CLOAKED IN DEATH

Wrapped In Love

Please find below an extract from Chapter 1.

Thank you for visiting my site and taking the time to read my free excerpt. Jill.



The queue continued to move out onto a covered patio area facing a small, immaculate garden enclosed by a fence at the rear of the crematorium. As I came through the door I could see John ahead, standing at the front. No wonder it was taking so long to move forward – John, at the helm again, was greeting and hugging each person as we filed out. His sister, Sue, looking drawn and tired, was supporting him by moving down the queue, hugging and thanking guests too. As they did this, the summer sun, which had been absent earlier when we had entered the crematorium, suddenly emerged, flooding the terrace and shining brightly down. It was a wonderful, welcome blanket of warmth in such a desperately sad and emotionally draining day. For a brief moment, its beauty fooled me into thinking life was okay again, but the grim reality of death – and such young death – wore a heavier coat that continued to hang over the assembling crowd.
      ‘How are your daughters doing?’ I asked Colly, trying to make some light conversation as we moved slowly along in the queue.
      ‘They’re doing really well, Jill. Both at university. One’s studying fine art and the other pharmacy, so very different subjects.’
      ‘John says you have a great relationship with them both.’
‘Yes, I do. I’m very proud of them. What about your son? Remind me, what’s his name?’
      ‘Alexander to me, but all his friends call him Alex. He’s fifteen now and studying for his GCSEs. We’re very close.’ I broke momentarily, before continuing. ‘Thank God we’ve still got them, Colly. The thought of being where John is right now makes me feel ill.’
      ‘Yeah, I know,’ he said. He paused before slowly leaning in towards me and whispering, ‘But they can be little fuckers can’t they? … Right little fuckers,’ he muttered again, shaking his head knowingly as he pulled back and winked at me.
Little fuckers! Did he just say that? His blunt but funny words sliced through the thick air, hanging provocatively in front of me. I managed to suppress my immediate desire to laugh out loud, both at the truth of his statement and my shock at its timing, mumbling quickly in agreement to try and move the conversation on. This was the gentlemanly Colly all over, delivering a verbal atom bomb like he was talking about the price of fruit and continuing without any outward expression or emotion, leaving others at the wayside, reeling. No offence was meant or taken – he was very bright, with a razor-sharp, wry humour. And perhaps that day his observation, however out of place, was an understandable effort to keep his own emotions in check.
      I pondered his words, knowing that in their tragically young deaths Felix and Oscar would now be immortalised as perfect, just as my father had been. They had never been little fuckers, and sadly would never have the chance to be.



Excerpted from Cloaked in Death, Wrapped in Love by Jill Barnes. Copyright © 2018 by Jill Barnes. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.