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Mr. Wilks looked ahead, down the road that ran amongst the gravestones. "I don't know what you mean."
"Allow me to remind you, Mister Wilks, that we have yet to pay for this funeral. You deal with death every day, but there was something about my father that's had you very frightened." Laura cocked her blonde hair to one side. "And I know it couldn't be me you're afraid of."
Mr. Wilks looked ahead, but spoke to his side. "It was his smile."
"You never met my father in his life--"
"Exactly. He was smiling when the morgue delivered him to us. A serene, peaceful smile on a suicide victim. In all my years, I've never seen anything like it. Excuse me." Without another word, Mr. Wilks jerked down on the shift and sped away in a cloud of dust.
Laura coughed her way back to her seat beside her Aunt Astrid's, and pretended to pay attention to the rest of the service.
"I do hope you'll stay the night, Aunt Astrid."
Laura's Aunt Astrid looked up from her needlework, only to look at the enormous projection TV resting against one wall of her late brother's living room. "I tell you there's no sense in how your father spent his money. Here he bought a big TV with cable, and I've had to make do with my little old set. Like he was even home to watch it."
"You didn't answer my question, Aunt Astrid." Laura curled two knees up beneath her nightshirt as she adjusted herself on her end of the couch. "I don't know if I can spend the night in this big house alone."
"You didn't ask a question; you made a statement," Astrid replied with her eyes on her needlework. "But I'll go ahead and answer it anyway. As long as you answer a question of mine first."