Beale sat with his walking stick on the edge of the cemetery each evening since he left hospital, yet never entered. Over weeks he accumulated all the accoutrements to honour his visitation but would only watch the rainwater tumble down the ranks of solemn headstones and the plastic flowers wilt on their pin fastenings in the midnight gales.
The physicians said a lot. About how young he was for his affliction. Of his luck compared to the punishment the other two received. His diary pages oozed wishes for a farewell. A journey had never resulted in more than trips to the gas station and a lack of sleep. That night, on the tolling of a faraway clock, something inside him fell away.
The cutters loosed the gate’s chains into limp entrail coils and the hinges grated an announcement to the dead. He circled the stones on the cemetery path and considered how in this graveland the inmates went unnamed.
Before their iron crypt he drew the crowbar. His siblings’ sentences to eternity had always struck him as unfair. The sweep of their stained overalls removed the salt ward from the doorway.