Looking up at the wall to her right, she took in yet another breath of amazement. It was painted in the most beautiful, yet sad scene she’d ever seen: a graveyard. There were hundreds of tombstones that stretched back into the wall as if it were real and even one was engraved with a symbol like the one Gabriel had on his cheek, making Beth assume it was a name. The moon painted at the very top corner of the wall was beautiful, almost more beautiful than the real one that was just outside. It cast an eerie glow over the graveyard. Every blade of grass, every leaf on every tree looked to be individually painted in such a way that Beth felt she could touch it. Even the grey stone itself looked like a photograph
There was something in the shadows underneath one of the trees in the very back that Beth couldn’t quite make out; a shape – perhaps of a man? But to her it was unclear.
A particular headstone stuck out in her mind, one near the front, in the second row. She wasn’t sure what it was about it that had caught her attention. It was a few moments before she realised that it was blank; it had no name on it. But not only that, it was the only one with flowers on the grass in front of it. Something about it made her heart ache, as if the emotions of the painter had been caught up in the paint as it had been dabbed onto the wall.
“Who did this?” she asked Gabriel.
He looked over at her, following her gaze. “Sam did.”
“It’s so... sad,” she said quietly.
“You don’t know the half of it,” Gabriel muttered.
He frowned, seeing the fresh paint of the floor, the brushes not yet dry.
“Sam?” he called, getting no response.
A giggle drifted out of the slightly open doorway to their left, only deepening the angel’s frown as he walked in its direction.
Beth followed quietly, still staring up at the wall as she did. Zeke had to pull on Caelan’s hand before the vampire would come too.
Pushing open the door that was ajar, Gabriel sighed, exasperated and angry.
“Really?” he demanded of whoever was in there.
“Ooh! It’s Gabriel!” giggled a dazed-sounded male voice.
“Are you busy being Sam’s slave?” asked another.
“Shut up, Nik,” Gabriel’s harsh voice told them. “Sam is upstairs – dying, I might add! – and you two are sat here getting high! Do you really care so little?”
“He’s not actually,” the first voice replied, sounding unfazed by the shouting.
Beth could see Gabriel’s frown from where she was stood.
“Who’s not what?” he asked them, confused.
“Sam. He’s not upstairs,” the second, Nik, answered.
“Then where the hell is he?” Gabriel asked.
“He was with us, like, as soon as you left. Then he left. Then Ria came to shout at us too. And, actually, this was Sam’s idea.”
Gabriel raised an eyebrow. “Was it his idea or did he give you permission?”
There was a pause. “A little of one and a lot of the other.”