by Stephanie Wright
She almost kicked the tombstone she was so angry, but then she was always angry at the five a.m. slog through grey slush that had once been pristine snow and now only reminded her of her own soiled humanity. It was a matter of honour for her, honour and pride, to beat Apollo's chariot to the cemetery and be sitting there, arse freezing to ice cubes on the hunk of pink marble, when the sun finally rounded the tops of the elms ringing the old place. She'd be halfway through her flask of English Breakfast by then and in sore need of a loo, but this was what he'd wanted - this place with its silence and its bucolic charm. Most days, she'd have at least one one-sided conversation where she threatened to dig him right up and turn him into dust, something practical and portable that she could put into a beautiful cloisonne jar or hand-carved box made of the bleeding elms he loved so much, anything at all to keep him close to her always and stop this infernal trekking back and forth through the bog and brambles. Hell, just the day before she'd nearly run into the new vicar coming out the back of the chapel for his morning walk with the dead, and some encounter that would have been with her already worked into a state over the sub-freezing temperatures! Part of her was absolutely positive the burial was his last act of power over her, making sure she took this daily communion with him after his own fashion, although she conceded in her more generous moments it was possible he just liked the quiet.
Stephanie Wright is a social psychologist on faculty at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina. She is the author of The Witch War Histories, an urban fantasy series currently at four novels and counting with books five and six in progress. Triplex Coniunctio, the first in the series, was first published in 2004. A self-admitted flake and indecisive adolescent playing at being a grown up, both she and her writing can be found here.