On a sunny March day, with not a cloud in the sky and the temperature bordering on pleasant, Dylan was in the basement, playing with his toy cars while his dad was getting ready. His older sister Deanna was just out of the shower from the way it sounded, and she was stomping around looking for her purse, cell phone, and everything she managed to cram into the purse. Dylan had already finished getting ready to go out. He had his Sunday Best clothes on. He hated wearing the tie, even though it was a clip on, made to go on the kind of suit that nine year olds usually hated to wear. He wanted to be playing with the cars outside, but his dad had forbidden him to go outside until they were all ready to leave.
There was a draft or something, Dylan thought. It felt much colder in the basement than it usually did. It had happened a few times over the last couple of months. When he moved away from the window, it got warmer. That was about the opposite of what he expected to happen. It was just one more weird thing happening in a year of a lot of weird things happening. First there was dad losing his job, that girl from the church saying mean things about his dad, mom moving out of the house, and now his family was all getting ready to go out on a Saturday when they’d normally be doing yard work, or at most, going shopping. This draft, or whatever it was, caught up to him. He moved to another part of the room, where he had his Hot Wheels track set up. Sure enough, it got colder there, too. His dad called him then, and told him it’s time to go, so Dylan started up the stairs. When he sees Deanna, he asks her if she was calling him too. She says no. It was strange. Dylan could have sworn he heard a girl’s voice talking to him a moment ago. He didn’t want to say anything. The last time he did, he had to go to that doctor that asked him all kinds of personal questions, most of which he didn’t know how to answer. The doctor made him feel uncomfortable, so he wasn’t about to tell Dad or Deanna anything about hearing things again.
They got into Dad’s car, a beige 2008 Toyota Camry that the Toyota Corporation insisted was “Desert Sand Mica”. Dylan loved cars. He had since he was a baby. He read the car magazines when Dad was finished with them, or at least looked at the pictures, and by the time he was seven, he could name the make, model and year of the cars on the highway. Well...most of them. The performance and luxury cars for sure. Cars like this Camry didn’t really excite him. There was nothing wrong with it, it just wasn’t interesting to him. Dylan remembers when Dad had a much nicer car. He said he had to sell it last year, because there was no reason to have a big car like a BMW 760Li. It was black, with a black leather interior, tinted windows and black and silver custom wheels. When it was clean, which Dad made sure it always was, it was an amazing looking car. This Camry was just kind of...there. Dad never really talked about why he sold the BMW, but Dylan knows there’s more to the story than he is being told. Then there was the guy from the church; Nathan his name was. He used to have an old Dodge Stealth sports car that he raced at the drag strip and sometimes at the shopping mall when the Auto Sport Club had slalom races there, and would let Dylan watch, and even help sometimes, as he worked on the engine or did paint and body work on it. He was a cool guy. He never picked on Dylan like some of Dylan’s classmates did. He always listened to Dylan and every now and then he’d tell Dylan stories about how he grew up, and how to deal with kids who picked on him. Dylan wanted to be able to race cars when he was older, too. As he got into the back seat and put on his seat belt, he thought to himself that all things being equal, today was a lousy day for a funeral.