I Share A Room With My Autistic Brother. He’s Been Talking A Lot In His Sleep.

I can’t wake up from this nightmare.

The officers told us that they needed to keep track of us, and asked if we’d ride with them. Anna’s parents went with one officer, I went with the other—a young guy named Officer Herron.

Herron drove through the streets with his brights on, and before long I found myself recounting all of the events of recent weeks. We must have talked for nearly ten minutes before we came to the edge of our town’s enormous cemetery. I debated calling my parents to tell them to check on Lucas, but Herron’s voice turned my attention toward other matters. “Oh shit, that’s her,” he said. I looked up. As we slowed, the squad car’s headlights bathed the southern fence of the cemetery in an eerie glow, providing just enough light for us to see the girl climbing over it. Anna dropped gracelessly on the other side, clambered to her feet, and sprinted into the darkness.

We parked the car on the side of the road as Herron put in a call for backup. He looked at me gravely. “She was attacked by somebody the last time this happened?” I nodded. He unholstered his weapon. “Wait in the car,” he said, opening his door. I opened mine and followed him. He didn’t stop me.

We climbed over the fence without hesitation, and when we landed on the other side, Herron mumbled something into his radio. He pulled a flashlight from his belt and shone it in the direction Anna had run. It was a maze of headstones, and she was nowhere to be seen. Herron called out Anna’s name as we stepped into the mass of graves, legions of the dead beneath our feet.

Herron held his gun and his flashlight together, frantically mowing his beam over the grass. Trees and larger headstones obscured most of our view. She could have been anywhere. I called out Anna’s name, but Herron shushed me and turned his light off. “Jesus,” he whispered. “Do you feel that?” I did. The moon gave just enough light to see the terror inside me reflected on his face. Something had suddenly begun to feel very, very wrong.

We stood in absolute silence until a faint scratching noise caused Herron to flick his light on and whirl around. Anna was about 100 meters away, kneeling at a grave, clawing frantically at the earth with her bare hands.

Herron and I looked at one another with dread. “Let’s go get her,” he said, and he sounded as though he’d rather be anywhere else in the world.

We approached Anna cautiously, our unease growing with every step. She made no notice of us when we reached her, nor when Herron’s light illuminated the grave at which she knelt.

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