The large iron gate creaked as it swung open. A pitch-black curtain was draped over the sky engulfing the old cemetery in its darkness.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” asked Numair.
“I finally found it,” said Zul, tossing back a lock of his hair.
An Owl hooted in the distance. Numair looked over his shoulder and trembled. As they made their way through the graves, Numair couldn’t help but admire Zul’s courage. He was a risk taker and lived dangerously on the edge.
Zul stopped at one of the graves, squinting to read the plaque. “Jasmir Jung, 1873 – 1973. This guy lived a hundred. Can we even imagine living that long?”
Numair smiled, amused at the thought.
In the eerie darkness, he saw something slimy slither away. Probably a snake, he thought, shuddering. An animal wailed in the distance. Chilled to his bone, Numair grabbed Zul, “This place gives me the creeps.”
“Silly boy. I am here,” said Zul, pulling and holding him against his chest.
Numair snuggled in his embrace, feeling the rapid beating of Zul’s heart.
“Look,” Zul said pointing to a grave besides him. “This guy is 18, just like we are.”
Numair didn’t want to correct him. Did it really matter? Would it undo things? He felt he should have been firm, but he was so helplessly in love that he blindly followed Zul in whatever he did.
Zul looked at the starless sky and without warning let out a bloodcurdling howl. Numair almost wet himself. “Why did you do that for?!”
Zul threw back his head and laughed, “Come. We are going to be there soon. What time is it?”
“Just in time.”
Zul ran ahead and stopped near an enclosed place. In the middle of it lay two decaying graves. Numair caught up with him, curious.
Zul turned to look at Numair, his eyes softening. They looked at each other in silence.
“We aren’t 18, Zul,” Numair whispered.
Zul nodded, his face quivering with sorrow, “I know. We were.”
They stood for a while.
“What’s the time?” Zul asked.
“We are going back. It’s time we did.” He held the back of Numair’s head and drew him close. Amidst the sound of crickets, he gently kissed Numair on his lips.
Numair closed his eyes as the memories fell in a cascade.
They had fallen madly in love. Numair wanted to keep it a secret but Zul was adamant. He believed in the purity of their love and confessed to his parents. Hell broke loose. In the dead of the night, the boys were carried into the woods and strangled to death.
They gazed at the graves which bore their names as the town’s bell tolled in the distance.
A deer grazing quietly in a corner of the cemetery, raised her head and watched as the boys faded into the dark moonless night.
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