GENRE: YA Fantasy
Snow banks surrounded the rectangular island of artificial grass. The pallbearers approached using the snow-blown path, their cheeks red from the cold. The crunching of the snow beneath their boots punctuated the sounds of grief. Kathryn stared at her dad’s lifeless eyes as he adjusted his grip on the casket.
Kathryn’s father always said that hope kept the family together. Wondering if they would now be torn apart, Kathryn looked at her scuffed black boots. Damn Vermont weather. Mom would never approve of black slacks and boots at her funeral. Hope Merlangten died on Christmas Eve at the age of 40 less than a mile from home.
The smell of alcohol made her look up as her father joined her on her right. Her brother Donny, in the crisp uniform of a marine, took his place at her left with a grim smile. Thank God he was here on leave. Her dad wasn’t able to handle the funeral arrangements. He’d locked himself in their room for two days, emerging at last red-eyed and mute.
Kathryn stared at the casket, ignoring the words of the priest’s prayer. Its maple finish reminded her of the immaculate bookshelf in the study. Her mother had dusted it every week along with her prized family pictures. Tears rolled down Kathryn’s cheeks, dripping off her chin onto her clasped hands. She’d never see her mother smile at those pictures again.