An extension to Birds in the Attic.
There’s nothing quite like your father’s corpse slowly thawing in the kitchen. For instance, did you know dead people bleed the colors out of their eyes?
I didn’t. Not until now.
“Come morning, I’d pay a visit to the gravedigger.” The constable advised, breaking the numb silence.
A polite hesitation followed. “Don’t you want to know what happened?”
“I’ll tell ‘im what happened,” the stranger began. “Your da’s a drunken icicle, that’s what ‘ee is. Mustah been drinkin’ too much, fell over in the snow, froze to death. That’s what happened, boy. Sorry way to die it is.”
“Where’s your mother, son? I’ll spare you the trouble of grieving her.”
I blinked. “It won’t grieve her.”
The stranger frowned, opened his mouth to comment, but the constable swatted the words away.
“Ah. Well, I’m very sorry to hear that. Do you have any relatives you could turn to?”
I shook my head.
He coughed uncomfortably. “Best of luck to you then, son. Remember to visit the gravedigger in the morning.”
They both cast a skeptical look at the body before swishing out the door.
I stood absolutely silent, half expecting him to roar to his feet and demand why in the gods’ name I’d let a couple of strangers into his house.
“Don’t you know?” He’d demand. “Don’t you know anything at all? Only the Fallen go creeping around at this hour. Do you want to have your throat slit and your sister raped?”
I cringed, an apology on my lips, nearly seeing the glass bottle soaring towards my face.
“Emery?” Mac’s wavering voice sliced like a knife through my gut.
She stood motionless on the stairs and I stared helplessly at her.
“His sky is shrinking.”
I shook my head. “No, Mac. He never had a sky waiting for him. He never deserved one.”