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Small children don’t step out of cars like adults do. They’re limited by their size to either leap, squirm, or fall out once the door has opened. Jake jumped from his father’s backseat, landed in the perfectly maintained grass of Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, and raced forward into the vast city of cataloged expiration. His parents stepped slowly behind him, debating which row the grave was in and whether they’d parked under this same tree last time. Their three-year-old faded in and out of view, blazing westward through the plots and rows.

“Don’t get lost,” his mother called with her back turned to the boy, her attention focused on locating her grandmother’s grave somewhere in the distance. Little did they know, they were the ones who were lost, not him. When Jake jumped from the car, he had not chosen to run, instead his body was carried along the pallbearer’s parade route by some unknown reflex.

His father was the first to admit to being lost and decided it would be best to ask for directions back at the main office. They called for the boy, but Jake ignored their repeated requests. Instead, he stared silently at the patch of grass in front of him.

“Jake, let’s go,” his mother instructed, slipping her hand over his shoulder. As both parents joined him around his great-grandmother’s gravestone, a tingling sensation crawled up through the earth.

“I used to be down there,” he stated.

Jake Troxell Headshot

Jake Troxell grew up in Warrington, Pennsylvania on an unbalanced diet of horror movies and amateur theology. He has had a lifelong passion for creating heartfelt stories through words and art. He is the author of Takers and Stay.