They call me Maus because I’m “quiet as a…” No. That isn’t true. They call me Maus because I live next door to a mausoleum. That’s the unsavory truth. At least it’s not like Cemetery Girl. They riled her so much she dropped out of school. Teased her that her hair was so platinum blonde it was the color of bone. Told her that she looked like a ghost. Maybe she was dead.
All I know is when she turned sixteen, she dropped out of Roosevelt and left Creve Corpus. I don’t blame her – who wants to be living in a town called Broken Body? It was creepy. But sure, call us the spooks. If you ask me, the air always smelled a bit too much like freshly dug dirt and embalming chemicals. I wasn’t born here, and I sure as hell won’t die here.
When I turn sixteen, I wish I could leave Creve Corpus behind, but I got Mom and Nana to take care of yet. I ain’t going anywhere for a long time, but that doesn’t mean I’m planting my roots here. Can’t really stay somewhere when the folks call you Maus.
Every October, I hear kids whispering about breaking into the graveyard, daring each other to sleep with the dead. One year, there was that older girl with the septum piercing who brought a Ouija board and stayed for three days. No one chooses to live near the dead, but sometimes, it just happens. The crematorium is right down the road, and Nana knows the secrets of morticians, but at night when everyone is sleeping, I hear her whisper to the dead.
I’m not afraid of much, but I hear rustling and smell smoky incense that Mom doesn’t seem to notice. When I ask Nana about it in the morning, she merely shrugs her frail, bony shoulders and whispers,
“The dead don’t sleep.”