GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy
Dad jumped up from the table as we entered, his face puffy and his
eyes were lined with red streaks that made him look as if his body was
bleeding from the inside out.
Mom was dead, he said.
Emma sat beside me. Neither of us had spoken or moved from our chairs
for hours. I squeezed my toes as hard as I could again; a trick Mom
had taught me to hide my nervousness or embarrassment. Everyone could
see you cry, but no one knew if you curled your toes.
My toes started to tingle as I scanned the group of grownups at the
back of the room. They were Dad’s family, cousins, older people we
saw sometimes at holidays, and a lot of people I didn’t recognize.
Most of them wore black. One of the grownups looked at me and
frowned. I looked at my black tennis shoes and unclenched my toes.
The heat spread and stung. I tucked my knees up on the chair and
wrapped my arms around them, resting my head.
I didn’t much like the smell of this place. Too many flowers and
cleaning chemicals. Emma told me there were bodies in the basement,
other dead people. Mom wasn’t a body anymore, she was ashes.
Dad kept saying funny things to our relatives. “She would have wanted
that.” “It’s what’s best for now.” “I don’t know what I’m going to
Dad said that Mom wanted to be ashes. It was tradition.