Cemeteries are peaceful places where residents don’t argue, pick fights, or play sides. The only side they have is on the other. It’s a pleasant state of being, but sometimes even the living can’t deserve to cross the divide.

Samael made his way around the gravestones, touching each one, wondering what each person did in their lives. He wondered if they were young, old, or if they found love or misery in their time on earth. He wondered if they were happier now than they were when they were living.

Ivy hung from the oak trees and twisted around their trunks, leading him to a tall tombstone with an angel on top. Samael could see the ivy around the tombstone, but it didn’t go near the angel who held roses in her arms. Her face had eyes that seemed determined to carry on a sacred task. Samael was drawn to her.

The grave she protected was of a woman named Samara Rose. She died in 1919 during the flu pandemic early in the last century. Samael walked over to read the details when he felt pushed back by a strong force. He got up and walked back to the grave determined to push back. His name meant demon, and he knew he wasn’t allowed to cross the divide. He looked at her name – Samara. In many languages it meant protected by God. He just smiled.

He wasn’t afraid. His destiny was not tied to this world or the next; he just wandered aimlessly, encouraging people to make decisions they didn’t want to make. As a demon, he didn’t have anything to win or lose. Putting his hand down on the ground near Samara’s grave, he closed his eyes and listened. He could hear people’s stories, the consciousness that stayed with the dead.

He didn’t hear anything. Strange, he thought, there’s always some kind life residue left behind. Regret, anger, pettiness, pain – something was always under the ground. Instead, the ivy pulled his arm down under the dirt. Without a struggle, Samael ceased to be, becoming one of the angel’s roses.

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Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
8 months ago

Barb, you have some unexpected twists to your story. You had me fooled into thinking the protagonist was an ordinary man. Further, you led the reader to believe by his arrogant nature that he could read “life residue” and then another clever twist. Well, done Barb.

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
8 months ago

It sounds as though God has welcomed him back into the fold by making him a rose in the angels arms. Nicely done.

Julie Harris
Julie Harris(@julie-harris)
8 months ago

I loved the picture for this story, Barb. It really drew me in. I used to live in a 100-year old farmhouse which adjoined a cemetery equally old. Like Samael, I would wander through the graves, reading the dates and inscriptions and imagining lives. Unlike Samael, I was not a demon so I’m still here to tell the tale! I loved Carrie’s suggestion that God made him a rose in the angel’s arms. I also loved your comment about the interactions between writer and reader. Beautifully spoken. Did I already welcome you to Voice.club? If not, then welcome!!

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
8 months ago

Wow, the ending was ultimately unexpected. All I really thought was that Samael was an ordinary person, but it didn’t seem to be. Very good story. And a nice twist.

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti(@dipayan-chakrabarti)
8 months ago

The story is poignant and spooky at the same time. Excellent!

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Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
8 months ago

Here in Australia there are a lot of people (me included) who enjoy visiting old cemeteries, not in a macabre sense, more the wonder of times past and the stories of the people. How I wish I could put my hand down and hear the stories!
A great story and I particularly liked the opening paragraph. Well done 🙂

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