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Jenna's cold feet at her impending nuptials are only part of the problem. Ignoring all warnings about interfering with the living world, Jenna resumes her work with victims of abuse. If she can't convince the World Council of Keepers that killing a young man was an accident, she could end up deader than dead. With the help of Deadheads old and new, a plan is hatched to defend her actions. Will Jenna survive and marry Marvin, or will the council halt her deader in her tracks?
Page Count: 240
Word Count: 56795
Even though the sun blared down on the group of mourners, it was a calm, cold day. Not a wisp of wind added to the chill factor. David still made short but sweet work of a eulogy. When Mr. Davis held out the ceremonial shovel, David took it, and walked to JoAnne. “Here, we’ll do this together.”
Jenna stepped to the mound of dirt that would fill in her grave. She grabbed a handful and tossed it in before a startled “NO” burst from the crowd of deadheads who’d gathered.
A gasp rose from the living. Some gaped around in fright and backed away. Madelyn let loose with a piercing shriek, clutched her husband’s arm with both hands in a death grip. “Holy Mother of Mary! Morton, what the hell was that?”
“Ow!” Morton yanked his arm free. “It had to be a gust of wind.”
“What? What did I do?” Jenna gaped around the crowd of deadheads for an answer. Though Madelyn’s outburst sure explained where Marvin had gotten his favorite turn of phrase when something took him by surprise.
“You just scared the crap out of everyone. You have to time it, Jen,” Marv admonished, and laughed along with the rest of the dead, who now found his mother’s reaction quite humorous. “You wait for them to toss a shovelful and throw yours at the same time.”
Mike waved him off. “Oh, Brody, give her break. She’s still new around here. She’ll catch on.”
“Yeah, besides, Marvin,” Tommy offered, “maybe it woke some people up.”
“Are you saying my brother delivered a boring eulogy? Is that what you’re saying, hippie?” Marvin laughed and scruffed the hair on the top of Tommy’s head.
“Dude, the coif!” Tommy pulled away in mock horror, as he always did whenever Marvin messed the long mane of hair that looked as if it hadn’t seen a comb since 1969.
The bulk of the deadheads in attendance drifted off, still laughing, leaving the core friends to the finality of a life. The small group of living lined up to honor their friend by tossing a small shovel of dirt over the lowered coffin, murmured a final goodbye, and headed back to their lives. All except Madelyn, who stood stock still in the spot she’d run to, twenty feet away, after Morton had yanked himself free.
David called out to her. “Ma? Come on, Ma. You’re the last one.”
Madelyn shook her head.
“Ma! Come on. What are you afraid of?”
“Gust of wind, my tuches,” Madelyn replied, looking around the cemetery, her eyes darting from plot to plot, as if she’d spy a ghoulish-looking Jenna rising out of the ground like Fruma Sarah from Fiddler on the Roof, with hands like claws ready to attack. “That was no gust of wind. It was her.”
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