She perched on the corner of the gravestone, as the sun shone its last rays over the high wall.
She was waiting for him, as she always waited. She tugged down her long blue summer dress, despite the fact that it was October, on the cusp of November and the air was beginning to chill, she felt ... nothing, not too hot – not too cold, just ... nothing.
The last of the sun's rays blinded her momentarily, and then darkness began to fall.
She saw the caretakers as they moved through the cemetery, pulling closed the heavy iron gates behind them as they left for the night.
He didn't come!
She so wished that her despair could be vented by the release of her tears, but they would not come, would not spill.
"He didn't come!" she whispered miserably.
She sat in silent misery for long moments, until the peace and quiet was suddenly disturbed by youthful laughter, just on the other side of the wall.
"Go on then..." a young male voice whispered loudly. "You said that you would do it, you said that you weren't afraid..."
"The wall is too high; I'll never get over that on my own," another voice whispered worriedly.
"Scaredy cat!" several voices cackled. "All mouth and no guts!"
"We will give you a leg up," the first voice insisted loudly.
"And how do I get back over the wall from the other side?" that second voice persisted.
"It's easy!" the first voice snapped impatiently. "There's that tree, just next to the gates; you can pull yourself up using one of the lower branches, and then swing across onto the wall, and we will be on the other side, just waiting to catch you."
"So how long have I got to stay on the other side for?"
"Well now ... let's see ... the graves right at the top end all have those purple stones surrounding them, you can't get them from any of the other graves, so you've got to grab a handful and bring them back with you."
"So I can run across if I want to?"
"Yep, we will all know that you went the entire length of the graveyard – if you bring back some of those purple stones, then we will know that you are as brave as you make out."
She perched on the edge of the gravestone, and watched in fascination as the little green head suddenly popped over the wall.
A goblin! She thought in surprise. 'Now there's something that you don't see every day!'
She watched as he looked around cautiously and then cocked his little fat leg over the edge of the wall.
He heaved himself over and sat with his legs hanging down on the cemetery side, he paused long enough to see as much as he could in the darkness of the early evening.
He gave a soft little grunt which she clearly heard, and then with a sigh he slowly lowered himself down to the ground.
His feet hit the grassy ground with a dull thud, and then he dropped to a crouch.
She was just about to move closer when he suddenly sprang to his feet and spun around to head straight for her at a flat out run.
'He's going to run right into me!' she thought in panic as he neared her at a terrifying speed.
She let out a low scream of fright, just as his feet hit the pebbled path, and at the last moment he veered away from her.
Still she could clearly hear his puffing as he ran down the path right next to her resting place, and he was close enough that she could clearly see his eyes through the large round eye sockets of his goblin like head.
As he passed her gravestone, his eyes did a sideways slide to travel quickly over her, sitting on the cold stone, his eyes widened in fear for a moment and then he whizzed by.
"Wait!" she screamed out. "You saw me; didn't you – oh please wait!"
He didn't slow ... he didn't stop ... he didn't even look around; if anything he seemed to pick up speed, running faster than ever through the cold, dark and silent graveyard.
She buried her head in her hands and wept bitterly. "Oh why didn't you come? You ALWAYS come!"
The darkness thickened and the silence shrouded her; and alone and lost she sat on the gravestone weeping her dry tearless weep.
Suddenly she heard footsteps, she heard someone labouring for breath...
The goblin was coming back, his green head down and his little legs pumping, he was going to run right past her again.
"NO!" she screamed out as she leapt up from the cold stone and dove straight into the path of the charging monster. "You shall not pass me!"
The goblin glanced up at the girl in the blue summer dress, with wild brown hair and mournful expression, and skidded to a halt, just millimetres away from her.
"You CAN see me!" she cried out joyously.
The goblin laboured to catch his breath and nodded warily.
"Aye ... I can see you," he gasped out.
"How do you see me? Every day people walk through here and no one else EVER sees me ... so how do you see me now?"
"It is Halloween night, and tonight all things that were hidden, become visible."
"So you can see me ... so you can help me!" she cried out joyfully.
The goblin stepped back on his heels.
"I don't know that I can help you..." he muttered. "You are dead after all, and there is nothing to be done about that."
As he looked at her, she felt her last vestiges of hope dissolve away and once again she buried her face in her hands, and wept bitterly.
"He never came ... he always comes but he never came!" she sobbed.
"Ere now!" the goblin exclaimed uncomfortably. "Don't fuss so, it's not polite."
She was upset, and she was inconsolable, and she was so confused, that she did not want to listen to anyone. Her wails continued and the goblin took another step backwards.
"If you don't stop that!" he suddenly snapped irritably. "I shall go by the other path and leave you here – alone."
She didn't want to be left alone ... not yet ... it had been so long since she'd had someone to actually talk to!
She slowly pulled herself together and allowed her hands to drop down to her sides and looked at the little goblin sadly.
"He didn't come!!" she whispered in utter devastation.
"Who didn't come?"
"Him! My lovely boy ... my sweetheart ... my lover ... he always comes to put flowers on my bed ... and to sit and talk with me for a while ... but today he didn't come!"
The goblin looked around him anxiously. "Don't you have anyone else to talk to? What about the others, can't you talk to them?"
"There are no others," she whispered in defeat. "No one else to talk to – so alone ... so lonely!" She wept a little but quietly this time, and the goblin let her be, for a moment.
"My grandma told me about you lot..." he murmured slowly as though remembering something from a long time ago. "She said that you ghosts can't see each other; and that you only want to talk to the living, that the dead have no interest for you..."
"But the living can't see us," she sighed sadly. "I sit on my stone every day and I call out to whoever is passing by ... but they never reply ... and then yesterday; they spent hours at my bed, playing around with my stone ... and then a little while later a small group of people came to admire it ... I called to them..." she smiled in remembrance. "'Look at my lovely stone' I called out ... but they never replied, and then they all went away again ... so no one EVER talks to me!"
"Except for your loved one?" the goblin offered suddenly. "Your loved one came to talk to you – you said that he did."
"Yes ... he talked to me ... he told me of his day, and his life and the people that he met with..." she smiled sadly. "But he always finished his visit with a little tear, and telling me how much he missed me – 'still ... even after all these years', he would say ... then he didn't come any more ... I've waited for days now ... maybe even weeks ... but he hasn't come!"
The goblin stepped back again suddenly – so that he could peer at her gravestone.
"It has been a lot of years; hasn't it?" he said with some surprise. "Your lovely boy wouldn't be such a boy anymore..."
"HE was always my lovely boy – to me!" she snapped.
"But not such a boy?" the goblin persisted.
She bowed her head sadly. "No not such a boy anymore," she admitted. "I watched as the vigour went from his stride ... as his shoulders began to stoop and his eyes lost their sparkle ... I watched as his hair thinned and lost its colour, and his skin began to sag..." She sniffed and then smiled defiantly at the young goblin. "But still he was my lovely boy ... my handsome lover."
The goblin regarded her thoughtfully for a moment. "It says here that you were just twenty five when you died..."
She nodded sadly. "It was a hot summer ... a VERY hot summer; I spent too long outside ... I fell asleep in the sunshine ... I don't really remember much more."
"And was your lovely boy the same age as you?" he asked softly.
"No he was a little younger than me ... it was his twenty fourth birthday, we were outside enjoying a picnic." She smiled softly as she remembered. "He was younger than me; that was why I called him my lovely boy."
"It says here that you died more than sixty years ago."
She looked at him in surprise. "Sixty years! It seems so..."
"Your lovely boy got old." The goblin persisted. "Maybe he got sick; maybe..."
She looked confused for a moment, and then slowly understanding dawned.
"The dead don't deal with the dead ... they don't see each other ... don't talk to each other..."
"It says here that he died, and now he rests with his beloved Lilly."
A devastated look crossed her features. "So close!" she whispered, "He's so close but I can't..."
She looked across at the goblin again and hope shone from her.
"You can see ghosts though ... you can see me ... can you see HIM?"
The goblin's shoulders stiffened and for a long moment he did not seem to want to reply.
"It says here..." he began slowly. "That his name was Burt ... did you have a special name for him?"
She looked at him impatiently. "I already told you once ... he's my lovely boy!"
The goblin looked pained.
"There are hundreds of them here..." he hissed at her. "And if I open myself to them all; then they will overwhelm me, and I will never be able to find a new ghost such as your boy!"
"So what can you do?" she whispered back.
"If I call him by a name that means something to him, then it will isolate just him; and draw him to me."
"So call him then ... my lovely boy ... Lilly's lovely boy!" she snapped back.
Again the goblin looked pained.
"My friends are all just on the other side of that wall ... if they hear me calling out 'lovely boy!' in the middle of a darkened cemetery ... they will NEVER let me live it down!"
"Huh!" she sniffed. "What are they to me? I want my boy ... FIND my boy!" she drifted closer to him and her look became less mournful and more dangerous.
"Oh alright then!" the goblin snapped. "But you just keep your distance – you spook you!"
She looked offended, and even a little angry, and the goblin wondered if maybe he'd said the wrong thing.
"Your energy interferes ... I can't find him, if all I can sense is you," he told her hurriedly.
She hesitated for a moment eyeing him up suspiciously; but then she glided back again and the goblin heaved a sigh of relief.
The goblin lowered his head for a moment as though summoning his energies, and then suddenly he threw his head back and called out softly; "Burt ... Lilly's boy – Burt – Lilly's lovely boy Burt!" he kept his voice low, but the power hummed through it.
He waited for a moment his head tilted as though listening ... then he called again.
"Burt ... if you're out there ... Lilly is here; she's waiting for you Burt!"
He waited silently for a moment, and then suddenly his small shoulders seemed to stiffen, and his head turned suddenly, to peer just behind Lilly.
The goblin moved quickly, so quickly that she barely had time to register his intent.
"Stay where you are!" he hissed at her as he moved behind her. "Keep facing your resting place, we don't want to frighten him, so you just keep yourself there."
As much as she wanted the goblin to help her communicate with her lost love ... she was oh so tempted to turn around and search for him herself.
'The dead don't deal with the dead... ' the old tale echoed back to her.
Her best bet here was to cooperate with the goblin and hope that he would continue to help.
"Burt..." she heard his soft whisper and again had to fight the temptation to whirl around.
"Burt ... she's here ... Lilly is here ... she's waiting for you, Burt."
He was silent for a long while, and she was beginning to get restless.
"He's here!" the goblin suddenly whispered. "How are you Burt?" he asked in a louder voice.
He was silent again, but this time he spoke after only a few moments.
"He's all confused ... he says 'one moment he was lying in a hospital bed – with people bustling around him – and the next he was in the cemetery and everyone had gone away'."
She hugged herself as she remembered those first few moments – hours – days! And her eyes filled with tears.
"Oh my sweet love!" she whispered, "it's always like that at first ... the trauma of dying is too much for us to bear – so we forget it for while."
The goblin spoke in a low voice, and then fell quiet to listen.
"He says that he still misses you – even now," the goblin stated quietly.
"I miss you too ... now!"
"He says, he hopes that you liked the dress that he picked out for you."
She looked down briefly at her dress and tugged it straight, then smoothed it with the flats of her hands.
"Yes I liked his choice VERY much," she smiled.
"He says that he chose that one because he always thought you looked beautiful in it ... like his true princess."
Her smile wobbled slightly, and she gave a soft sigh.