‘They keep the weeds under control,’ Emile explained when Hannah asked why goats were roaming the graveyard.
‘But don’t they eat the flowers?’
‘People don’t leave flowers here anymore. No one’s been buried here for a hundred years.’ He stooped to avoid a low branch and waited for Hannah on the other side. ‘People can’t be bother with the long since departed. We only see your kind these days.’
‘Yeah, history nuts who prefer the dead to the living.’
‘Oh I don’t-’
‘Makes a change at least. It’s nice to have a little warmth amongst all this stone.’
‘You worked things out then?’ she asked, stretched out long and lithe on the blanket beside me.
I plucked at the dead leaves beside us. Focusing on their half broken frames. Better them than her.
She took another drag and raised an eyebrow.
‘Tomorrow,’ I promised, just like I had the last time we were here, naked and damp with the dusk closing in around the empty windows. Teenagers had tagged the insides of the building until all you could see were curses and slanted signatures scrawled across the concrete.
Lilly had been expecting something more than blue, trellis gates. Beyond them, the compound crept west, the concrete yard broken up by thistles and nettles, bursting out of the cracks and spilling out onto the emptiness. She swallowed and looked at the gates again, imagined something stronger, like steel or iron, tall and spiked.
‘Three, fifteen,’ said the woman beside her. She sucked air through her teeth and tapped at her watch. ‘Your uncle said he would meet us here.’
Lilly nodded and peered past the weeds. She nibbled her lip and then stopped.