Monday, 13 February 2012
As we walked along Swain’s Lane toward the
cemetery, I began to wonder about getting in.
“It’ll be locked.”
Will gave me a wicked grin as he dangled a
large key in front of my nose. “Courtesy of the
Friends of Highgate Cemetery.”
“So you joined a society of ageing middle-class
snobs just to get a key?”
“No, I merely relieved one of them of the key. I
felt it was too much responsibility for her.”
Best not to delve any deeper into that little
scenario I decided. He really was a law unto himself.
When we reached the imposing gates, he did
indeed unlock them and wave me through. I gave
him a long-suffering look as I walked past him.
He locked the gates behind us, pocketing the
key, and led the way into the depths of the cemetery.
Good that I wasn’t at all scared then. I followed him
down narrow, moss-covered paths that twisted and
turned like a maze between huge Victorian tombs
and their neighbouring ivy-clad gravestones.
We passed the tomb of Queen Victoria’s dog
trainer, and startled a badger foraging for food. It
bared its ferocious yellow teeth at us, and Will bared
his own white teeth back. The badger backed off.
I looked around at the tombstones jostling
against each other, like so many uneven teeth, all
vying for the best position, with masses of dark
prolific ivy cloaking other headstones and shielding
them from human eyes.
The atmosphere was brooding and intense,
almost as though the cemetery itself was waiting for
something…or someone. Somehow, I didn’t feel
convinced we were the only supernatural visitors tonight.
Will stopped at a convenient tomb, and lowered
his lean frame to the ground. He leaned back against
the tomb, and stretched his long legs out in front of
him. As usual, he looked comfortable and completely
“Have a seat,” he patted the grass beside him.
I reluctantly sat down, being careful not to get
too close. I didn’t think I could trust him, especially
after his display of temper earlier. I doubted
whether there would ever come a time when I didn’t
feel a bit afraid of him. He, perversely, still seemed
to believe I’d hop into bed with him sometime soon,
even after everything that had happened and
everything that had been said. Incorrigible.
Hundreds of years of never being turned down, I
suspected. It would do him good to be rejected
for a change.