Wandering the grounds of the orphanage and asylum today, I stumbled upon the facility’s cemetery. I was surprised to find it. In Cross, the cemetery still remains, the last of its occupants having been interned in 1932.
When I was walking among the markers, I discovered two important facts. First, the most recent marker was carved from a piece of wood and bore the date, ‘1958?’; second, a young boy sat with his back against one of the oldest stones in the cemetery. His expression was one of sadness and exhaustion, as though he had seen much and was ready for all of it to be done with.
I sat down across from him and waited for the child to speak.
After a little more than an hour, he fixed his eyes upon me and asked, “Are you alive?”
“So far as I know,” I told him.
He nodded, fidgeted with his shoelace and then stated, “All my friends are dead.”
“Does it bother you?” I asked.
“No,” the child responded, shaking his head.
“Why not?” I asked the question without any semblance of judgment and the boy seemed to notice.
“I’m dead too,” he said.
“How long?” I inquired.
The boy shrugged. “Long enough, I suppose. What are you doing here?”
“Seeing what became of the orphanage,” I told him.
“Have you seen enough?”
“No,” I responded.
“Good,” he sighed. “There’s much more to see.”
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