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Those hands rose to cover Laura's trembling lips as she drew up in front of her father's prostrate form. Then, with a smile through the tears that had rolled down her cheeks, she walked over to one of the many wreaths donated by relatives and reached down to pluck a white carnation.
Laura returned to the casket and slipped the stem of the flower into the pocket over her father's heart. "You need a little decoration, Daddy." As she pulled away, she noticed a redness on his right wrist that had been cleverly hidden by makeup and positioning, cleverly but not completely. Overcome by curiosity, she reached for the wrist and turned it over.
It was upon the sight of the second slashed wrist that Laura turned away and started to sob uncontrollably. And it was as she sank to her knees that she saw she wasn't alone after all: a frightened-looking man she did not recognize ducked away from the double doors opening onto the hallway outside.
Laura was left to cry for her father alone.
"...and so let us give thanks to the Lord God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, as we deliver Hans Anders Tomsen unto Him. Let us give thanks with the hymnÖ"
Laura Tomsen did not wait to hear the title of the elegy, but instead stood up from her seat at the front of the gathered mourners, and, to their quiet gasps, darted across the cemetery grass to the undertaker attempting to make a quick getaway in his hearse.
Maurice Wilks of Wilks Funeral Services pretended not to see or hear the knuckles rapping on the driver's side window, and only acknowledged Laura's presence when she stepped in front of the vehicle as it started to move. Then he frowned, rolled the window down a crack, and forced a smile as he asked, "Something I can help you with, Miss Tomsen?"
"Yes, Mister Wilks, there is," Laura replied with both hands on the hips beneath her black dress after she returned to the window. She leaned forward and placed those hands on her knees. "What were you so frightened of last night?"