The Monument

One month after his wife’s burial, Lionel was once again at her grave. As before, he spent his time grieving, hurting. Being there seemed to be the only solace he could find these days.

Kneeling with his face pressed against the ground, tears welled from his eyes and wet the grass. Wanting to be ever closer to her, he laid flat on the ground, prostrate.

Rising above Lionel was the grave monument – significant and imposing. Its base, made of granite, was solid and strong – a rectangular headstone with the words “Beloved Wife” carved into the stone. In addition was his wife’s name and birth / death dates. On the headstone sits a grand statue of a skeleton with both arms outstretched, as if gently reaching out to whom ever visits the grave, begging to touch and comfort them.

“I don’t know why she chose this,” he thought to himself. “I thought she picked the angel. At least that would have been more gentle, caring, and hopeful. This thing – this macabre set of granite bones – only represents death. Oh Ava, why did you have to leave me so soon? ”

Lionel decided it was time to go. He stood and looked directly into the sunken eye sockets of the gruesome skeleton. The sockets were empty and dark against the bright grey of the granite. Did its teeth and jaw show a hint of a smile? Moving his gaze downward, the outstretched bony arms and hands looked, in an odd way, comfortable, reassuring, and inviting.

A few years pass and Lionel was much better. He seemed his old self. He had been in a ‘fog’ since Ava’s death, up until a year ago. He had rejoined society and moved on.

That morning, he visited a friend, Miss Barb, an elderly Tarot Reader he and his wife both knew and admired. His fondness for her grew as she had helped him occasionally with his grief. For this visit, he brought fresh Starbucks and a dozen donuts. She loved and drank a ton of coffee, and could down two apple fritters in one sitting.

“It’s remarkable,” exclaimed Miss Barb. “You seem like a brand new person. Would you like a reading?”

“Sure,” said Lionel. “I don’t have any questions in particular. I guess just something of a general outlook.”

“Here you go,” said Miss Barb. Offering the deck of Tarot cards, she said, “Choose one.”

Lionel drew the Two of Cups. Without even knowing what it represents, he smiled because of the seemingly joyful imagery. On the card, a man and woman toast each other affectionately. It reminds Lionel of an engagement or wedding.

“That’s exactly what it means,” said Miss Barb. “A union is at hand for you. Have you met or been thinking about anyone recently?”

“Actually, yes,” said Lionel. “I’ve been dating. It’s been going really well and I think I’m in love. I’m going to ask her to marry me.”

“Well then, if that is the case, the card you chose is spot on,” said Miss Barb. “This partnership will be long-lasting.”

A few weeks later, Lionel was ready to propose and marry again. He was at Ava’s gravesite, visiting. The sun, low and red in the sky that late afternoon, acted as a spotlight, illuminating the grave and the granite monument.

Lionel held the new engagement ring in between his fingers. After spinning it a few times, he began:

“Ava, I’m ready to move on. This ring is a new beginning for me. She’s a good woman – caring, loving, funny. She makes me smile. She loves me, I know. I’m in love with her. I want to marry her.” He looked at the skeleton, and it blankly stared back.

“I’m telling you this because I want your blessing. I want to know that you approve. Let me know that you approve, Ava.”

Lionel held out the ring toward the monument. “See,” he said.

The ring slipped and fell to the ground. He bent down to pick it up. Quickly standing, he hit his head hard on one of the outstretched arms and knocked himself out.

The following afternoon, around the same time when the sun was low in the sky lighting the monument, Miss Barb visited her friend Ava. With flowers in hand, she slowly bent down and placed them on the grave. After a moment of silence, she stood and looked at the granite monument. Her eyes transfixed and a look of concern flashed across her face.

Before, where the skeleton had both arms empty and outstretched, it now carried another form – a second granite skeleton – sleeping or lifeless, and holding a ring in between its fingers.


This is Dante P Ramon, your host and author of The Dark Reading, a collection of original scary stories inspired by Tarot cards. I invite you to follow my website as I present new stories on a weekly basis. I also record and distribute my stories via podcast. So, visit us on the web at, and feel free to share The Dark Reading with your friends.

I just picked the Death card, so good night for now.


Season 1 Episode 24.

©2021 The Dark Reading. All Rights Reserved.

This, and all stories on The Dark Reading are original and written by Dante P. Ramon.

All third party marks are the property of their respective owners.


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