TITLE: Malian Summer
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy
It was seventy degrees and windy the day Grandpa died at Grandma’s funeral. Not a bad day, aside from the whole death thing.
Grandpa keeled over and his feet got tangled up in the ropes that lowered Grandma’s coffin. All I can see when I think back are those ancient wing-tips of his sticking up in the air.
“Grandma loved these shoes on me, Tristan,” he told me that morning. I was helping him get dressed in his room. It still smelled like Grandma—alive, I mean. She had a talcum powder obsession. Who uses that stuff anymore?
I was so busy trying to hold my breath I didn’t say anything about the shoes. Besides, I was wearing my checkerboard Vans, so I figured if he didn’t pick on mine I wouldn’t say anything about his. I knew whose were more comfortable, though.
I was watching the wind just before he fell at the funeral. It played around, sending old Kleenexes skittering and messing with everyone’s best black clothes. All of a sudden it got stronger and I felt it touch my face—you know how they say that? The wind touches your face? Nobody really means it. It’s just a metaphor. Well, this wind really touched my face. I mean, I thought it had fingers and everything. I jumped, my cousin Casey turned and stared at me, and Grandpa died. Just like that—right into the grave.