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Daniel scott Kilbreth Daniel scott Kilbreth
Recommendations: 2

Ludden's Crossing


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Sorry, didn't get to finish!


LUDDEN'S CROSSING 1 When at last I looked into my father's casket the gasp that escaped my lips was likely taken as appropriate grief by the others, so that was all right. The truth was that seeing that face, his face, turned upward from the blue satin pillow, eyes and mouth thankfully(and finally)sewn shut, understanding swept about me like a sudden, chill wind. It was paralyzing - he really was...dead. I faltered, and for a moment the room seemed to tilt crazily until I felt Ethan's firm, steadying grasp on my arm. His eyes flashed concern, yet he made no attempt to lead me to my spot in the receiving line (his face had gone crimson an hour earlier when I'd remarked to the suitably somber funeral director that it seemed to me "more shipping than receiving"). My own eyes tried to wander down the coffin's length of impossibly polished wood and brass, but were magnetically and forcibly drawn back to that face. His face. Whatever cosmetic potions had been employed, the result was unnervingly lifelike. I stared, transfixed, until it seemed the head was beginning turn grotesquely to face me as one eye struggled to open in a hideous, mocking wink; the mouth twisting into the familiar grin that promised - "Go!" Ethan whispered urgently, and this time his grip was strong, insistent. The sensation was that of snapping suddenly awake after nearly dozing off. I made the sign of the cross as and one last look as he half-dragged me away made me sluggishly aware that the Turnip lay still in his box. "You ready?" Ethan asked as we made our way, as rehearsed,to the line of "immediate family." I looked at him blankly. "You're already supposed to be up there." Indeed ,far, far away, Mrs. Curran, the organist, was waving sheet music with her free hand, seeking me out in her "rear view mirror," as she called it, and Father Ambrose, in his gilded chair, was looking at me and nodding. Oh, fuck. The programs in the mourners' hands called for me to be in the choir loft singing "Let There Be Peace on Earth." This was the reason that I, despite being the elder son, had been positioned at the far end of the line; I had been shown, during the rehearsal, a discrete panelled door (the one that enabled the priests and deacons to magically pop in and out of sight during Mass), through which I was to exit as that immediate family filed into the front pews. I, like a priest or a deacon, was to pass through the magic door and appear, upon the carpeted riser. And sing. "Can't," I said simply to Ethan, "can't do it." Ethan's grasp on my arm was suddenly replaced by the veined, papery skin of my grandmother's hand. She sought out my eyes through her black funeral veil. "Come, now," she said. Her words crossed the air, but I don't think she apoke. Not really. "Come on," she repeated, and as I recognized her lilac perfume, kept for best, I was through the door.


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