The next morning, Adam and Angela made the turn off the county road to the Church driveway just after nine a.m. It was already hot and muggy, worse than yesterday. As they got out of the car, Adam looked over at Angela.
“Mind if I introduce you to my Mom?” he asked.
She looked at him, one eyebrow raised.
“Show you her grave, say hi, and show you some of my favorite stones?” he asked.
The grave yard was laid out beside the Chapel on a gentle slope. The Pastor’s headstone was the closest to the church with the oldest stones ranging around it in a semi-circle. Celia Brown’s grave stone was small, almost flat, only her name and dates engraved on it.
“She died five years ago,” he said softly as he traced the last date with his finger. Angela knelt down beside him. “She was old, she was happy. Never left the County.” He smiled sadly. “Never needed to!” she would always say. “She always wanted to visit Knoxville. Or Lexington, or almost anywhere there was a big library.” He pause again. “She never said that without immediately denying that she really wanted to.’ Too much trouble’, she would say. ‘Too many people, too expensive. Too much sin!’
Adam and Angela continued wandering around the graveyard after that, and he introduced her to dead relatives and high school friends.
At one point, Angela commented. “I thought all gravestones are supposed to face east. Something about resurrection or something. Most of these face the Pastor’s Stone.”
“They all do. That’s the way Pastor wanted it.”
“No they don’t. Some face the opposite way.”
“Well your mother’s for one. And here! Here’s another one.”
They were standing in front of one of Adam’s favorites, an old stone about four feet high, a rounded top, with a poem and a stylized willow tree carved on it. He had to look twice, to realize Angela was right —the carving was on the side away from the pastor’s stone and the church.
He was silent, and then said, “I used to clean the moss off the picture so I could see it better. But yeah… the moss is all on the other side now. Weird.”
He went back to his mother’s stone. “It slants the wrong way! It’s supposed to slant toward the Pastor’s stone not away. Damn! Who changed it around?!” He was getting angry. “Where’s Billy?! If he’s been fu— ”
“Adam! You’re in a graveyard! Have some decency!”
“Billy hasn’t got the brains or the time to do this stuff . Anyway, your mother’s stone isn’t the only one that is facing different.”
It was true. The more the two of them looked, the more stones they found. Oddly, the stones that were ‘wrong’ were clean and standing straighter than many of the others.
“It’s time to find Billy,” Adam said. “Find out what’s going on here.”