In the front of the mirror, there was Marcus, looking at his grey face, with eyes looking like they were going to fall from their orbits. He kept touching his face, his hands were only bones, and so was all of his body. His clothes were dusty, full of mud, and he was confused. He looked around, he was in his room, he couldn’t remember how he got there, and he noticed that some of his toys were missing. He opened the door, and slowly went downstairs, his mother and father were at the table, drinking coffee.
“Where did you put my toys?” Marcus asked.
His parents didn’t have any reaction, they didn’t even look in his direction. Marcus went closer, looking into his mother’s eyes, their noses were touching, but she didn’t seem to feel it. Marcus walked out through the wooden door, the street seemed empty, in distance he saw a child waving at him. As Marcus got closer to the kid, he saw that the kid’s clothes were just like his, dirty and muddy, his fingers looked like hay straw as he waved again.
The kid was standing in the center of a cemetery, surrounded by funeral stones, and some fresh graves.
“Hi, I’m Marcus.”
“Hi, I’m Oliver.”
“How did you end up here? Where are your parents?”
“I just woke up here.” Said Oliver pointing at one of the fresh graves.
Marcus looked at the gravestone and looked back at Oliver.
“Is your full name Oliver Williams?”
“Yes, how did you know?”
Marcus pointed at the gravestone, Oliver’s name was on it, next to the birth and death day.
“You died yesterday.” Said Marcus.
“Are you sure?” Asked Oliver crying.
“Look, it’s written here.”
“I can’t read that good yet, I’m four. I can only recognize some words.”
“It’s okay, I can teach you, I’m eight. Let’s see another gravestone.”
When Marcus looked at the gravestone, he saw his name on it.
“That’s your name there, I recognize it, I have a cousin called Marcus.”
“Marcus Wright, died yesterday.” Read Marcus out loud.
“Can I go home?” Asked Oliver.
“Your parents can’t see you, we’re dead, ghosts.” Answered Marcus slightly annoyed.
“How did we die?” Asked Oliver with tears in his eyes.
“That’s what we’re going to find out.”
Marcus and Oliver spend the next few days looking around the cemetery, and around town, for any useful clues, when they had a strange encounter. It was late, the two boys were walking on the side of the road when a man approached.
“What are you two doing alone this late?”
When Oliver opened his mouth to say something, Marcus kicked him slowly and said.
“We’re lost sir, can you help us?”
“Of course, I might know where you live.”
The two boys followed the man, he was walking slowly and kept looking around.
“Listen, kids, it’s pretty late, we don’t want to wake your parents. How about you sleep at my place and we’ll go to your parents’ tomorrow.”
“Sounds great.” Said Marcus.
The man’s house was at the edge of the town, when the man opened the door Marcus could see one of his missing toys laying on the floor.
“Can I have this toy?” Asked Oliver with the toy in his hands.
“Of course.” Said the man.
“Nice toy, where did you get it? I had a similar one, but I lost it.” Asked Marcus smiling at the man.
“It’s my nephew’s.” Answered the man looking in the fridge.
“We can move things.” Whispered Marcus in Oliver’s ear, pointing to the toy in his hands.
“Where is the bathroom, sir?” Asked Marcus.
“Upstairs, first door on the right.”
“Thank you. Oliver, behave.”
Marcus went upstairs, looking around for something that will prove that he was right, this man killed him and Oliver. He entered the bathroom, it was dirty and it smelled like mold, some other toys were laying dirty in the bathtub. He searched for some paper and a pen, but he couldn’t find any, and he was too afraid to check other rooms, so he went back downstairs.
“Sir, do you have a pen? I like to draw on my hand while…”
“Don’t, I don’t want to know the rest of the sentence. Take the pen on the table.”
Marcus took the pen, Oliver was still playing with that toy, a brown teddy bear.
“Do you want to come with me?” Asked Marcus.
“Yes. Can I take the teddy bear with me?”
“Of course.” Answered Marcus.
Marcus looked at the man, he nodded yes and went on with preparing the dinner.
The boys went into the bathroom, Marcus took a piece of toilet paper and wrote “We were here -Marcus Wright and Oliver Williams” and hide it under the pot of a dead flower.
“Oliver, listen to me. That man downstairs killed us, but we’re not going to let him do that again. We’re going to save all the other kids.”
“We will be heroes?” Asked Oliver smiling.
“Yes, exactly, we’ll be the town’s heroes, they’ll make movies and comics about us.”
“We need a group name, just like “The Avengers.”
“What about “The children of the grave”?”
“I love it.” Said Oliver excited.
“We won’t mention any of it to the man downstairs, it’s our secret. He’s the villain in our story.”
Oliver nodded and hugged the teddy bear tight.
“We’re going to escape tonight, while he’s sleeping.”
Oliver nodded again and opened the door. The boys went downstairs and took a seat at the table.
“I hope you like soup because I prepared a delicious one for you, you must be very hungry, you both look like you’re dead.” He said laughing.
Marcus noticed that their soup was darker than the man’s, “That’s how he kills, he poisons the food” thought Marcus.
“Mister…how should I call you? What’s your name?” Asked Marcus.
“Derek. What did you want to ask?” Replied the man while taking the first sip from his soup.
“Did you put chicken in the soup? I’m allergic to chicken.”
After they finished dinner, Derek showed the kids their room, upstairs, the second door on the left.
“See you tomorrow morning by 9 a.m.” Said Derek while closing the door.
He locked the door and went into his bedroom.
“He locked the door Marcus, how are we going to get out?” Asked Oliver in a whisper.
“We can walk through doors Oliver. Take my hand.”
Oliver took the teddy bear with one hand, and hold Marcus tight with the other one. The boys walked to every door with no problem, not making any sound, and they were out in a few seconds.
They ran straight to Marcus’s house, walked through the door silently, and went into the kitchen. Marcus knew his father always kept a little agenda and a pen on the table because he liked to note his dreams as he drank his coffee in the morning. Marcus ripped a page and wrote on it.
“Tomorrow morning, in the dusty green house at the edge of the town, a man called Derek lives there, he wakes up at 9 a.m. Go with the police and search in the bathroom – upstairs, the first door on the right – under the pot. He killed us, Marcus and Oliver, or how we like to call ourselves now, “The children of the grave”.
The boys waited until the morning, laying on the kitchen floor, and when the clock hit 8 a.m. they could hear the alarms. In less than 10 minutes both parents came downstairs and read the note.
“Maybe it’s a prank.” Said the mother.
“What do we lose if we try? Plus, who would have known Marcus’s handwriting.”
Marcus and Oliver followed Marcus’s parents to the police and then to Derek’s house. It was 9:15 and Derek was running around the house when the police arrived.
“Good morning sir, please step out of the house.”
Derek looked confused and scared at the same time, when he took a step out of the house, he saw Marcus and Oliver.
“What have you done?” Derek asked angrily.
“Who are you talking to sir?” Asked Marcus’s father.
“They can’t see us. We’re dead.” Answered Marcus.
“But why can I?” Asked Derek.
“Because you killed us.” Answered Oliver.
The policeman came out with the note in his hand and showed it to Marcus’s parents.
“Can you explain this?” Asked the officer.
“They must’ve put it there as a joke.” Said Derek pointing at the boys, “Oh wait, you can’t see them,” he took a deep breath and shouted, “Because they’re dead, right?”
“You are under arrest mister.”
“You can see them?” Asked Marcus’s mother.
“Yes, there they are,” he said posting towards the boys angry.
“Marcus honey, daddy’s going to turn your story into a comic, I’ll call it “Children of the grave”. Said Marcus’s father.