‘Ok,’ said Mrs Crow, poking at the security guard with her black booted foot. ‘we need to hurry. His partner will be down in a minute to check on him and although he’s -‘
‘He’s not dead is he?’ asked Joe, taking in the security guard’s lack of movement and deathly pale face.
‘Of course, he’s not dead! What do you take me for?’ screamed Mrs Crow. ‘A murderer?!’
The security guard’s walky-talky began to crackle again. ‘Harry? You there, Harry? I’m coming straight down!’
‘Azrail, get…’ but Mrs Crow’s words disappeared as her eyes clouded over and her knees began to buckle.
‘Not again!’ screeched Azrail running forwards to catch her. He whipped out his long arms and managed to catch her before she fell to the floor. He scooped her up into his arms. ‘Come on,’ he said, turning to Joe, ‘follow me!’
Joe did as he was told and set off after Azrail.
Azrail’s long legs were striding off at a pace despite his old age and the fact that he was carrying Mrs Crow. Although, Joe doubted Mrs Crow weighed that much as she looked even more like a skeleton than when he’d first met her earlier that day. He looked at her skeletal arm poking out from under her black cloak. It looked old, really old, and nobbly and skinny and reminded him of an old gnarly oak branch.
There was a loud noise, like the sound of an aeroplane taking off and then a big pause before the noise started again.
Joe looked at Mrs Crow’s head bobbing up and down and realised she was snoring. He was amazed that such a loud noise could come from such a small old woman.
Azrail was bounding across the cemetery at a great pace and Joe was struggling to keep up, what with the bumpy grass and the tree roots snaking across the ground but, after what seemed like forever, they were back at the entrance to the cemetery.
The horses and carriage loomed tall before them. The first horse scraped his big black hoof across the road impatiently and snorted. His breath escaped in a blast of white against the night’s sky.
‘Get off me!’ screeched Mrs Crow bolting upright in Azrail’s arms. She began to flap her arms at him and he dropped her to the floor.
‘Sorry, but it happened again,’ said Azrail, taking his top hat off and bowing apologetically.
‘That doesn’t mean you get to carry me like a sack of spuds you great oaf!’
‘No, sorry Ma’am,’ said Azrail, bowing low again.
‘You great imbecile, get to the horses.’
‘Yes, of course.’ Azrail disappeared to the front of the carriage.
‘And what are you looking at?’ she screeched at Joe.
Joe stood there, frozen, like a rabbit caught in headlights. Was he having a bad dream? Because he hadn’t a clue what the hell was going on.
‘Well? What are you waiting for? Do you want to be caught here? With a security lying on his back?’
Mrs Crow stamped her foot on the floor. ‘Well get to the front of the carriage then!’
Joe did as he was told.