TITLE: Voices in the Dark
GENRE: YA Historical
Hawthorne sat beside his father as Reverend Logan droned on about peace and brotherhood. The Church of the Risen Christ was packed, despite the heat. Men and boys in dark suits and crew cuts, and girls and women in pastel dresses, pill-box hats, and dainty white gloves all sat waving hymnals past their pink and sweating faces. A large ceiling fan spun lazily, wafting occasional gusts of scented hair spray, aftershave, and perfume throughout the church.
"If you will all turn to page eighty-three in your hymnals," Reverend Logan said.
The fanning stopped and pages fluttered. The congregation rose to their feet. Mrs. Parson's fingers tapped on the organ keys and voices rose, out of tune and uninspired, as though their thoughts were elsewhere, perhaps on returning home to their cooling fans, their TVs and Barco-loungers, to a cold glass of lemonade or a chilled can of beer.
Hawthorne swiped at a trickle of sweat dripping down the side of his face as a fat, lazy fly buzzed by his nose. He waved a hand at it, shooing it away, and it foundered between Mr. and Mrs. Gates in the pew in front of him. The fly settled on the back of Mr. Gates' neck and rubbed its hairy legs together as if praying. Mr. Gates twitched once, twice, then reached back and smacked the fly dead.
Hawthorne jumped, and an image of a broken, battered body flashed in his mind.
I didn't kill him. I didn't.