The Caretaker

Sunlight washes the first glass pane of the Caretaker’s living room window—a large vertical window separated into three rows of three white-framed panes.

“Good morning, Lonnie.”

The bright blue sky paints the second window pane.

“No… not really.”

“Why not?”

Cirrus clouds brush the sky in the third window pane.

“The sky is… wrinkled today. It’s ruined.”

“The sky is an endless beauty. It’s not ruined, Lonnie.”

“Wrinkles are scars carved by the abusive hands of time. I can’t… stand to look at them anymore.”

“Look at the open wounds underneath that blue skin instead. All the open graves I have left to fill. My cemetery is wounded.”

Framed within the fourth window pane, a beautiful statue of a girl sits idly, surrounded by open graves—gaping mouths crying out for her attention.

“Your cemetery is wounded… and infected with the hideous sight of that wretched girl. You wasted your time sculpting her.”

“As the immortal caretaker of Ascension Lawn Cemetery, ‘waste time’ is part of my job description, right below ‘feed the dead to the giant under the cemetery to stop him from devouring the world.’ I always wanted to be a father. That girl is my granite illusion of a mortal life.”

“You want me to apologize… for my inability to bear a child? I saved you from the heartache of having to bury one.”

In the fifth window pane, the Caretaker’s reflected face is grabbed by the hand-shaped crown of a large tree, with leafless branches outstretched like withered fingers.

“Yet here I am, suffocating. I’m trapped in pain.”

A mausoleum is housed within the sixth window pane.

“Your love for me has become… an empty tomb.”

“I am an empty tomb.”

The seventh window pane frames a group of headstones like a family photograph.

“You yearn for a mortal life. You yearn for… a family. You yearn to die and have your loved ones become emotional headstones for you, petrified in mourning… day and night. Until they become physical headstones for their loved ones. Be happy with the graveyard you already have.”

“I wanted a family of flesh and bones, not a family of headstones.”

Seen through the eighth window pane, a parked pickup truck is loaded with corpses ready to be fed to the giant under the cemetery.

“Are you… not attracted to me anymore? Is that it? Is it my skin? Have you grown tired of this one? I can change into another. I’m sure there are young women in that pile you brought yesterday… untouched by the lustful hands of rot. Or is it hopeless? Perhaps the flayed skin of youth fails to hide time’s abuse scarred on my skin. Am I… ruined?”

“You’re not ruined, Lonnie. You’re…”

“What am I?”

The ninth window pane is broken, covered with a black plastic bag taped in place.

“Longevity is… the endless beauty I’ve grown tired of.”