The crowds were long gone, the sun nearly set. A small patch of green grass glistened in the rain.
They say that there is a heaven, somewhere above, and the good may go there when at last they part with the Earth. They say it is a beautiful place that knows no pain, no suffering. Only bliss.
He had never been one to believe in such things.
The rain continued to fall, and he stood, his figure outlined by the flash of lightning in the sky above. Twelve years he waited to see this sight. Twelve years he suffered in darkness, comforted only by the fact that it was waiting for him, somewhere beyond the iron walls and gates of his prison. His friends were waiting.
He looked again at the stone, reading the inscriptions. Pretty words, but they told him nothing. This stone could never bring back the happy boy with untidy black hair and that ever-present smirk. The overcast sky held no remnants of the smiling child who used to fly amongst the clouds on his broomstick and up to heaven itself. The laughter and tears shed by two dear friends on a gloomy winter's eve would never be found in the rain.
So, he stood, a solitary figure amidst a galaxy of courageous men and lovely women, remembering. Little boys cried as their best friends held them and the rain was falling and he was trying so hard to remember, but it was pulling him back into the darkness.
The rain fell and, eventually, the sun came out. The birds chirped from the trees in their merry way; the world was oblivious to his pain.
What he was waiting for he would never know. Surely there should have been something? A great clap of thunder? A jackdaw screeching from the grave nearby?
This place held nothing but bodies and beautiful poetry.
Great sod above, rest light! Rest light!
Goodnight, my friends. My brother, good night.
Moony's words, no doubt.
And suddenly, it was too much for him. The sun and the rain and the bird singing in their nests. He fell forward, forehead pressed against those lovely words. That boy on his broomstick was not coming back down to perform some spectacular dive and save the day. That girl would not brighten up any more rooms with her smile. This place, this place held bodies and carefully carved inscriptions. There was no soul here, and at last he understood. He understood how the rain could fall with the sun still shining, how a man who lost everything could feel actual happiness. For one fleeting moment, he felt joy in his chest, flooding it.
The boy on his broomstick with the smile and the laughter was back again in his mind's eye. He would not let himself be forgotten.
People were drifting in, and he knew it was time to leave.
‘Looks like you flew a bit too high this time, mate.’
The rain continued to fall.