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A Difficult Funeral, aka scene from Dowser 1.5

September 20, 2013

And the WINNER via random number generator is #3 = DALENE from CLEVELAND!! Congrats, Dalene! Mailing the paperback to you ASAP.

This 1300 word flash fiction — inspired by the Spin the Wheel of Conflict challenge issued by Chunk Wendig — is set three weeks after the events in my urban fantasy novel, Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic. As such, it contains SPOILERS for that story. Please read the following at your own risk … wow, that sounds ominous.

If you want to win a paperback of Cupcakes (Etc) WITHOUT SPOILERS please skip to the very end of this post.

Also, this has not been professionally edited or proofed (yet), but I hope you enjoy getting a glimpse of Jade in between novels none-the-less.

—————————-

I hadn’t been sure what shoes to wear. What shoes I was supposed wear to the funeral of the man my sister murdered and then ate.

Actually, I had that order wrong — consistently — in my head. But I couldn’t seem to bear the understanding when I reversed it.

So, yeah. Shoes. And cupcakes. I baked cupcakes. A new recipe, but I didn’t mention that part to anyone.

It wasn’t really a funeral, as in a ceremony set in a church or anything formal. Rather a day set aside by the family for grieving … for saying condolences.

Gran had insisted we make an appearance. But now, faced with the dingy around the edges Georgian mansion of the Novaks, I wasn’t sure I could do it. I wasn’t sure I’d make it out in one piece. Mentally. With Gran and Scarlett by my side, no one would lift more than a sneer to me. If that. The Godfrey coven was formidable. A fact I’d only just learned even though I’d been a de facto member for twenty-three years now. I’d chosen boots instead of shoes. My black Babycake Minis, to be exact. The Vancouver spring had been unusually warm and dry. But today, it was appropriately threatening to rain.

“Ten minutes,” Scarlett murmured to my right. I was getting a crook in my neck from staring up at the house. The Novaks were old money, as old as money got in Canada. But I hadn’t known that until Scarlett turned the car towards Shaughnessy five minutes before we’d arrived. I’d hoped the drive would take longer.

Scarlett brushed her fingers down my arm. Her charismatic magic tingled in a wake across my skin. I should have worn a sweater, not just a black lace scarf. And the boots were wrong too. Not formal enough.

Gran stepped forward, and I automatically followed. She’d rolled her long gray braid in a bun today. That was as formal as she got. Scarlett, of course, outshone us all — in her navy dress that was cut just so and the perfect length — as always. Her strawberry blond hair gleamed against the gray backdrop of the cloudy day.

“Should we be here?” I asked and not for the first time. No one answered me. They’d stopped after the first two times.

Other cars lined the curved driveway. We’d parked at the curb. Vancouver boasted a very small Adept community, but this was still a tiny turnout. And we were late.

As we approached, I could feel the magic of the Adept gathered in the house even with the familiar taste of Scarlett and Gran beside me.

Something caught my eye and I looked toward the blooming rhododendron bushes edging the property. The vampire, Kett, showed himself to me and then slipped further into the shadows. His presence didn’t help. Sienna had tried to kill us all not three weeks ago. I didn’t need the reminder.

A necromancer opened the door. Not Rusty’s mother or sister, who I’d never met, but some familial connection. I could tell by the underlying taste of her magic. An aunt, perhaps.

She smiled tightly at Gran. “Pearl. Thank you for coming.”

“We won’t stay,” Gran answered.

We stepped into the entrance way. It was marble. Stairs, the carpet runner down the middle worn with use, swooped up from in front of us to the second floor. A few more Adepts —  their magic tingling my senses — stood through an archway that led to the drawing room. They’d all stopped to pretend they weren’t staring at us.

Someone — deeper in the house — was weeping. The handle of the plastic tray I was holding cracked in my hand. The cupcakes tumbled to the side. Three landed on the ground before I steadied the tray. A boy, his features painfully similar to Rusty’s, darted forward to pick the cupcakes up.

“Oh, so sorry,” the necromancer aunt said. “I should’ve taken those. You’re lovely for bringing them.”

Her apology hit me in the gut. I smiled. My clenched jaw shot pain into my temple, which was good as it cleared my head a little. “My condolences,” I said as I passed the tray to her. I kept the broken piece of plastic clutched in my left hand. The boy — a cousin I guessed from my little knowledge of the familial line — placed the three squashed cupcakes on the tray and then carried the whole thing through to the drawing room.

The person — a girl, I thought — was still crying. It was obvious that no one but I could hear her.

“Those cupcakes won’t last five minutes,” the necromancer said. I was fairly certain I was supposed to know her name though she was from out of town.

I wondered if she was here for moral support during the tribunal that was set to start Monday. I hoped so.

“Danica?” Gran asked.

“Of course. Please, this way,” the necromancer said. She turned to lead us into the drawing room.

I followed Gran. Scarlett stopped to speak to someone I hadn’t even noticed as I passed. I felt muffled, as if I was wrapped in gauze. Even all the magic swirling around me barely made an impression. Normally, I’d be getting a buzz off being around this many of the Adept.

The room was filled with pictures. Literally every inch of the wall and table space was covered in family photographs. Some black and white dated way back. Some showed the characteristic yellowing of the seventies. Even more were obviously recent additions. And if they weren’t of Rusty then they contained someone who looked like him. Obviously, genes ran true in the Novak clan.

Gran bent over a woman sitting on an overstuffed, floral print armchair by a bay window that overlooked the lush green of the side yard. Danica. Rusty’s Mother. However, it was me Danica locked gazes with over Gran’s shoulder. Her red-rimmed eyes were the shape of Rusty’s, and her hair a shade lighter. The underlying tone of her magic — sugared violets — the exact taste of her son’s. She wasn’t the person weeping. The weeping that was suddenly all I could hear, but then maybe that was just because everyone had just dropped the pretense of conversation.

The boy from before passed Rusty’s mother one of my cupcakes on a china side plate. She accepted it and didn’t drop my gaze as she bit into it. Then she smiled at me. A tight smile full of pain.

Some people thought I laced the cupcakes I baked with a bit of my magic. These chocolate carrot cake with chocolate cream cheese icing cupcakes I called, Solace in a Cup.

I turned and left. It was rude and probably unforgivable according to Gran, but I still couldn’t hear anything but the weeping. My own tears were lodged in my chest, collected around the permanent pain that was all I had left of my sister, because how could I cry? How could I mourn for a sister who’d murdered her boyfriend all because she wanted to be special? Because she wanted to be more special than me. So Rusty was dead because of me. Because I was stupid, slow, and foolhardy.

And still I couldn’t cry.

I stepped out into the fresh air. It had started to rain.

I began to walk home. The vampire followed never showing himself, but always at my back.

It was cold comfort.

I looked down at the piece of broken plastic in my hand. It had sliced the skin of my palm — cut that would have needed stitches on a human. The wound, released from the plastic shard, instantly healed.

I wished that Sienna had stabbed me through the heart instead of twice in the gut, because at least that would have a chance of healing.

Before she ate and then killed Rusty.

Well, at least I had the order straight now.

———————–

I have totally been lax with my giveaways. Wanna win a paperback copy of Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic? Okay, then comment on this post with the following:

1. what is your comfort food?

2. if you could be any supernatural (aka Adept) which would you choose to be? Witch? Werewolf? Vampire? Necromancer? Or?

3. further to #2. And, why?

Also, if you aren’t already, please consider signing up to the new release mailing list – used three-four times a year – or following me on Twitter or liking MCD on facebook. Also please share this post if you think any of your friends might want to read Cupcakes (Etc) as well.

Contest open INTERNATIONALLY. Closes Friday, September 27, 2013 at 12noon PST (I FORGOT I SAID 12noon and closed it at 9am – SORRY!!).  Winner chosen by random number generator. Make sure you fill in your email address so I can request your mailing address when you win!

Good luck!!

22 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2013 12:18 PM

    Reblogged this on dyke writer and commented:
    cool contest

    and what a neat thing to share raw writing

    like getting studio banter on cds

  2. Jeanne permalink
    September 20, 2013 12:59 PM

    My favorite comfort food has to be anything chocolate! I would want to be a witch because there are a lot of people I would want to put a spell on,(some good some bad)!!! My email address is: jtagee@bham.rr.com

    • September 20, 2013 1:44 PM

      I’m with you on chocolate and I think I would go with witch as well. I’m not all over the blood drinking to survive or transforming into an animal or speaking with the dead.

      Good luck!

  3. Ali Sayre permalink
    September 20, 2013 6:08 PM

    My favorite comfort food is ice cream. Vampire all the way cause I’d love to tear anyone’s throat out that pisses me off lol and cause I’d live forever : )

    • September 20, 2013 6:13 PM

      Ali – OMG. LOL! Good reasons to be a vampire. Thanks for the laugh at the end of a long day!!

  4. September 20, 2013 6:23 PM

    Hersheys milk chocolate with toffee and almonds is my comfort chocolate, other than that, buttered popcorn works. 🙂 Vampire, I just think being a vampire can be so hot, sexy, and deadly… and immortal….

    • September 20, 2013 6:40 PM

      Oh… toffee and almonds … yes … yes!

      Good luck with the random number generator.

  5. Penni Lawson permalink
    September 20, 2013 6:29 PM

    Chocolate is my favorite food period. I used to want to be a witch when I was a kid – being able to throw spells, etc., but in this Paranormal infused world these days I think I would like to be a shifter – probably wolf. I’ve always loved wolves and it would be nice to have powers, be able to run like the wind – and not burn up in the sun 🙂

    • September 20, 2013 6:42 PM

      Not burning up in the sun is a definite bonus, but I’d hate to have to shave my legs so often (as I imagine is a wolf problem)!!

      Good luck!

  6. September 20, 2013 7:24 PM

    My comfort food is chocolate! Who doesn’t like chocolate? Eating chocolates make me forget any sad thoughts. Just thinking about chocolates already makes me happy.

    I want to be a shapeshifter! A Wolf or a wild cat; it doesn’t matter. I find them the most fascinating and elegant. Maybe i’m drawn to their animalistic appeal, lol!

    • September 20, 2013 7:31 PM

      Ah, yes. Chocolate all the way for me as well. I have my box of See’s Candies in front of me right now actually.

      Good luck with the random number generator!!

  7. heather permalink
    September 21, 2013 7:41 AM

    My favorite comfort food is ice cream. I’d want to be a vampire because of their powers and strength. Thank you for the giveaway.

  8. Anna permalink
    September 21, 2013 1:26 PM

    Hot chocolate is definitely the best comfort drink/food. I would probably want to be a werewolf. I think I would like to become an animal especially a wolf I think their gorgeous.

    • September 21, 2013 3:13 PM

      Hot chocolate. Yes! The is a place in Vancouvee called Chocolate Arts that makes the most amazing hot chocolate.

  9. patricia statham permalink
    September 27, 2013 10:06 AM

    my comfort food is anything chocolate love chocolate , I what to be a werewolf. want to be able to protect the ones I love with a fierceness they are loyal to the ones they love and mate for life. I would be an alpha /

    • September 27, 2013 10:14 AM

      Gotcha Patricia. But unfortunately I picked the winner this morning!! Sorry! I’ll mention that on the post. Big giveaway coming on my birthday though, October 11!!

  10. patricia statham permalink
    September 27, 2013 10:11 AM

    ok lets try this again, my favorite comfort food is anything chocolate , I would love to be a werewolf just cause they are very protective fierce and will mate for life, and they can keep you warm at night,

  11. September 20, 2013 7:15 PM

    Thanks so much for the mention!!

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