Chapter 1 - Cemetery Gates
Summer vacation started yesterday. I hate school. I hate summer too, but at least this way there are no early mornings and two whole months without pep rallies.
It’s also time for summer solstice, so the sun doesn’t dip behind the mountains until after ten. I went to the cemetery and looked at the graves. I’m getting more morbid every day. I picked out my burial plot. It’s the most pathetic patch of grass within the fence. It doesn’t overlook anything but the highway out of town. That’s the way all the graves point. It’s such a small cemetery, so my plot will probably be gone if I don’t buy it. Pity, I have no money.
Kerry turned over in her bed. It was eleven forty-eight a.m. She should get out of bed, but she refused to stir as she glared at her alarm clock. It wasn’t past noon yet, so she couldn’t get up.
She could hear Aaron in the living room. Her younger brother was watching Saturday morning wrestling. He didn’t even like wrestling. He just couldn’t think of anything else to do besides watch T.V.
Kerry wasn’t like that. She hated T.V. She hated sports. She hated cooking.
Her only interest was delving deeper into the dark waters of her own consciousness. She spent hours reading the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickenson. She liked to examine art that made her feel like the person who painted it felt one-tenth of the depth of emotion that she did. Who knew if anyone had ever felt exactly the way she did?
She didn’t know how to describe it. Life was a wasteland. Grade nine was wretched. Grade ten couldn’t be any better. Her schoolmates were always the same. She’d been with the same fifty kids since grade two and she didn’t know that even one of them was anything akin to her. It wasn’t that they were unkind to her. It was like she was a ghost who moved through their halls. They all knew she was there, but they would rather pretend that she wasn’t.
Now summer had begun and she knew how it would go. Her mother was an LPN in the city and she worked long hours during the school year. Summer made no change in her schedule. Kerry’s father was an on-again-off-again figure. Sometimes he was around. Sometimes he wasn’t. So, Kerry would cook for her helpless brother and overworked mother. The meals she scrounged up were less than pretty, but at least they would eat. Not that Kerry cared whether the lot of them starved.
That was her life.
She rolled over and pushed herself out of bed. Now it was twelve-o-one, so she could get up. She had some idea of going back to the cemetery that day after she finished her chores.
Besides cooking, Kerry only had one chore. It was her job to go out and pick the litter off their front yard. They lived two doors down from the only convenience store in town, so there were always candy wrappers and empty slushie cups stuck in the grass. If someone didn’t pick it up regularly, it would get to be a mess, like their next-door neighbor’s, and regardless of their continual troubles, Kerry’s mother couldn’t stand the trash.
The sun was bright as Kerry picked up the garbage. She worked all the way to the property line. Even with the gigantic ‘No Trespassing’ sign out front, the house beside theirs was turning into a trash heap. Kerry didn’t know much about the old lady who lived there – only that she was a famous crab. As she stood there, there was a nagging in her heart that she ought to help out and tidy up the lady’s lawn, too, but she wasn’t sure if she would get yelled at for crossing the property line. In the end, Kerry turned away and went back into the house.
By two o’clock, she was ready to head down to the cemetery, but as soon as she’d walked a block, she saw that it wasn’t a good day to go. There was a hearse in the church parking lot.
Two things stopped Kerry from going to the funeral. The first one was that funerals were social occasions in her small town. If she went, she would undoubtedly be spoken to by at least half a dozen people and she didn’t want to talk to anyone. The second reason was that she didn’t know who had died. Likewise, in a small town, she should have heard.
Turning around, she headed back towards home.
Author's Notes: Hi Ink Drinkers! I will be uploading new chapters of this on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'm experimenting with shorter chapters. Enjoy!