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Chapter One

M looked up. It was quiet with an expectant hush. Everyone seemed to be looking at him.

The good Reverend repeated his invitation with a hand gesture to M and his sister and his aunt to come up and stand next to the gaping holes in the ground. He knew from prior prepping he wasn't supposed to say anything. Nobody expected the next of kin to speak, especially since he was thirteen and Jessie only six. His aunt nudged him to get up. She actually prodded him so hard his whole arm moved. The trembling, mascara-tracked face of his Aunt Jane bore into him and then she jerked her chin toward the Reverend. She wanted him to get off his ass as they had rehearsed and go stand by the graves. He waited until his sister also stood, then they both walked together up to the abyss.

It was dark down there, but he could make out the top of the two different caskets in their two separate holes. The only reason he could tell them apart was because he had thrown a major fit. It was the only time during this whole unending affair he had really put forth anything, but he was insistent that the two caskets be different.

He wanted his mother's to be a very light color and his father's to be dark. He would not be placated. Even after the funeral director tried to make him understand that with the package that had been purchased so many miserable years before only included the Crown Premier caskets and they were all the same, don't you see. It was not possible to change them.

Unless, of course, you have an asshole kid throwing a fit in your mortuary where the next clients were due any minute.

So, his father got the crap brown, standard metal casket that came with the burial package. His mother's was now the Heavenly Rose Petal and was, as you would expect, rose colored. He hoped his mother would've liked the color.

Now as he stared down, it was easy to see which was which.

No, neither he nor Jessie was supposed to speak. They were to remain mute. Maybe cry, if tradition held, but otherwise not hold up the proceedings. Everyone just wanted this to be done.

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