Mary stared blankly at the coin sitting on top of her cousin’s headstone. Evan had been killed in action years ago, but Mary still visited his grave often. Mary’s shaking hand reached out to steady herself against the cool marble of the stone. It supported her the way that Evan did when he was alive. Mary saw a lot of coins on Evan’s headstone. A penny was left after someone visited. They left a nickel if they trained with him and a dime if they served with him. You only left a quarter if you were with someone when they died.
Evan was separated from his squadron before he was killed. Mary didn’t know all of it through the tangle of classified red tape, but she knew that Evan died alone. So why was there a bright and shiny quarter sitting on top of his grave? The light reflecting off the quarter blurred along with the rest of Mary’s vision as her eyes filled with tears. The single thought in her mind was an echoing question. Who left a quarter on Evan’s grave?
Felicity knew that visiting the young man’s grave had been low risk, but it was the first thing connected to her old life she’d done since she went into hiding. She couldn’t help being a little bit paranoid. Felicity changed buses again, swapping out her wig and clothing between them. It had been a foolish thing to do, to visit the grave, but when she’d noticed the cemetery on a map it had nagged at her: especially with Sally suddenly waxing poetic about the importance of keeping promises.
Felicity had never intended to keep her promise to Evan. Her promise to leave a coin at his grave. She thought it was just his way of forcing her to get his body back to the USA and she’d done that. It had been easy to arrange for his squadron to find the corpse. Now that Felicity lived an extended bus ride away from the military cemetery where he was interred it was harder to think of an excuse for why she shouldn’t go. No one would be watching for her there Going would fulfill a dead man’s last request, something that all of her rational mind said didn’t matter because the dead were dead. Except apparently now it mattered to her.
So Felicity went. She thought about the young man she’d had the brief privilege to know. Felicity stood at the head stone, uncertain of what she should be feeling. In the end, Felicity sighed and put a quarter on the marble marker, unhappy, but unable to truly regret her actions that day. It seemed a bit macabre for her to leave a quarter there. Then again, Evan would probably appreciate the irony. That was the kind of guy he was.
This story was a lot of fun. It was more subtle than the others, and very short!