Excerpt From Tiny Crosses

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Some people could let things go. Adra wasn’t one of those people.

Patsy and Adra had been daylight and dark, but they’d been as close as sisters for years. The very idea of her last moments on this Earth were painful to Adra. They played over and over in her head. What were they doing out there in the dark?

What the hell kind of animal attacked people? No, really. She’d lived here all her life, and it was unheard of, to say the least. There weren’t any really big predators, and the ones there were clung to the riverbanks and avoided people.

Addie stood alone now in the funeral parlor staring at a closed gray box. “Oh, Patsy,” she sighed. “You’ve always had the worst luck of any human being I’ve ever known.” She reached out to touch the white lily arrangement that sat gracefully atop the coffin.

She hated it. Patsy’s final resting place looked like a Frigidaire. There was something cold and impersonal about it, and it made her weep to imagine her friend spending eternity in that cold, gray box.

The police had concluded that they’d gone out joyriding, then ended up in the woods where they stumbled upon something large and angry, most likely a big cat.

That was where they lost her. There hadn’t been big cats in numbers in this part of the world in decades, but they were suddenly attacking people who wandered off road. It made no sense. It ate at her.

Addie couldn’t let go of the County Line Bar and Tavern, and the lies of the waitress there. Logic dictated that she could have been concerned about the law getting into their business, shutting them down for whatever side trade they had going. That was all very possible. Perhaps, just perhaps, it had all been an absolutely normal stop off for a drink and some pool, so why couldn’t she just let it go? Her mind gnawed at the idea like a dog with a bone.

“You doing all right, Addie?”

She turned around to see Ms. Nan looking awkward and  wearing an overly conservative, floral dress that was a size too big, and a decade out of fashion.

“Not really, Ms. Nan,” she said with a soft sniff and choking back her tears. “How are you doing?”

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