It was damp in the graveyard. Dew soaked the bottom of her jeans making them heavy. They clung to her ankles like wet bread and made her shiver.
She pulled her hoodie up around her ears, it was freezing. So much for the great British summer, she thought.
She trudged her way to her usual spot. It was out of the wind and the rain. Under the angel’s praying hands, there was a kind of seat.
Presumably, some long-ago stone mason had thought a niche would be good for flowers or something. It was quite large and the big stone fists kept out the worst of the rain.
Today was just not going to be her day. The angel was occupied. An old man was sitting there swinging his legs as he sipped on a bottle.
He waved her over.
“Enough room for two, " he said patting the seat.
Brilliant she thought. As if her life didn't suck enough already. Sharing a damp shelf with some smelly old dosser was actually going to be the highlight of her last day.
Still, it was raining and he didn't look like he was dangerous. ‘What the fuck’ she thought and climbed in.
He shuffled over.
He didn't smell which was odd. In fact, he didn't smell of anything which was stranger still.
“Shouldn't you be at school?” he said taking another swig.
“Shouldn't you be in a home?” she replied. The moralising ones really pissed her off.
Any minute now he would start ranting on about the ‘University of Life’ and she would be out of there as quick as her little Converse boots could take her!
“I don't go to school, " she lied
“Bollocks you don't, " he said with a smile.
His teeth were beautiful, quite a surprise really.
“School sucks, " she said, “and it's full of fuckwits anyway!”
He nodded “life is full of fuckwits my dear, you can't fight them all.”
“Is that why you became a dosser then?” she asked
“Cheeky aren't you. How do you know I'm not some eccentric millionaire living an alternative lifestyle.”
She gave him a look “ choose this place in ‘What Graveyard’ did you. The discerning wino’s guide to the best doss-downs.”
“Funny aren't we," he said. Actually, I came here to die if you must know, and you are in my way!”
“Don't let me stop you, " she said “ go ahead and croak if you want. I'm sure the Council will clear your scabby old bones away with the rest of the dead flowers and find a hole to put you in.”
“Charming! I'm Gal, by the way, do you have a name or shall I just call you Spike because of your lovely warm personality."
He belched “oops- better out than in!”
She wondered why every old person said that!
“So we have established why I am here, what about you Spike?”
She shrugged “ I find the dead slightly less irritating than the rest of humanity!”
“Oh,” he said, “well I can tell you that the dead are just as bigger bunch of fuckwits as the living my dear!”
“Got a lot of them in your Gin soaked social circle have you?”
“A fair few.”
“Of course you do, well I'll go now and let you get off to La-la Land or wherever it is you come from Gal. See ya around Looney Tunes.”
He whispered, “mind how you go Spike, some of them are not nice people.”
“Yeah ok. Whatever you want freakazoid - loser!”
“Stop talking like an American cartoon, that's exactly what a fuck-wit would do."
“Oh thanks, like you would know.”
“I know a bit of fuck-wittery when I see it -in all its forms dearie!”
She sighed, “sure you do oh wise one, presumably wino was a career choice.”
“Oh I've been many things in my time Spike, but recently I've grown tired of the world. I seriously cannot be assed to bother rescuing you all any more, so I'm going.”
‘Right’ she thought ‘Jesus why me, or perhaps he really thinks he is the big man upstairs this is gonna get interesting!”
He gave her a look like he was reading her soul, his eyes really were incredibly blue. Then he laughed.
“Oh nothing-just reading your future, Caitlin.”
That was just plain weird, nobody except her mother ever called her Caitlin.
“Ok so what's gonna happen then, does a supermodel career await me?”
“Too short, but I think you will do ok. Once you get out of this teenage angst phase and stop being a pain in the arse.”
“Ta that makes me feel so much better.”
He smiled. “I bet you write don't you? You seem the type.”
She nodded, she didn't seem to be able to stop herself!
“That's great, writing is good for the soul, gets it all out of your system.”
“The kids at school think I'm weird,”
“Screw em!” he said “You be you. Let them worry about who they are.”
He snorted “that's the problem with this joined-up world. Everyone is expected to be the same or the internet will be ‘outraged’ he waggled his fingers.
A load of moronic zombies sleepwalking to eternity!”
“Harsh, but true,” she said
“Individuality is hard but you stick to it, look at me I'm an individual and I'm happy” he grinned “ yes, I know, I can see it in your face.
What’s so great about an old wino croaking his last in a disused graveyard.
In my time young lady you may be surprised to know that I have been a lover, sinner, and saint, we all are to one degree or another.”
“Make a good story,” she said.
“Write it then, people like you are rare beasts. The world needs you to tell its stories. Now bugger off and have a life for God's sake, let me die in peace.”
She smiled, the story forming in her mind.
Suddenly it all seemed a bit less bleak. A tiny ray of sun had appeared from behind the clouds.
“Maybe I will,” she said.
She gave him a hug and he chuckled.
“Well, that’s better. Don't ever let people push you around Spike. You are a Unicorn in a word full of carthorses, it's a gift. Play nice but enjoy it, my dear.
Now it's time for you to go, we both need to move on.”
She left, not looking back but feeling as if someone had smoothed her soul a little.
Gal watched her go, he smiled his wonderful smile then he said: “Ok let's get it over with.”
The stone angel flexed his fists. “You know she had a bottle of pills and a razor blade in her pocket.”
Gal nodded, “ She has talent and she's going to be a famous writer someday. How could I let all that potential drain away onto the graveyard floor, I just couldn't do it, Monty.”
The angel whose name was Montaigne just nodded.
“ You never could resist a damsel in distress could you Galahad.”
“No, but she's my last one, shall we go.”
He closed his eyes and the angel flapped its powerful wings and they took off.
“That’s it for the world of men,” Gal said, “I've done my stint, I'm old and tired, someone else can take over, now where are we off to Monty?”
The Angel shrugged. “No idea, there are plenty of other worlds to try, why don't we circle around for a bit until you decide.”
He closed his eyes, “I think I'll have a little nap, take me where you think I would be of most use.”
The Angel smiled. “ To everything a season,” he thought soaring off into the blue. "Sleep well old friend, time to rest.”
He remembered well the shining boy, the purest of Arthur’s knight's, put into the world to do good. Well, humanity had had the best of him and now they could get on with it.
Time for the world to grow up, he thought. Then he smiled again. He could almost hear her tapping away on her computer writing the first of what would become wonderful stories.
They were almost out of the world now, but perhaps they had done a final bit of good. After all, they had left a writer behind them and that could never be a bad thing.