(WP) The Mistress at the Funeral

(WP) The Mistress at the Funeral

               The funeral home was packed, heavy with the scent of lilies, roses, and more than one fine perfume.

               The deceased’s wife stood beside the casket, a single tear running down one perfectly contoured cheek, one hand clutching at the sapphire necklace her husband had given her for their ten-year anniversary just last week, the other held in the hand of her best friend, who had pulled her close and rubbed her back, gentle and soothing but ultimately stoic.

               “How could this have happened, Amelia? I mean, just last week was our anniversary, and he’s been taken from me,” Lucy murmured into her friend’s shoulder, and in answer, the other woman stroked her hair, making quiet, shushing noises.

               “I’m so sorry, Luce,” Amelia said softly, kissing the top of her head.

“That’s all I can say, is I’m sorry.”

The words sounded hollow to Lucy’s ears, paltry in comparison to the enormity of her loss. Her best friend, the one who’d pieced her back together when she was broken, cheered her on when she was doubtful, called her out when she was wrong.

He was just there and gone. Vanished in a screech of metal, a flash of fire, a phone call cut short.

He’d been laughing, saying that he would be home soon, that he loved her. Oh, how she’d loved his laugh. And then there was a crash on the other end of the line, and the phone had gone dead.

And then the police had shown up at the door, telling her that her husband had died on the way home when another car had smashed into him, and her world had careened chaotically off of its axis.

“Lucy? Lucy, are you all right? Lucy!”

She was broken out of her reverie by Amelia calling her name, and she shook her head to clear it.

“I… I’m fine, Mia. Well, as fine as one can possibly be in such circumstances,” She replied, sounding, for a moment, like her old self again.

“Who is that?” Amelia replied, her brows drawing together in her confusion.

Lucy had no idea just who she was talking about, and she followed her friend’s gaze.

There was a tall, willowy young woman clothed all in black, standing at the door, and she looked even more distraught than Lucy herself. She had long, dark hair scraped into a chignon at the back of her head, and large, dark eyes that reminded her of deep pools. She also noticed the large ring on the woman’s left hand, a bright trio of emeralds wrapped around gold and diamonds.

Lucy didn’t know why, but all over again, she felt nauseated. She had no idea who that was. But whomever she was, she was a bad omen, a sign of more terrible things to come.

**