Dead of Night

by Tha Wrecka

The moon shines bright on the graveyard, illuminating the stone angel.

Emerging from the woods, Clark brushes his fingers over it, tracing its lines and crevasses. It is, in turns, rough and soft under his fingertips, and its surface is cold.

Lana is in the graveyard talking to her dead parents.

Clark watches her over the angel's wings. In the silver moonlight her hair shines, her dark eyes are vibrant. She moves to stand, bidding farewell to her parents. As he moves behind the angel, the sound of something crunching underfoot echoes through the night.

"Who's there?" Lana asks, her voice uncertain.

He steps out from behind the angel, eyes on his feet and hands in his pockets. "It's just me."

"Hey, Clark. You're getting to be quite the regular visitor here."

"I was just out walking."

"At night? Aren't your parents worried?"

"I just needed to clear my head, a little. Things have been a little crazy lately."

"Tell me about it."

She smiles and he can't help but do the same.

"Walk me home?" she asks.

"Sure," he agrees. Taking his hands out of his pockets, he strolls over to where she is standing, smiling down at her tiny form as he is doing so.

They walk quietly for a while. The night around them is pleasantly cool. The faint sounds of birds can occasionally be heard in the distance, and the fallen leaves crunch under their feet.

As they proceed, she keeps looking at the woods around her.

He wonders what she sees. "Hey, Lana," he begins, unsure.

"Hmm?" she asks, turning her gaze towards him.

"Do you remember much about your parents?"

She looks down at her feet for a moment, and then off into the distance.

"Not really," she says. "Mostly just that they were beautiful and they made me happy."


"Why?" she asks, her expression gently curious.

"I don't remember anything about my parents. Nothing at all," he answers.

"I'm sorry, Clark. I'm sure, wherever they are, they're beautiful too."

He smiles a little, and the moonlight splits through the trees, lending his face a silver glow.

They shuffle along further, coming on to the side of the road. At this time of night it is deserted, but Lana's house can be seen further off, if one looked really hard.

Her face breaks out into a sudden smile, and Clark can't help but watch her.

Noticing his look, she explains, "I remember once, when I was little, my parents took me to a playground not far from here. I spent the whole afternoon on the swings. Dad had to push me because I was too small to push myself. I remember feeling so happy."

"We could go there," he offers, "right now."

Lana pauses, considering.

"Okay," she agrees, and leads the way.

The playground is bright and gaudy in the lamplight.

He swings open the gleaming black gate, making it creak under his touch.

She runs her hand across the detached metal fence posts, the rough edges catching lightly upon her hands.

Clark moves further into the playground, studying the lacquered gleam of ladders and poles before running his hands over the structures, leaving smudged fingerprints over glossy shine. Looking over to the swing set, he sees Lana sitting forlornly on a swing. Her head leans against the chains and her feet brush against the ground, looking the very image of a corpse. Moving behind her, his exploring hands causing the chains to rattle. Then, he pushes her into space.

She whooshes through the air, giggling like a fairy princess, then comes back towards the earth as he steps to the side.

He leans against the columns of the swing set as she swings back and forth. Her hair trails behind her on the upswing, covering her face on the downswing, the strands separating and knotting in turn.

Her voice echoes through the playground. "Look at me, Clark, I'm flying."

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