My mother always warned me that 3 am was a dangerous time. As I child I would listen to her pleas to go to bed on time, as any good child would. As a teen…well, who would want to worry their sick mother? Each time I kissed her goodnight from where she lay in her bed, her tired eyes becoming duller every day, she would whisper in my ear to go to sleep before the clock struck 3. Her eerie wheezed warnings would stick to me as I drifted off to my own room, and despite not knowing their reasons I found myself following them silently and without a complaint.
Now, as I sit here alone in my car, watching the minutes on the clock tick up closer and closer… I no longer wonder why she was so scared. It has been exactly one month since my mother had been laid to rest, even longer since I had actually seen her face. She had always wanted a closed casket service, and who are we to deny a dead woman’s wish?
02:52. The trees seem to surround the cemetery in an almost foreboding and protective way. Even though I had parked only a few feet away from the entrance, I can hardly see into the area where so many people left their loved ones buried underground. It’s a nice thought, I suppose. Giving the dead their privacy. Not that they really need it.
02:54. I open the car door and the wind helps me shut it. It seems to be picking up, moving faster after each minute. A storm was probably coming, something I should have guessed would happen yet I still was without an umbrella, or any warm clothes really. Not that I minded, my goal here wouldn’t take long.
02:56. I walk up to the gate, look at it for a moment, and then simply hop it. Graveyards never really did have good security. I guess that’s because not many people rob graves around here. Superstitions were strongly rooted in our little, decrepit town.
02:59. I have to sprint to get to where I want to be when it starts. My mother’s grave sits where it always will be, the presence of her looming over me. I can almost hear the scolding now, as I sit on the dirt beside the headstone, reaching into my pocket to pull out my pack of cigarettes.
The clock hits 03:00, I can feel it in my bones like a reverberating yell inside an abandoned mine. I finish lighting my cigarette without raising my eyes, inspecting it before taking a drag. I look up into the eyes of the devil himself and crack a smile.