Unlike the other sections of this graveyard crowded with tall stately tombstones, elaborate crypts, and graves arranged side by side, this one was alone and covered in weeds.

She was filthy and exhausted by the time she’d fully uncovered the small headstone. A man lay at rest here. She pulled out her small torch from her back pocket and shone it. Some letters were hard to read.

Matthew Ro.. Livin..on.

Abbie forgot her little hurts as her heart broke for this forgotten man. Even his full name was missing. No one had brought him flowers or told him they loved him.

“Hello, Matthew,” she said. “My name is Abbie. You’re not going to be alone anymore. We’re going to be good friends, all right?

She spent the rest of the afternoon telling him all about her plans for winning a spelling bee, how she hated a boy named Ducky because he called her mother a witch and that she planned to become a doctor and cure people of cancer and other horrid diseases.

“I also made a new friend today. Her name’s Judith Chan. She must be shy ‘cause she didn’t say a word at lunch.”

As they spoke, she invented a life for Matthew as she had for every other of her BFFs who lay here quietly. Her mom once joked that she was a born storyteller. In this story, Matthew was a handsome prince with a beautiful but wicked wife who ran off with another man, leaving Matthew to die alone of heartbreak.

By the end of their conversation, the sun had set, suggesting it was time to go home. She stood, but found herself reluctant to leave. Matthew shouldn’t have to spend another night alone and forgotten. Separated from everyone he knew and loved.

“I’ll be back tonight,” she promised him. “I know how we can be together forever, so you won’t be lonely. All right?”

Later that night, as the clock struck midnight downstairs, upstairs in her bedroom, Abbie pulled on her dark brown dungarees over her PJs, tied her long hair up in a high ponytail, and snuck out of the house in her trainers, with two stolen tools tucked into her rucksack.

Her brother Colin wouldn’t miss his tools because she planned to return them to his room before he woke up. Tonight, she needed them for an important errand.

It took her a half hour to sprint to St. Michael’s church. Once beside Matthew’s grave, Abbie unpacked her rucksack, and, holding her torch between her teeth, she took out the chisel and hammer.

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