"We therefore commit Stacey Hawkins' body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life."
Tiffany patted her cheeks and sniffed. A whimper escaped her lips. She looked around quickly to see if anybody had noticed but fortunately no one had. The clouds above blocked any useless heat from the sun to reach the burial service for Stacey Hawkins. Frost blessed the blades of shaven grass until it reached the hole in the ground that Stacey was being lowered into. Tiffany reached for her mother's hand. It was a cold, cold day.
The straps lowering the coffin squeaked. It felt like it was taking hours to lower. Tiffany couldn't take her eyes off the coffin. Her emotions swelled at the thought of this being the final time she'll ever be near her sister. She wished she could see through the densely built coffin just to make sure her sister looked like she was at peace. This will be where she lies forever. She just wanted her to be happy.
Claudia Hawkins kept a tight grasp of her living daughter's hand. She had dressed so beautifully in black for her deceased daughter's funeral service and though she did not cry once, Tiffany could see in her eyes she wanted to. She desperately wanted to but Claudia sat surrounded by her surviving children. With no clue as to the whereabouts of Phillip Hawkins, their father's disappearance left Rose and Temperance Hawkins confused. Tiffany felt guilty that she couldn't tell them and her mother that Phillip was dead, just like Stacey. When Tiffany was about to tell them, a lump in her throat forced her not to.
The chairs had been set perfectly in the graveyard for the Hawkins' service. Everything about the family was supposed to be perfect but the recent tragedy revealed to the rest of Lakefield View that the façade was fractured. As far as the town knew, one daughter was dead and the father was MIA. That once perfect picture of a family portrait was now smashed, dead on the floor.
The swishing sound of a text message sending broke Tiffany's concentration as the coffin finally lowered out of sight. Tiffany looked over her mother to her two older sisters. They could have been twins with matching outfits and almost matching hairstyles, except for the fact they were born a year apart. Tiffany looked to Temperance's hands to see she was on her mobile phone.
"Are you serious?" Tiffany yelled loudly. She meant it to be loud too; she wanted everyone to witness the shallow self-preservation of her sisters. Tiffany hated them. They couldn't have cared less when they found out Stacey had died and here they were looking bored at her funeral. So bored, in fact, that one of them was sending text messages to their equally-shallow boyfriend while the other played on Candy Crush. Claudia said nothing.
"What's your problem?" Temperance spat back, hiding her phone with her hands.
Tiffany stood and stamped over to them. All eyes were now on Tiffany. The poor priest didn't know what to do. He just stood as the coffin kept descending. Tiffany snatched Rose's phone from her hands and then dived for Temperance's. Temperance gripped her phone tighter. Using her nails, Tiffany clawed at her hands and started bending Temperance's fingers back. Tiffany didn't realise how truly strong she was until she was fuelled by lava-hot anger.
Temperance screamed at Tiffany. "Are you crazy?"
Tiffany ignored her and finally pulled the phone from her grasp. Rose and Temperance stood to get their phones back. Tiffany marched over to the open grave; Stacey's coffin neared its final resting place. She looked over the side to make sure she would aim it right. The two sisters shouted at Tiffany to stop but Tiffany couldn't hear them. Instead, she carefully dropped each phone down the side of the coffin.
"Now do you care about what's in this grave?" Tiffany screamed back at her sisters while crying. Rose and Temperance just looked at Tiffany dumbfounded. Claudia remained statue-like on her seat. The people sitting down didn't know what to do. Tiffany turned to the man operating the straps that lowered the coffin. "Don't you dare bring that coffin back up and get those phones out or you'll join them."
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Ashes of the Innocent (Abyssal Sanctuary #2)Horror
The second book in the award-winning 'Abyssal Sanctuary' series! GOLD Award Winner for Horror Fiction at the 2016 Global eBook Awards! One week has passed since the Bellisario family massacre and the staff of the Pandora Cafe try their best to move...