I thought I would share an excerpt from a new story that I am writing called Outposts….It’s a work in progress 😉
by Leigh-Anne Tyson © 2010
Flakes of old white paint jabbed into Adele’s chin as she rested it on the window sill. She stood, leaning and staring out the window at the road sprawled out in front of her aunt’s house. She watched the rows of men filing passed the front yard. They were walking silently, dressed in their long, black funeral coats with their hats pulled down low on their foreheads. The elder men passed first, followed by the middlers. Adele peered through the shoulders and bent backs, looking for her brother.
“Adele” Lucy, Adele’s aunt called from the other room. “Time to go.” Adele didn’t move. She refused to budge from where she stood, resolved to see her brother before she went with her aunt to the funeral grounds. There was still time for her to put on her boots. There was no end in the line of men yet. Adele picked at the paint chips. She pulled the white lace curtains around her back, making a tent around her, then leaned in closer to the glass. Her breath began to make the window fog. Adele poked the glass with her index finger, feeling the cool glass and wiped it away so that she could see clearly again. The men did not look up as they passed the house. They weren’t supposed to. The death of one of their own was a solemn occasion, Adele’s aunt explained. The women would follow after the men, carrying the garlands of flowers they had sewn together the day before to lay with the body before the final rites were said. Adele was old enough to walk with the women now, not that she cared. She missed her brother William too much. It had been four days since Cherish’s body was found behind the storage buildings, cold and lifeless in the brambles. The moment the Herold twins found her, the preparations began to commit her body. For Adele, it meant four days without stories from William as she fell asleep. No William to help her pour milk over her breakfast in the early morning. No William to hold her hand as they walked to the school house. No William. She missed him terribly.
“Adele, please, you need to put your boots on now.” Lucy said. Adele looked over her shoulder and saw her aunt standing in the doorway between the kitchen and living room.
“I just want to see him.” Adele said. She turned back and continued watching out the window.
“I know you do.” Lucy said gently. She walked to the window and lifted the curtain. She looked at her young niece with quiet eyes. “You still need to wear boots to the grounds.” Adele didn’t look at her but nodded. Lucy held out a boot to Adele. Not taking her eyes off the road, Adele balanced her chin on the sill, and tried to yank her boot onto her foot at the same time. She just managed to pull it on when Adele spotted William in the crowd.
“There he is!” she cried. She jumped up and down excitedly, waving through the window. She saw he was walking alone behind two middlers that she did not recognize. She thought he looked very handsome in his coat. Adele waved again to get her brother’s attention. Even though he wasn’t supposed to look around while in procession, Adele watched him turn his head towards the house. He saw her in the window, and he smiled. William lifted his hand in a small wave. The man walking in front of him suddenly looked back at William and frowned. Adele grinned through the glass. She waited until he had disappeared around the bend before she turned to her aunt and grabbed her other boot. Adele shoved her other foot inside and ran to the door.
“Wait Adele, your coat!” Lucy called after her, shaking her head. Adele burst outside before Lucy could catch her. Adele ran to the fence that lined the front yard and leaned over. She knew better than to shout after William. Adele would not be allowed to walk with the women if she did. She strained to catch another glimpse of her brother but could not, as Lucy herded her into her itchy wool coat and guided her back to the house to wait for the women to arrive.
“We will say goodbye to Cherish this afternoon” Adele listened to her aunt talking over her head as they walked. “She was just your age.” Lucy said. It was the first time Adele heard a catch in her aunt’s voice. Adele looked up at her, but Lucy was staring off in the distance. They walked the rest of the way side by side, and met the waiting group of women in silence.