroads.

A workman in overalls joined me at the bus stop. “Are you local?” I asked. “I live a couple of miles away” he replied, eyeing me with the suspicion that country folk reserve for strangers. “I was wondering about this” I said, pointing to the gravestone.

He gave me a strange look. ”It’s where they get access to the gas mains” he explained.

Just then the bus came and I hurriedly got on.

Copyright Leslie Melville 2002

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