Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.
The green pristine brilliance of the cemetery grass glared during the daytime. At night it felt slightly overgrown, and framed the gravestones and the mausoleum on the big hill. The chain-link fence by the street was easy to climb.
A small pack of preteens came around the corner, spilling off the sidewalk. The only girl among them took a deep breath, and held it.
“The fuck are you doing, Bee?” said the boy with the red baseball cap.
“Holding my breath,” she replied.
“No shit. Why?”
“That’s what you do when you go past a cemetery.”
“Fucking Weirdo,” the boy said. “Just go.”
She took another final breath and climbed it, hopping down to the other side of the fence. The three boys with her followed. They gathered in a nonchalant huddle.
“So here’s the deal,” said baseball cap boy. “Some dumbasses leave booze bottles on graves. And we’re gonna find them. You go two look over there.” He nodded to the other boys then pointed at Bee. “And you’re coming up the hill with me”
This hill was almost cruel in its slope. The shadowy mausoleum in front of them looked even creepier up close. B slowed down.
“You pussy?” said Red Hat.
B didn’t reply. Her face was almost purple, and she didn’t even register the comment.
Two steps later she fell over backwards. She slid and rolled down the hill. Her head hit the gravestone at the bottom, and blood started leaking.
The boys turned around, and Red Hat dialed 911. When he heard the operator, he hung up. He noded to the other boy and the two sprinted down the hill and to the fence. When the other kids saw them climbing, they took off as well.
A ghost swirled out of the grave where B lay. She was an old Russian woman.
“What are you doing, disturbing my peace?” she asked, and hurled a gold tassled lamp at Bee.
“You little slut, you were in here with those boys.” She threw a wooden chair with a doily on the seat.
“I can’t believe the children these days, thinking they can come in here and wake me up. Are you a little whore, or are you on drugs, like all you deadbeats who hang around here?” She tossed a frying pan.
“I know your type. I can see right through you. You’re one of those girls who sleeps with all the boys because your daddy didn’t hug you enough, and their touch feels like affection. No man will have you to keep, only for one night like the little whore you are. And you’re going to grow up to be a big whore, because you will want things that your life as a single slut won’t give you. And you justify it all by pretending you don’t care, but you do, because I know your type. You have everybody fooled, they think you don’t care, but I know better, because you’re even weaker than you look. You’ll never be happy, because you’re a little slut.” She threw a tacky floral couch.
Bee was on a swing, and it was moving quickly towards the ground, too fast for her to stop. It swung forward and up again, then back, and again, she was flying towards the ground, too fast and out of control. She felt like she was dying. Back and fourth through the fear and slight relief of going upwards again mixed with the dread that she’d soon be plunging back down.
There was a witch outside the window, hiding behind the wall with the sofa. She was cackling, “Bianca, I know you’re in there.”
B crawled underneath the table and hid. The witch climbed through the window and bent over to see her under the table. “You can’t hide from me.”
She reached out and grabbed Bee’s chin.
A nurse laid Bee’s head down on the fresh pillow, and took the old one out of the hyper bright room.
“Good, you’re awake,” said a voice by her feet.
She tried to pick her head up, but couldn’t.
“What the fuck were you doing in that cemetery?” her mother asked, standing up.
“Don’t answer, I know. You were meeting some secret boyfriend or some bullshit, you little slut. You’re not worth me even being here!”
The curtain pulled back, and a 50-something man in a hospital gown peeked his head in. “Excuse me Ma’am, would you mind keeping it down? I’m trying to sleep.” He winked at Bee and climbed back into bed.