“Can you guess where we are now?” The lady had stopped in the middle of a small green field, meadow really, shaded by mature trees, circles of fairy rings dotting the grass.
“I don’t know.” Robyn said, stopping next to the lady.
“The mass graves of course!” She said with a smile.
Robyn looked at her feet; she was squashing a daisy and felt very grateful for the thick boots she was wearing in the cold English spring.
“The mass graves?” she repeated, though really the name needed no explanation.
“Yes, this is where the inmates were buried.”
“Ok.” Robyn said finally.
“So this ends your tour, I will walk you back to your new cell.” Here she paused and laughed at her own joke, “Sorry, I mean apartment!”
Robyn did not laugh. She had only signed the paper work the day before and she was already sick of the jokes and had been for a while. She supposed that was what she deserved for deciding to buy an apartment in a renovated lunatic asylum.
Apart from its history, Oakwood Hall was the perfect place to live, surrounded in beautiful Middle English country side and as the name suggested, oak trees. It was newly renovated and only a cycle ride to Robyn’s new job as an assistant at the county hospital. All perfect, apart from the mad jokes.
Walking back to the building, the lady chatted away about the weather and they both got another glimpse of the more traditional graveyard that sat next to the mass pit. The old graves sat at angles now, the death dates as old as the buried, the lucky ones, the nurses and doctors, or jailers, of the hospital. Robyn has already spotted her 100 year old twin.
Then she was alone in her new apartment for the first time. She looked around, it was smart. Compact but modern with clean white lines, big windows and more importantly her own space. She slowly walked through the living room with corner kitchen, to the bed room with ensuite. It was all hers. She had earned this, worked hard for this and it was finally hers.
She sat down on the mattress on the floor. First the house, then the furniture. But it was Sunday afternoon now and a proper bed would have to wait.
She thought about what the Lady had said. June was the chair of the inhabitants committee and self-appointed tour guide for the newcomers. A small busy body, she seemed nice enough, though slightly annoying.
It was getting dark and Robyn switched on her lights and drew the curtains. It was so quiet. Her last flat had been a share in Manchester central, the lights and sirens never stopping. Here it was like the grave.