The sounds of the highway grew distant as the group climbed the hill towards the old town cemetery. There was still a good amount of time before dawn and the pace began to slow as they neared.

Francis always looked forward to this evening, for it only occurs one time a year. It always felt good to stretch out the soul and wonder about their old stomping grounds, seeing all the new faces. So many things had changed over the years, it was hard to believe that it once had been called home.

“You should of seen that girl’s face. White as ash, she was, hah!” Pete jousted to the group. “She kept on rubbing her eyes, then pulled a blanket tight around her. Like that would help!”

Gretchen chuckled. “Flicking the lights is always a good trick. I myself preferred slamming doors this year. It always gives cozy couples a good jostle.” She gave a little smile, wrinkling her nose.

“I just stuck with my old haunts this year.” Charles added, his broad shoulders towering above everyone else. Age hadn’t taken anything from his stature. “It’s nice to see some of my old favorites; little Amelia is already married with two of her own now.”

Francis circled his foot on the ground. “It is good to see some new views,” added Francis. “I do get bored with our usual one.”

The group echoed a resounding “Humph” in agreeance, each wearily looking from one another. The chatter began to quiet as they stood.

“Well, I thought this night was awesome!” The young (if fifty may be called young to your age) man, John, spoke up easing the mood. It was only his first year. Francis had never seen a bigger grin.

“Get some good screams, did you?” asked Pete.

John laughed, “Some of those and some funny incidents, too. I managed to tip a few drinks on some unsuspecting dates.”

Everyone laughed.

“There’s a new twist to this day,” said Gretchen.

They finally crested the wooded hill that opened to the wide high prairie holding the cemetery. Below them, the dulling lights of the city rolled onward into the dwindling night.

“All,” announced Pete. “Until next year, my friends.”

Everyone nodded, uttering little words of farewell to one another.

Francis waited back, watching for a glimpse of the rising sun. The hint of a red gleam braced the far horizon, hinting at its approaching return. He gave a quick salute to the awakening world and then wisped back into the ground that held his world that stirred beneath it.


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