The book is still untitled, but here's the concept:
Emilyn Breen is the girl who died twice: she was abducted and murdered 33 years ago, but 31 years ago she and her mother also died in a car accident. How is this possible? A group of siblings and cousins work together to help a neighbor on a cold case podcast solve this decades-old mystery of the thing that shouldn't be.
Folks it's time to get started. Today I proudly present the prologue of my as-yet untitled Thanksgiving story.
Sunday before Thanksgiving
“Thanks for helping me with this,” Mom said as she sat the concrete pot in the center of the headstone. “Your Dad hates coming out here.”
“I’m glad to help,” Alaine said, clenching to keep from cringing in the cold wind blowing through the church cemetery.
“Isn’t it early to put poinsettias on the graves, though?”
“People decorate for Christmas right after Halloween. Its ok.” She stood back, surveying the bright red flowers. “What do you think?”
Alaine looked at her grandparents’ headstone and respective footstones. It was hard to believe that they had been gone twenty-five and twenty-seven years. Most of her life now, and all of her niece’s life. “It looks good.”
Mom tilted her head. “It looks unbalanced, and Dad’s flag is tilting.”
Alaine bent to straighten the flag on the footstone as her mother fussed over the flowers more. A cloud passed over the sun as a gust of wind blew, sending another chill through Alaine. She stood and pulled her sweater tighter around her.
Alaine backed up. “Perfect.”
Something bumped against Alaine’s shoe. She turned to see that she had backed into the square next to her grandparents, and had kicked over a small angel ornament.
“Excuse me,” she bent to pick it up, her eyes falling on the footstone.
She sighed and set the angel right. “I should be planning Friendsgiving with you, not setting your footstone right.”
“What’s that, dear?” Mom asked.
“I didn’t realize Emilyn and her mother were buried next to Nana and Granddaddy.”
“Oh yes, that’s so sad. It was a tragic accident.”
“I don’t think being abducted and murdered was an accident,” Alaine looked at the footstone again, squinting. “Those dates aren’t right. She was seven when she died, not ten.”
“She wasn’t abducted and murdered, she died in a car accident when you were in fifth grade. Remember?”
“I thought she died in second grade. They said they found her body buried behind the school.”
“That was a silly story,” Mom said. “Emilyn’s parents moved around the same time that serial kidnapper was terrorizing the area. She was such a quiet child that nobody really noticed that she was gone, except the few of you who were friends with her. Then somebody started that silly story –” Mom trailed off. “I can understand how you got confused. Second grade was hard. Not only was that kidnapper in the area, but your great-aunt died too. I think you’ve blocked a lot out.”
Alaine mumbled, pulling her sweater tighter in another gust of wind and turning toward her grandparents’ final resting
place. “It looks good. Can we go now? I think that cold front is coming in faster than they forecast.”
Mom nodded. “It’s not pleasant out here. I’m sorry to ask you to help. That pot was so heavy and your Dad didn’t want to take a break from his Christmas decorating to do this today.”
“I don’t mind helping. I wanted to pay my respects anyway.”
Alaine glanced down at Emilyn’s stone one last time before walking back to the car. Maybe she had blocked a lot out. All of that happened thirty-three years ago. Still, you tend to remember when one of your best friends is suddenly gone.
She wasn’t mixed up. Emilyn died twice. Maybe one day, she’d figure out how.