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REGINALD BONES 1
BY LUCIAN BANE
Fear gripped their body and nearly overcame Reginald. “Bones, stop it,” he hissed when it threatened to take him too. “Stop it now,” he ordered. “You listen to me. I’m here to help you and I will. You need to be careful, I get that now. I do. I swear, I’ll protect you from what’s inside, okay? I see it now, I do.”
“You see it?” The anguish that Reginald saw what was inside him, brought the giant man to his knees with shame. “Don’t look, Reginald. I’m sorry. I’m not good like you. You’re good, Reggie. I need you.”
“You got me.” Reginald held an arm around his shoulder, tight. “We can do this, me and you. That’s why I’m here, remember?”
“I don’t need a life,” Bones croaked. “I’m okay with nothing.” The pleading in his tone to not make him live, suffocated Reginald with the urge to free him.
“Alright Bones. We’ll leave it. We’ll leave it alone.”
Reginald did leave it alone. For five years he left it alone. For five years he let time do its healing
thing. For five years they buried people week after blissful week. For five years they never left the
cemetery because every damn thing could be ordered online. For five years they lived in agonizing peace, day and night.
The only time Reginald interacted with humans was on the phone, and that was with the one male
person who they hired to take care of all human interacting things.This freed Bones to be a prisoner at the graveyard without bother. Which left Reginald praying to whatever God might hear to please intervene. Intervene in a way that didn’t require Reginald to directly challenge Bones.
Because Reginald was getting an itch. A itch that needed scratching by another human. And it was while cleaning a grave that Reginald’s daily prayers for change were interrupted.
“Why do you do that?”
Reginald spun at the sound of a female human voice, even as Bones trip/scurried into the shadows of their mind.
“Hello,” Reginald stammered, looking around at the empty cemetery then back at the girl. What
was she doing there at this time? He remembered her question and realized there had been an
angry tone with it.
“I was just doing final chores for the evening.”
“I put those there for a reason,” she said, regarding the pile of rose petals Reginald had gathered.
He looked down at them, confused with how to handle that and the entire female presence in close proximity problem. It wasn’t his fault. Neither of them had heard her.
“Uh. Well, I didn’t realize.” Despite the dire predicament, he quickly captured all the close up details he never got to see when she visited her brother’s grave. She’d done that daily for the past month. Only about five minutes, and then she’d leave. He’d kept proper distance for Bones sake but now, there she stood, and his mind hurried to collect up all the answers he’d wondered about her. Green eyes, a cute, pudgy nose, a mole half an inch to the left of her chin. Small chin. He watched as she pushed hair behind her ear and he recorded its size, also small. He was staring too long.
He stooped down and scooped up the petals. “Tell me what to do and I’ll see to it.”
He gazed up just as she lowered and knelt before him.
“I have to do it,” she whispered. Reginald remained still as she began grabbing the petals right from his hands and tossing them back onto the grave, one handful at a time. The soft sent of vanilla hit his blood stream and his gaze found the white skin at her neck. “You’re supposed to throw it on the grave every day at the same time, exactly twenty four petals. I hope this doesn’t mess it up. It’s supposed to make sure the dead rest in peace.”
Reginald felt Bones fighting to hide deeper inside, desperate to get away from her as the urge to reach out and touch her itched in Reginald’s fingers. His instincts to protect Bones and explore the humanity before him, held him immobile. “I’m sorry,” was all his mouth produced. Sorry to her and to Bones, as he knelt there stuck.
She finally looked up at him and their gazes locked. “I see you around here,” she said. “Are you the owner?” She cocked her head a little. “I heard he was a crazy old man. But you don’t look old at all.”
A smile took over his lips. He liked her honesty. And bravery. He liked the way she looked at him without fear. Liked the way she smelled, the way she angled her head and peered harder into his eyes as though challenging him to… engage.
Panic hit him and he stood, taking a few steps back. She stood too, looking confused. “Just don’t mess with the petals,” she said, wiping her hands on her skirt. Pink skirt. “I thought they was gettin blown away or somethin.”
“Okay,” he said, looking around for his reason to leave, hoping he’d not find it.
“So, are you the owner?”
He looked at her. “I am.”
She nodded, still eyeing him with an open curiosity. “Is it true?”
“Is what true,” he wondered, studying the severe arch in her left brow.
“Are you crazy?”
The unexpected question threw him a moment. “I guess… if I was, I might not know it. And if I did know… I might not want to say.”
She turned her gaze to the grave. “They said he was crazy. But he wasn’t. Just misunderstood.”
God, he loved her accent. Reginald’s heart hammered in his chest when tears fell down her face and she did like he’d seen her do many times. Swipe them away angrily. He wasn’t sure what to do or say now, his muscles were tense with the need to act. He was supposed to be the voice of reason and normalcy, and all he could manage was stupefied.
“Well, you don’t look crazy,” she muttered, crossing her arms under her breasts. Small breasts, he thought. Cute like the rest of her. “In case you were wonderin.”
“Thank you,” Reginald said, realizing his answer didn’t match her words. He wondered why she still stood there, bouncing lightly on her hip while she looked around. Maybe she wanted to leave but wasn’t sure how. He was in the same predicament and couldn’t help her on that front.
“How long you owned this place?” she asked, peering at him with an angled look again.
“Around six years.”
“Why would you want to own a graveyard?” She licked her lips and Reginald couldn’t keep from staring at them, glistening in the evening light. “Are you married? Have a girlfriend?”
At the bold question, Bones literally punched him in the stomach, stealing his breath. “No,” he finally managed. “And… I inherited the graveyard from my family.” He eyed her and forced the words off of his tongue. “And you?”
Incompetence hit Reginald and he shoved his hands in his large overall pockets. “Sorry, nothing.”
“Well, I better go,” she said, sounding like she may not want to.
“I”m sure you’re ready to get out of this creepy place too.”
“It’s not creepy,” Reginald hurried, wishing he’d said he wasn’t ready to go anywhere. “Not to me.”
She eyed him again, that curiosity back in her angled gaze. “So you like working here?”
There was no derision in her tone so, “Yes,” felt safe to say.
She nodded slowly at him. “My brother would’ve liked you.”
“He liked grave yards?”
“No, he was just weird to most people. Different.” Her gaze lowered over him then rose to lock on his face, making his pulse race again. “I’m glad you’re watching over him.”
Words rushed onto Reginald’s tongue and tied it in knots as she turned and walked off. Reginald watched her. Watched the way her body moved, the rhythm of her purposed gait. Then she stopped and turned, stealing his breath. “I don’t have a husband. Or a boyfriend,” she called.
Reginald could only stare, sparks of excitement flying through his veins with the way she eyed him. Did she like him? Is that what he was seeing?
She tossed a small wave to him and turned again, walking off. Reginald stood, frozen to the spot with Bones pacing furiously in the background, waiting to speak to him about what just happened. About how it couldn’t happen again. About how he needed to be more careful. More watchful. More bla bla bla.
Meanwhile, Reginald thought about other things. Things a normal man thought about. Things a normal man fantasized about. He suddenly couldn’t wait till Bones had his lecture then went to sleep so Reginald could return to his impossibly divine and normal thoughts.
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