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Shears in hand, I cut away the overgrown grass covering the gravestones. Every year, my family would come and clean the stones marking our loved ones, so they would always be remembered. Sadly, I’d pass by many a stone obscured by the passing of time, their names, and dates barely legible from all the dirt and grass. As an adult, it’s become a hobby of mine to clear away the debris so that these names may be remembered once more. Though it saddens me to consider that there is no one left alive related to the deceased to clean them. My parents have passed on, my siblings now grown and with families of their own. I do not speak to them, and they do not speak to me and I am content with that.

I carry on with the cleaning and clearing, relatives, friends, and strangers alike, these are my family. People may look and think me strange; I say let them look all they want. One fine October day, I found the most peculiar marker, an old headstone in the farthest reaches of the cemetery. Most families use flat grave markers embedded in the soil, in the newer sections, but the older sections of the cemetery feature upright stones, obelisks and monuments, many of which are in good condition despite being weathered and worn. This stone however, like many of the markers towards the front, but unlike its brethren headstones was shrouded and tangled in weeds and vines, completely neglected. I spent much of the day clearing away the entangled cluster, and by the time I was finished, the sun had set in the west, turning the horizon crimson, and the sky violet, blue and black. I was fortunate enough to have brought my phone with me to see what I was doing.

In the encroaching darkness, I barely made out the eroded words before me:

In Memoria Mala

Here lies Maltheus Malevor

Fiend, Liar, Heretic

May you never know peace

Disturbed by these words, it is only then that I notice that the soil beneath me seems to have been disturbed recently, yet the stone was neglected. Stumbling to my feet, I try to run but it seems I’m stuck, I’m sinking into the earth. A voice from behind me says: “Thank you for remembering me.”