Taylor Lea Hicks
Boneyard

The cemetery is small and overgrown. The statue of Catholic Jesus oversees from the roadside, the crown of thorns adorning his head and his nail-pierced limbs drooping from the wooden cross. Cars zoom by on the two-lane road as a blue SUV turns onto the gravel driveway.

The red and white cathedral looms over the churchyard as the car parks across from the graves. A girl exits the vehicle, slamming the door with an echoing thud and walking over to the ditch, her shoes crunching on the rocks. She hops over the dike to meet the first headstone, a German name defeated by weeds, passing it with a quick nod.

At the middle of the site: an upright tombstone with curves and an English namesake. She wipes the dew off the top with her sleeve and sits, listening to the cars pass and staring up at the tall white steeple.

She thinks what she always thinks when she visits this spot. What would it be like to attend mass here on Sundays? How many people actually go? Who lives in that house across the driveway? The pastor? Or are they called priests?

Then she thinks about why she came. The boy she lost. The other graveyard she will now have to visit.

Two weeks ago it happened. When she got the call, she didn’t realize what it was. It wasn’t until the visitation that it sunk in. Until she saw the body. Because the thing that was in that casket wasn’t the boy she had known for eighteen years. It was just dead.

Since then, she hadn’t known what to do with herself. And when she didn’t know what to do, she came here and thought about what it would be like to be Catholic.

Taylor is a writer, editor, and playwright, as well as an enthusiastic Whovian and Whedonite. She has her BA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Arkansas and is a current student in the MFA program at Stony Brook Southampton. Her scripts have won awards from the Arkansas College Media Association and her play “Whiskers” was produced by the UCA Youth Theatre in 2012. Her work has been published in Arkansas Anthology, Vortex Magazine, and Cattywampus Magazine. You can follow her on Twitter at @taylorleahicks or email her at taylorleah8@gmail.com.